This is such an easy little project. I made these nests with the Easter holiday in mind, but I think they'd make cute place card holders for a wedding reception. They'd even make an elegant table decoration for Mother's Day brunch.
Remember the chocolate bowls I made way back when? Well, this project is very similar, and I might say - even easier! The nests will need to dry for 24 hours, so plan ahead. They solidify to a hard candy finish, and remind me of delicate porcelain.
A few daily tidbits:
- You may have noticed the Saveur tag in the upper right hand corner of my banner. I'm a finalist for best baking blog of 2012! I'm not sure how the folks at Saveur chose finalists from such a vast amount of entries, but I'm really honored that I was nominated and selected again. There are several baking blogs that I love and admire deeply that weren't on the finalist list, and it makes me wonder how on earth I was picked! That said, voting is now open to everyone worldwide. If you like what I do here, then cast your vote!
- My book comes out in less than a month (!), which fills me with nervous excitement. I'll be doing a book related post once a week until then with sneak peeks of recipes and pictures inside. On May 1st I'll be holding a giveaway for copies of the book and I'll be giving away a KitchenAid stand mixer! Tell your friends! We are going to party. There will be cake.
- Check out what's on ModCloth's coming soon list! (Be sure to click the extra pictures below the book!)
|Feathering the nest with coconut.|
Royal Icing with Meringue Powder
for Royal Icing Nests [click for printable version]
YIELD: Approximately 3 cups of icing. This recipe makes stiff-peak icing.
Note: Not all meringue powder is the same. Be sure to read the directions on the back of the meringue powder container for suggested amounts.
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4-1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon clear flavoring extract (lemon, orange, almond, clear vanilla)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, stir the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined.
2. Add the water (1/4 cup first and add more as needed) and beat on medium-high speed until very stiff peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the flavoring and beat on low until combined.
4. Use the icing immediately or drape a damp tea towel over the mixing bowl or bowls to prevent the icing
from drying out.
Note: Royal icing should be used immediately or transferred to airtight containers and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and stir before using.
Make the nests:
Yield: 10 nests - more or less, depending on how much you inflate the balloons.
1 recipe royal icing, stiff peak, placed in a piping bag with Wilton #3 round piping tip
10 latex balloons
About 2 cups toasted coconut
30 candy-coated chocolate eggs
- Inflate the balloons to an approximate 3 1/2 -inch diameter and tie off. Place them upright on an egg crate or in the tops of a few plastic tumblers. Pipe icing over the top 1/3 of the balloon. Make many circular passes around the balloon while piping until the top is covered in icing. Note: Don't overload the top with icing. Pipe until the balloon is just covered with icing.
- Leave to dry at least 24 hours. The icing will dry to a hard candy matte finish.
- When nests are completely dry, snip the balloon at the tie-off with scissors, allowing the air to escape slowly. The balloon will pull away from the sides of the nest revealing a bowl-shaped cavity.
- Line nests with toasted coconut (make sure coconut has completely cooled) and place 3 chocolate eggs inside.