Eggs Nest Macaroons

With all that’s been happening in the world, I’ve almost forgotten that Easter is right around the corner.

I’ve been quarantining for about 3 weeks now, but it feels like a LOT longer. I miss my friends, I miss over-paying for coffee, I miss my yoga studio, and with Raleigh having 70-80 degree weather, I am really sad that the pool in my apartment building isn’t open.

With that being said, I know I’m so so lucky. I’m still working and my family is healthy. While quarantining alone can be lonely at times, I’m grateful that I’m able to exist in my space however I want (and I’m happy I spent so much time making sure my home was cute and cozy). Quarantine has prompted some good changes, too: It’s forced me to find new ways to stay connected with my friends, like collaborating on playlists, working out together over FaceTime, doing Zoom happy hours, etc. It’s helped me get back into running outdoors and prompted me to try the Peloton streaming workouts, which I’ve discovered I love! I’m not putting a ton of pressure on myself to accomplish SO much during this time – this is a collective traumatic experience and I’m cool with taking it easy. But I am happy with the opportunity to read a little more, learn procreate, watch some movies, and bake!

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Which brings me to these Eggs Nest Macarons. Ugh, I love these guys. I made them a few years ago (seen in this embarrassing post) and just adored how simple, delicious, and festive they are. Keep in mind, they are so freakin’ sweetBut if you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, they’re perfect. 

They incorporate three of my favorite things to satisfy my sweet tooth with: shredded coconut, chocolate hazelnut spread, and mini Cadbury eggs. I’m impressed that this year I’ve only purchased one bag of eggs. One year I think I totaled more like 10. No regrets.

Also – this was my first time using the Good & Gather brand from Target. It’s more affordable than brand name products and honestly I’m really impressed. Nutella is one of my favorite things, and this version was just as good as the real stuff. Not sponsored (omg can you imagine?!), but just thought it was worth sharing!

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Eggs Nest Macaroons

ingredients:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg white

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

chocolate hazelnut spread

mini cadbury eggs

directions:

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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

Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place it onto the prepared baking sheet. Shape the cookie into that of a bird’s nest. It’s okay if it’s a little imperfect, most nests are! With your thumb, press down into the center of the cookie to make an indent. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Bake the cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and press your thumb down in the center of the nests again. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until they are firm and set. Then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
Place some chocolate hazelnut spread in the center of each nest. Place 2-3 egg candies in the center of each nest, then enjoy!

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Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy recipe that tastes good and looks festive. I get it. If you’re hosting an Easter get together and you go the whole nine yards on the appetizers and entree, you might just need something simple for the final course. The carrot cake recipe I just shared is a tad involved (as most cakes are). However these magic squares, decorated with mini cadbury eggs, are not!

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I sometimes forget that magic squares are so good because they’re so easy. As if their unimpressive assembly means unimpressive taste. Not the case, people! These end up being pretty adorable and absolutely delicious. And they take about 45 minutes, total. Yaaas!

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Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

ingredients:

1/2th cup butter

crumbs from 12-13 graham crackers

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

6 oz of semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

mini cadbury eggs

directions:

preheat oven to 350 F.

place the full stick of butter in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for a few minutes, allowing the butter to melt fully. once the butter has melted, pull the sheet from the oven and evenly distribute the graham cracker crumbs so as to make a dense crust.

evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk all over the graham crackers, so that the entire surface is coated. sprinkle on the chocolate chips, then the pecans. finally distribute the coconut flakes evenly across the sheet. press down on the surface of the coconut, so that all layers are densely packed.

bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the coconut starts to lightly brown. remove the sheet from the oven. while the coconut is still hot and gooey, add the mini cadbury eggs. doing so while the coconut is still warm will help them adhere to the squares better.

place the sheet in the oven and allow the bars to chill completely. cut into uniform squares, and serve.

enjoy!

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I hope you’re all having the very best Easter! Wishing so badly I was a kid searching for eggs and my basket again. 😉

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Worlds Best Carrot Cake

In my humble opinion no Easter celebration is complete without a carrot cake. It being my very favorite cake, I’ve tried more than a few variations. Even still, my favorite recipe is my moms (you can call it bias, but I swear its superiority is the objective truth).

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I’ve alluded to this cake many times on this blog, so this year I finally decided it was time to share the wealth. It’s a definite crowd pleaser, and the true magic of this cake is it freezes beautifully. I take the leftovers, freeze them by the slice, and pull them out for months (or, let’s be honest, weeks) afterwards whenever I’m craving something indulgent.

A little bit more about the cake: carrot cake recipes often call for raisins, the original version of this one included. I omit them from mine. I love the nutty and carrot-y flavors in the cake and I just think raisins distract from that.

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One of the best parts of making a carrot cake is decorating the top. So much room for creativity! This year I went for a simple but elevated look, with some piped carrot tops and candy eggs. A little Peter Rabbit-esque. Fun!

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ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

4 cups grated carrots

1 cup pecans

8 oz softened butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1 lb of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened coconut shavings

optional: cadbury eggs, orange food coloring, and carrot greens for garnish

directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

grease two 9-inch cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment paper.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

alternate between adding some of the dry ingredients and the eggs, one by one, to the sugar/oil bowl. mix after each addition. finally add the carrots and pecans, mix to evenly combine, and divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

bake in the oven for 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their pans. trust me here.

in a new mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat till everything is well combined.

reserve 2-3 tablespoons of icing for piping the carrots (more if you want to do additional decorations). spread a thick layer of frosting between cake layers, then ice a crumb coat on the whole cake. place the cake back in the fridge for about 20 minutes so that the crumb coat can set.

use the rest of the icing to completely frost the cake. mix a few drops of orange food coloring with the 2-3 tablespoons of reserved frosting. use a piping bag with a large, round tip to pipe the carrot tops. gently insert carrot greens into each of the carrot tops. add the candy eggs in whatever arrangement you like.

take the oven temperature down to 300 F and spread some coconut on a baking sheet. toast the coconut until lightly browned, tossing every so often so the coconut toasts evenly. apply a layer of the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.

cut & enjoy!

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