Sunday, March 24, 2013

Almond Joy Brownie Easter Nests

Almond Joy Brownie Easter Baskets - made March 23, 2013, brownie recipe from The Art & Soul of Baking from Sur La Table and combination inspired by Flour Me With Love 

For those who celebrate Easter, it's Palm Sunday today which means Easter is only a week away.  I was trying to figure out what to make this year that was "Easter-y" that hasn't already been done (especially by me).  I've done the Chocolate Easter Baskets out of chocolate-coated pretzel sticks and the Nutella Rice Krispies Easter Baskets so I thought I should do something other than a basket.  That was the intent anyway but at the end of the day, I stuck to something still basket-ish although I'm opting to consider it a "nest".  Probably because I have this dessert shell pan and it just cries out for something basket-like.  Not to mention, in case you haven't noticed, doing a basket-like container is just an excuse to use Cadbury mini eggs, my favorite (and only) Easter candyI buy a bag every year and make it last for a few months.  This year, in a Freudian slip, I must have forgotten I'd already bought one because when I went to put this year's bag into the pantry, lo and behold, there was a bag already there.  I must've *cough* forgotten *cough* that I had bought one earlier this season.  

For this year's edible Easter nest, I drew inspiration from Flour Me With Love's recipe for Almond Joy Brownie BitesExcept I made the brownie from scratch from The Art & Soul of Baking, a recipe book I've long coveted but wouldn't let myself buy because I already had enough cookbooks.  Fortunately, I got it for free from  It only took 2 years of being on the waiting list but hey, at least I finally got it a couple of weeks ago.  It pays to be patient....and to have over 200 other baking books to use in the meantime.  Anyway, I made the brownie batter and it was just enough for the 6 dessert shells in my pan.  The only tricky part though was I had to bake the brownies long enough so that they'd hold their shape when I took them out of the oven (I let them cool for a few minutes before turning them over onto a baking sheet) then spooned the coconut topping on top and put them back in the oven for the topping to bake and brown.  I was afraid of overbaking the brownies so I hovered over the oven.  After about 7-10 minutes, when the coconut topping was just barely tinging golden at the edges, I put the oven setting on broil and stared at it until I was satisfied they had browned just enough.  They could've used a bit more baking and the brownies were fudgy enough to have withstood a longer baking time but I wasn't going to risk it.  

I let the dessert shells cool a bit before pressing the Cadbury mini eggs on top.  Oh my.  Decadence.  Pure decadence.  Even I, an avowed coconut-lover, chocoholic and Cadbury mini egg fiend, was almost defeated by this year's "basket".  It was good.  Really good.  Food coma, chocolate overload good.  I don't advise buying a form-fitting Easter outfit and making these in the same year.  Or else split one basket/nest with 6 of your closest friends.

Classic Fudgy Brownies
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ cup (2 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

Coconut topping*
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 14-ounce bag coconut
1/4 cup milk
Whole toasted almonds
*Note - you can easily use only a 1/4 recipe of the topping for 1 full brownie recipe.  Or, if you make the whole recipe of topping, use the rest for the Toffee Squares recipe I will be putting up later this week.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Lightly spray a 6-cavity dessert shell pan (or a muffin tin if you don't have one) with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter and chocolates in the top half of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water.  Whisk until smooth.
  3. Remove chocolate mixture from the heat and stir in sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well to incorporate the first before adding the second. Stir in the vanilla extract. Whisk in the flour and salt.  Continue to stir until batter is smooth and shiny-looking, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the dessert shell or muffin cavities.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, not raw batter.
  5. Mix the coconut, sweetened condensed milk and milk together.  
  6. Remove brownies from the oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes.  Run a thin spatula around the outer edges of the brownies.  Flip pan over onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Place one or two whole toasted almonds inside each cavity (or press gently into center if using muffin tins). Spoon topping over almonds.  If using muffin tins, leave them in the tins and, using the back of a spoon, press lightly in the center to make an indentation.  Spoon filling on top, making a slight impression in the topping for the "nest" and spread out to the edges.  Bake brownies an additional 7-10 minutes or until coconut topping is no longer runny and is lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool completely and press Cadbury mini eggs on top.


  1. These are adorable!! And, well. Brownies + Coconut = Awesome!

    1. Thanks - coconut and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations :).