Super cute bird’s nest thimble cookies are topped with toasted coconut and Cadbury mini eggs and are perfect for an Easter get-together or party.
According to my calender, it’s been autumn in Australia for a month. By this time in Canada I would have been on my tenth or twelfth pumpkin spice latte, been basking in the colourful display of dying deciduous trees, and have baked at least two apple crumbles. But it seems Canberra has a different idea than I do about this particular season. In its mind, people wear
flip-flops thongs straight through until winter, folks paddle around oceans until dinner time, and the thought of cozy sweaters is all but a dream. Well, I miss my cozy sweaters and lattes and apple-baked goodness, Australia, and I want them back! I can’t very well run the oven for hours in 32 C weather, can I? Sigh.
I guess for now I’ll be satisfied with these Easter-themed cookies. Honestly, how can I be mad about the seasons when I have these adorable bird’s nest cookies on my counter?! There’s just too much cute to be angry!
When I started to think about what treats I would bake to celebrate Easter this year, I knew I wanted to make something baby animal themed. Easter to me marks renewal. I grew up in a household where we celebrated both the religious and commercial aspects of the holidays. On Easter Sunday we would wake early, go on a short egg scavenger hunt around the house, attend 11 o’clock mass, and then head out for a beautiful brunch with my grandparents and sometimes my extended family. But one thing I always took away from Easter, religious or not, was the theme of rebirth and renewal. Part of it was the emergence of spring around the holiday – trees begin to bud, the winter frosts subside, and baby animals are born. I wanted to bake something that reflected the meaning I inferred from this season, so I settled on making bird’s nests complete with mini chocolate eggs!
To make the cookie “nests” I chose to use a thimble cookie, lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice, as my base. (Gotta get my fall flavours somewhere!) The thumbprint centre is perfect for holding the Cadbury mini egg bird’s eggs! I frosted the tops of the cookies with a decent layer of royal icing, and submerged them in toasted coconut to make the bird’s nest “straw.” I think they turned out rather well!
When you’re frosting and dipping the cookies in coconut, don’t worry if they get a little messy. Royal icing is naturally a bit drippy, and if the coconut is sort of all over the place, it gives the illusion of a proper bird’s nest. Have you ever seen perfectly round, carefully constructed down to the last twig nest in nature? I haven’t. Messy is realistic. We like a little realism in our baking.
These cookies would be perfect for an Easter party or get-together. They’re cute, kids can easily get involved in the decorating process, and they make a wonderful centerpiece at any holiday feast!
Toasted Coconut Bird's Nest Cookies
Thimble cookie recipe adapted from Canadian Living.
For the cookies:
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- scant 1/8 tsp all spice
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for decorating
- 125g Cadbury mini eggs, for decorating
For the royal icing:
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
MAKE THE COOKIE DOUGH: In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift in the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and flour and stir using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 – 45 minutes.
TOAST THE COCONUT: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 165 C (325 F) and line a baking sheet with non-stick paper. Spread the coconut evenly around the sheet and pop in the oven to toast for 3–5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the coconut as it will turn from lovely and golden to black very quickly. Once golden, remove from the oven and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside.
MAKE THE COOKIES: Once the dough has chilled, roll it into 16 1″ balls and place on the lined baking sheet. Using your thumb or forefinger, press a deep indentation in the centre of the cookie; do not press all the way through. If you want, you can gently mold the impression into a circular shape to create more of a “bird’s nest” look. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes, remove them from the oven, and quickly re-press the indentation into each cookie. Bake a further 10–12 minutes, repeating the pressing process at the 6 minute mark if the dents puff up again. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5–8 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE ICING: While your cookies cool, combine the egg white, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until frothy. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking to incorporate each addition. The icing should be quite thick, but should still drizzle off the whisk slowly. If it’s too runny, add another 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar until you reach the right consistency.
ASSEMBLE THE BIRD’S NESTS: To make the “nests,” frost the top of a cookie (try not to frost the crevice too much, only the outer edge tops) with a generous layer of royal icing and then dunk the cookie into the bowl of toasted coconut. Place back on the wire rack and repeat with the remaining 15 cookies. To add the eggs, dip the bottom (the more robust rounded end) of a Cadbury mini egg into the icing and adhere to the crevice of the cookie. Three eggs should fit in each cookie. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
Allow the icing to solidify before eating or packing into an airtight container. These cookies will keep, at room temperature in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. The cookies can also be frozen prior to decorating for up to 2 months.
Do you celebrate Easter? What does the holiday mean to you?