Friday, April 18, 2014

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

Happy early Easter everyone! I have been dreaming of making these for a while now, and finally just got around to making them yesterday! Work has had me traveling the past 3 weeks, and although Indiana and the Country Inn & Suites are growing on me, the lack of oven has really impacted my blogging. Maybe I can try to come up with some microwave recipes for those of you feeling my pain on my road :)  But they did upgrade me this week which made up for the lack of kitchen, because I got a jacuzzi in my suite! Pretty cool surprise.
So lets talk food for a second before we get to this dessert. Two words- Quest Bars. Which basically taste like heaven to begin with, and you can actually bake them into cookies! while I travel and get locked up in my little nerdy lab, I rarely ever take a break for lunch, cause really it just takes too much time out of the day and I'd rather get done early.  But what I do always bring with me when I travel are Quest Bars.  They aren't exactly paleo, but they're pretty damn close and gluten free and packed with 21g of protein so why not! The Cookies & Cream is TO DIE FOR. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is my runner up, but they have 10-15 different flavors that I hear are all delicious. I'm just simple and get stuck in my own ways and haven't ventured to other flavors yet- shocking. So you should go try these if you need a healthy snack, post workout fuel, or just like yummy healthy treats!

Okay so back to the topic at hand. Coconut Macroons. Holy Moly, these are definitely in my top 5 favorite desserts of all time. I just love coconut. Probably as much as I love cinnamon and vanilla- its all up there in deliciousness.  But these Coconut Macroons are seriously the best ever and so easyy. Now just to be clear- I usually say my recipes are the best ever, and half the time its based on the fact that I've really only ever had my own, but I can guarantee and have taste testers to vouch that these are all time!
I usually make over 100 of these around Christmas time each year, half dipped in chocolate, and each year they disappear in record time. So for this Easter I decided to use Nutella and these cute little speckled egg M&M's to make nests!  Another disclaimer: I have never tried Nutella. Through the hype and super-sized jars that were constantly stocked in the sorority house, I have managed to never  indulge in a spoon because I know my love for all things chocolate and hazelnut could be a deadly combination.  *I'm not sure why I decide to share these details about myself that will probably make you hate me, but for some reason I find it necessary. And I have some hope that you'll still trust my baking decisions because I have a pretty good imagination as you know from past creations.

Okay enough ranting from me..RECIPE TIME! And also head over to last years post in the archives, for Egg-cellent Easter Bark  :)
Coconut Macroon Nutella Nests (makes about 36-40 nests)
2 bags coconut flakes
1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Jar Nutella
1 bag egg shaped M&Ms or any egg shaped candy

Preheat the oven to 350degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, add coconut flakes.  Pour condensed milk, sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla over top and mix until fully combined.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out some mixture and press together in your hands. Place on the parchment paper, and using your thumb or fingers, make an imprint in the center. *be gentle, you want to keep the coconut mixture packed tightly.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bottoms get caramelized and the tops are browned. Watch closely.  Remove and place on a cooling rack.
Once the nests are cool, put a dollop of Nutella in the center and then decorate with eggs. ENJOY!!