Could anything be cuter for Spring celebrations than these darling Chocolate Nest Cookies?! They are perfect for Easter, bridal or baby showers, tea parties with kids, Spring birthdays, piano recital receptions, afternoon snacks … In other words, they are perfect for any and all celebrations or every day enjoyment! And mostly because they are so tasty!
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Updates to the original cookies
I found the original recipe for these beauties probably ten years ago on Martha Stewart's website. It was golden as she wrote it, as are most things Midas Martha touches. However, I altered it a bit to work for the way we eat. So I've made it gluten-free, eliminated the food coloring, changed some of the methods, especially the one with the piping bag. Because who needs all that to clean up?!
I don't usually like recipes that require dough to be refrigerated just because it takes a bit more planning ahead and most people that are around when I bake want cookies that can be made in a drive-through method! However, the dough can stay in the fridge overnight - or longer! - if your schedule requires it. Then you pop it out at the last minute, bake up the deliciousness and everyone thinks you are genius.
If you leave the dough overnight, take it out of the fridge at least an hour before trying to roll it so that it's not too hard. I left mine out most of the day, actually. Once they are cut out, put them back in the fridge for about 20 minutes … or overnight again, as I had to do! Chilling them before baking them keeps them from spreading more than they should.
How to make the chocolate ganache for Chocolate Nest Cookies
While they chill, make the ganache. That's just a fancy term for a chocolate frosting of sorts. It's advisable to make it in a double boiler, but you can live on the edge as I did and make it over low heat in a small copper pot. Either way, be sure to keep stirring it so it incorporates well and doesn't burn.
When the ganache comes off the stove, it will be runny. Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it to solidify it a bit and make it spreadable.
While the ganache cools, it's a good time to bake the cookies. and as soon as the cookies are done, spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and toast it for 10-12 minutes.
Let's put these Chocolate Nest cookies together!
I found the easiest way to get the ganache on the cookie is to use a spreading spatula to spread it on, leaving a little bit of lip around the edges.
For the eggs, you can use pastel peanut M&Ms, Jordan almonds (although I think they are way too large unless you make the base of your cookie large), or any other egg-looking candy. I was so happy to find chocolate mint candies and they are my favorite choice for this cookie.
In the natural world, birds' nests are made first, then the eggs are laid into it. However, in this case, the best method is to nestle the eggs into the ganache, then sprinkle the toasted coconut around and press it lightly into the ganache edges to "nestle" the eggs. It's a bit of a backwards nest!
You guys, though … so beautiful, festive, and I haven't even talked about how they taste! Should I do that now? OK then… so the cookie is light, the ganache is deep with the small bit of espresso powder in it, and depending on what candy you perch on top, you can have an amazing flavor combination. Personally, I'm all about the chocolate mint!
Anything can look good and even delicious, but if doesn't actually TASTE delicious, it gets a big, fat "0" in my book.
These, however …. well, can we just declare them big, fat winners?!
Other desserts you might like:
Chocolate Nest Cookies
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoon sugar organic cane
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, or 1-for-1 gluten free mix plus more for rolling out
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder, organic
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped bars
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- 120 chocolate eggs 3 for each cookie
- In the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment or use a large mixing bowl with a hand-held electric mixer.
- Add the flour, salt, and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until a dough forms, about 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, 30 minutes minimum. Or overnight, if you have other things to do!
- To form the cookies, remove the dough from the fridge at least an hour before you roll them out. On a lightly-floured surface, roll to ¼-inch thickness, cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and refrigerate on the baking sheets for about 20 minutes. Or, again, overnight, if you need to.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cookies till firm, about 14 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
To Make the Ganache
- Put the chocolate, cream, and espresso powder in a small pot over low heat stirring occasionally until the chocolate melts and combines with the cream. You can also use a double boiler if you are worried about burning the chocolate.
- Set the chocolate aside to cool to room temperature, then cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.. Whisk till it is or spreadable texture.
To Toast the Coconut
- After the cookies have baked. spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until it is dry, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it cool.
To Assemble the Cookies
- Spread ganache on each cookie base, leaving a little "lip" around the edges. Place three chocolate eggs on each, then sprinkle coconut around, pressing it into the edges a bit.