Easter Chocolate Bird’s Nests

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Ingredients

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
* 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
* 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
* 6 dozen candy-coated chocolate eggs

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed just until a stiff dough forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Place chocolate, heavy cream, and espresso powder in a medium heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from heat, and set the chocolate ganache aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies; place them on lined baking sheets. Chill cookies until firm, about 20 minutes.

5. Bake cookies until set, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Spread coconuton an ungreased baking sheet; bake just until dry, about 12 minutes, being careful not to brown. Let coconut cool; transfer to a small bowl.

7. When the ganache has cooled to room temperature, whisk until it becomes stiff enough to pipe. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch-round tip, and pipe around perimeters of cookies. Dip each cookie, ganache-side down, into coconut. Fill “nests” with candy-coated chocolate eggs, 2 or 3 eggs per nest. Store cookies in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 3 days.

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