There is something so special about these little bird’s nest macaroon cookies. Not only are they a feast for the eyes, the combination of crisp toasted coconut and dark chocolate drizzles, paired with a bit of chewy macaroon goodness, plus a hint of almond, makes them melt-in-your-mouth divine.
I have been making a variation of these cookies for over 15 years for our family Easter celebrations and to give as gifts. They have become a family tradition in our home, and I hope they will become a new tradition in yours too! Adults and children alike love the whimsical appeal of these miniaturized nests adorning the holiday table. Original recipe inspiration comes from the cookie Goddess herself Martha Stewart. I simply halved the recipe, and developed my own way of decorating them! View the original recipe here. Happy Spring!
Ingredients (Makes approximately 48 cookies):
- ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons Natural Unbleached Sugar (bleached sugar will render a brighter white cookie and is ok)
- 2 ½ cups + 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill) or macaroon coconut
- 3 egg whites (fresh egg whites recommended)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. pure almond extract
- 3 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate morsels for melting
- 1 -2 oz. white chocolate morsels for melting (optional)
- Jelly Beans or small egg decorations for birds nests
- Sliced almonds for bunny ears
Special baking essentials: Parchment paper, disposable plastic pastry bag, or parchment cone, or fork tines for drizzling chocolate. Hint: Look for unsweetened shredded coconut or macaroon coconut at a local Farmer’s Market, specialty shop, or health food store. I use Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Coconut because their product is preservative-free, unsulfured, and is migraine friendly!
1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, egg whites, coconut, salt, melted butter, and extracts.
2.*Tip: Use a clean water bottle to remove yolks from the egg whites. It couldn’t be easier!
3. Mix ingredients, using hands works best, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours and even better overnight. You can refrigerate the dough up to 3 days.
4. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Line sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
7. With a tablespoon measure, scoop an even tablespoon of the dough and mold into compressed ball with wet hands. Place ball onto parchment and with both thumbs pressing in the center and fingers supporting the outer rim, form and compress the edges of the bird’s nests. Leaving irregular edges will add to the illusion of the little nests so imperfections and irregularities are encouraged. For bunny cookies, roll an oblong shape and make one end rounder and higher than the other end. Use two slivered almonds as the ears poked into the dough and form the nose of the bunny by flattening it a bit.
8. Place nests about 2” apart. Hint: If your ratio of egg-white to coconut is correct, you will not have much running or spreading of the cookies. *There is possible correction if this happens.
9. Place in preheated 350 F oven for 13 – 15 minutes. Hint: Start checking early to see how your oven bakes these gems. Turning pans halfway through may be necessary or you will want to adjust baking times based on your oven. Remove cookies when coconut starts to turn a nice golden brown on the edges.
10. Remove parchment with macaroon cookies in place to a wire rack for cooling. Cookies will stick and that’s good.
11. *Fix any edges with a silicone spatula while cookies are still hot from oven, to tidy up any melted edges. Cool completely while you prepare the next step.
12. Melt 3 oz of chocolate morsels (milk, dark, semisweet, your preference) in a small heatproof bowl set over a simmering small pot of water. Make sure no water gets into the chocolate mixture. Wipe off bottom of bowl and then use a spatula to spoon melted chocolate into small plastic disposable piping bag. Move cookies and parchment back to cookie sheets and pipe or drizzle irregular lines on the birds nests. Hint: Use any remaining chocolate to make branches to adorn the plate. For bunnies: Prop up bunnies so their faces are looking up at you using a scrunched paper towel and an overturned bowl or plate. Pipe on their eyes. Hint: space them far apart for a more bunny-like appearance!
13. Chill nests on parchment on cookie sheet in refrigerator. Once chocolate is firmed, add egg decorations to each nest. Hint: I used melted white chocolate to secure eggs in place, this is optional.
14. Store in cookie tin for up to one week. Happy Baking! Enjoy your Easter celebrations!
Note: I found these adorable egg shaped sugar decorations at a local baker’s supply shop Cannon’s Cake and Candy Supplies in my hometown of Wilmington, De. They had a very nice selection of edible sugar decorations. If you are in the Wilmington, Delaware area, I strongly suggest a visit to what I call sprinkle nirvana! Happy Baking!