Friday, April 22, 2011

Macaroon Nests

This week I tried to think back to my childhood to see if I could come up with a "traditional" family recipe for Easter, but to tell the truth I couldn't think of a single one. Really, the only Easter tradition that I could think of from when I was growing up was that we would get up WELL before the Easter Bunny could have possible been done making his rounds so we could get to church in time to help make and serve the Sunrise Breakfast.

Ahhh, such fond memories of watching my older brothers mopping the floor of the church basement. But that was before the new church, that didn't have a basement, was built. But, I digress. Since I couldn't think of a traditional family recipe I decided to try a twist on an old favorite.

What I used:
3 cups coconut flakes
1/4 cup Splenda Sugar blend (use 2 additional tbsp if
     you are using unsweetened coconut).
1/2 cup egg substitute (or 4 large egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp almond extract
green cupcake frosting
                                                      jelly beans

How I made it:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients, except frosting & jelly beans, in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

3. Line pan with parchment paper.

4. Divide coconut mixture into 12 evenly sized mounds (I do this directly on the pan).

5. Gently shape each coconut mound into a nest shape.

6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (until edges are golden brown).

7. Remove from oven and let cool.

8. Once the "nests" are cooled, place a small amount of frosting in the center of the nest and place 2-3 (depending on the size) jelly beans on top.

The Verdict: Yummy, coconut-y goodness. The jelly beans are just a bonus! Plus it's a fun twist for a special Easter/Spring treat. Even TheHusband, said "They're okay", which is high praise indeed considering he is not a fan of coconut.

What I'd do different: I accidentally used too much egg substitute in this batch (don't worry, the above recipe lists the correct amount, I just wasn't paying attention), so the texture isn't quite perfect. Also, I was too lazy to go looking for the plain egg white Eggbeaters at the store, so these nests turned out a little more yellow than I would have liked (also a side effect of having used too much) but they are still cute and delicious.

Variations: You can use whatever your favorite macaroon recipe is. I use this particular one because I don't have to beat any eggs (again, I was kind of feeling lazy). You can also use whatever egg shaped candies you can find as well. I like the small jelly beans because you can easily fit 2-3 in each nest. (I've also seen these with the little Peep chicks sitting on them).
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