My second day of making Easter candy went better than the first. It turns out it really is a patience issue (whaddya know) and as long as I can keep things moving I feel successful. Of course, this is really just an issue in my head as neither candy turned out better than the other -- I just enjoyed doing the second more since it didn't involve waiting for chocolate to drip off.
These treats are one of my favorites and have been since I was a little girl. Russell Stover coconut nests were always in my Easter basket. I realize coconut is one of those love/hate things...but I love it, and so do three-fourths of my kids (I'll keep another yummy treat hidden until after Easter morning and let the one coconut hater trade his in -- hmmm, more for me). And these homemade coconut nests are really much better than even Russell Stover's -- surprised me! I think the key is letting that coconut get nice and toasty in the oven. It crunches so much better when it's toasty.
Again, I used my nut-free melting chocolates, but you can use milk chocolate chips and/or vanilla candy chips or bark. You really don't need a recipe here, just toast some coconut and mix it into some melted chocolate.
I toasted a whole bag of sweetened coconut -- 12 oz in the oven on 350 degrees F.
this is not the whole bag -- this is half, as I forgot to take a picture before I made the white nests
I let it bake for a total of 16 minutes, but I stirred it every four minutes to keep it from getting too dark in one place. Be sure to set your timer, or you'll forget. My pan and oven tends to toast it around the edges first, so I keep stirring it up to get the untoasted stuff toward the edges.
Because I wanted to make both white and milk chocolate nests, I used roughly half the coconut in the first batch -- the white. I didn't measure, just poured about a cup of melts into a bowl and melted them in the micro -- 30 seconds at a time, stirred, and 30 more seconds until it was melted and creamy. It didn't take long, especially with the white. Then I dumped a couple of handfuls of toasted and cooled coconut into the chocolate. Stirred and added more if necessary until the mixture was wet but not soupy.
Then I placed a wax paper square into a custard cup -- you can use a ramekin, a small tea cup, anything that will hold the shape of a nest -- and scooped a couple tablespoonfuls in. Using a teaspoon, I pressed the coconut mixture down into the bowl and made an impression in the center -- not perfect, just nest-shaped. I used some smaller jellybeans for the eggs, I think they were Lifesaver brand.
Repeat with all the mixture and then chill the nests until they are firm. Bag in cellophane and chill until it's time to fill the baskets.
A 12 oz bag of coconut, about a cup of white melts and a cup and a half of milk chocolate melts made about 12 nests.