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Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

I know what you're thinking and no, I didn't get my holidays mixed up. Last week was Eid, not Easter, I know. But I don't celebrate Easter, so there was basically no better time like the present to make these. Plus, how cute are they? They were practically begging me to make them from the computer screen. 

But then once I made them, they were practically begging me not to eat them. I mean, when you think about it, they are supposed to be birds nests. So, eating a bird nest, complete with it's bird eggs and all....kind of awkward dontchya think?

It's all good. I found that if you just remind yourself that these are simply coconut macaroon thumbrint cookies filled with Nutella and chocolate candies, you'll get over that awkward notion pretty quick. And then you'll eat all of them. And then you'll make some more, because they are so easy to make, it should be illegal.

All you have to do is mix together an egg white, sweetened condensed milk, salt, vanilla, and sweetened coconut. 5 simple ingredients. And you can make the nests as big or as small as you'd like. Maria made ten super big ones, probably so they'd be big enough to hold those M&M Speck-tacular eggs in the middle. I made mine much smaller, so I could get more cookies out of the batch and also because I only had tiny chocolate candies on hand to decorate the center.

I made 24 cookies altogether, which was more than enough to keep for ourselves and to give out to friends and family as per Eid tradition. I'm sure people were delighted to find a sweet not involving almonds on their plate--leave it to me to change things up when I'm in charge of Eid sweets. Honestly, I would have loved to do 5 different variations of brownies for our Eid sweets, but it just wouldn't feel like Eid if I didn't pay homage to my Algerian culture and their obsessiveness with almonds. But as long as I got some type of chocolate on the plate,  I'm happy :)

Coconut Macaroon Nutella Nests

Yield: 24 cookies
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2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
Chocolate candies


Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla, and salt. Stir until combined. Add in the coconut and mix well.

Using your hands, shape the mixture into balls and place onto the preparing baking sheet. While on the baking sheet, mold the balls into the shape of a bird nest, pressing down into their center with your thumb to form an indentation.

Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press your thumb down in the center of the nests again (You can also use the back of a 1/4 teaspoon scoop for this step). 

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes or until they are firm and set. Remove with a spatula and transfer onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

When cooled, add a dollop of Nutella to the center of each nest. Top with 3 chocolate candies of your choice. Serve and enjoy.

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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