I was mulling the other day, about how to set my Easter table this year. Sometimes I make little Easter baskets out of egg carton cups, fashioning handles from pipe cleaners. I put an Easter egg in each cup and set one at each place. Sometimes I’m happy with a nice bouquet of tulips as a centerpiece, surrounded by real and candy eggs, and a couple of chocolate bunnies.
This year, I was wondering how I could make a festive treat for each guest at the table, but keep the whole production as simple as possible. And I came up with these egg nests.
These nests require just a few ingredients and are quick to make. You can fill the nests with small candy eggs. Or, if you don’t mind the extra time, you can make your own eggs, as I did, with marzipan, gel colors and toasted almonds.
The nests and eggs can be made a week ahead. Store eggs separately from nests, each in airtight plastic containers or plastic zip-top bags.
Easter Egg Nest
The ingredients are for one nest so you can do the math to customize for the number you want to make.
1/3 cup good-quality chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate)
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
5 teaspoons marzipan almond candy dough (such as Odense)
Concentrated gel colors (such as Wilton Icing Colors)
5 toasted whole almonds
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment.
- Heat chocolate in a medium shallow microwave-safe bowl at medium power for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Stir with a small whisk or a fork until bowl no longer feels warm. Continue heating at 15 to 30 second intervals, stirring, until chocolate is smooth. Note: Chocolate chips will continue to hold their shape, even when melted, so unless you stir the chocolate, you may not realize when the chocolate has melted.
- Add chow mein noodles to melted chocolate in bowl and toss to coat noodles evenly with chocolate.
- Turn out on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet and using forks or fingers, shape the nest, leaving an indentation for the eggs.
- Refrigerate nest about 30 minutes until chocolate has set.
- Remove from fridge and use immediately or store at room temperature in airtight container for up to 1 week.
- For eggs, knead 1 teaspoon of marzipan until pliable. Using a toothpick dipped in gel color, add color to the almond paste until the desired shade is reached, kneading to disperse color. Shape marzipan around an almond, and roll in the palms of your hands to smooth and form egg shape.
- Repeat with remaining almonds, using different gel color for each egg.
Makes 1 nest with 5 eggs.
- If you want to make more than one nest, try one recipe first, to practice.
- To toast almonds, put them in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir and microwave for another minute. Continue to stir and microwave a minute at a time, until nuts are just lightly brown and beginning to smell fragrant. Nuts will continue to cook from the residual heat after they are removed from the microwave so be careful not to burn them. Cool thoroughly. Nuts will not crisp until cooled. Do not cover with marzipan until nuts are completely cooled.
For more 30-minute prep menu ideas for your Easter celebration, try these recipes from our Special Fork database:
- Hot Cross Buns – dust off the bread machine and use the dough cycle to make these delicious sweet buns. Shape by hand and bake.
- Rhubarb Chutney – Lori Powell’s recipe is the perfect springtime accompaniment for your Easter ham or lamb.
- Spiral-Sliced Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze – if you buy a precooked spiral ham, skip the sauce that comes with it and make your own, following this delectable recipe from Andrew Hunter.
- Baked Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Bread Crumbs – Asparagus is the classic vegetable for Easter meals and this recipe is both festive and simple; short how-to video included.
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