A Year in the Making: Springtime Sugar Cookie Nests

Sugar Cookie Nests

Sugar Cookie Nests

Last year I saw some really, really cute cookies on Pinterest. They were little thumbprint cookies, topped with chocolate and decorated with tiny chocolate eggs. I had every hope of actually making them. But then life happened and my motivation for fiddling around with tiny cookies flew right out the window.

Luckily this year was less chaotic and I actually managed a few sweet spring-time experiments like homemade Peeps and — finally — these little sugar cookie nests. And I have to say they were adorable enough (and tasty enough!) to be worth the wait.

While there are TONS of cookie nest recipes around, I really liked the simplicity of this one — no mini muffin pan necessary, just a basic sugar cookie recipe and some imagination. I contemplated using coconut flakes as the grass, but in the end I went with melted dark chocolate, green jimmies and mini chocolate eggs.

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The Ups and Downs of Homemade Peeps

Homemade Easter Peeps

When I was younger, I always wanted to like Peeps — they were so cute and colorful and looked so festive it was hard not to want to bite their little heads off. But even as a kid, I’d get halfway through the pack and lose interest. They just weren’t as delicious as their bright candy colors made them seem. (They were still better than Cadbury Eggs, with their creamy yolks that still give me the creeps, but a far cry from my favorite Easter candy, mini-Whopper Robin Eggs.)

And yet, this year I became obsessed with making my own. After all — homemade marshmallows are infinitely better than store-bought ones, so it would seem that homemade Peeps would follow the same logic.

I did some recipe and technique research before I began, which led me to trying out Alton Brown’s recipe for marshmallows. Normally I am a big proponent of Martha Stewart’s recipe, but it seemed like as good a time as any to try something new. (Personally I still find Martha’s recipe to be fluffier and sweeter, but feel free to use whatever recipe you like best.)

If you are a newbie at marshmallow making, make sure you have a candy thermometer that is calibrated and that actually works (mine broke and I ended up having to test for the soft ball stage using a cup of water. Effective but not very fun). Also prepare yourself for the mess, especially if you try to color part of your mixture like I did. Imagine yourself in a stringy web of sugar — it gets everywhere!

And in hindsight, dying the marshmallows was pretty silly. The sugar covers them anyways, I was just experimenting.

Pink and White Marshmallows

Pink and White Marshmallows. They look unassuming but managed to put up quite a fight.

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If the Easter Bunny goes missing… blame me!

Rabbit Pot Pie at Local 360, Seattle, WA

Rabbit Pot Pie at Local 360, Seattle, WA

It’s hard to believe that Easter is looming in the very near future. But considering my work days have been filled with inquiries for lamb, ham and rabbits, it must be true. By the way, if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make an appearance on Sunday, he’s most likely being dished up at a restaurant in Portland or Seattle — and he’s probably delicious!

Anyways, in true procrastinator fashion, I made these adorable candy-filled nests last year…but by the time I got around to downloading and editing the photos, Easter had long since gone. The nests turned out so cute that I still wanted to share them, even if they had to wait almost 12 months for their time to shine.

Chocolate Easter Nests

Chocolate Easter Nests: Melted dark chocolate, crunchy chow mein noodles and, of course, mini Cadbury eggs!

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Update: The USPS makes like a bunny, delivers Easter eggs…

Success — my brother let me know the eggs arrived safely!

So let it be known that even though postal workers may think you’re crazy (or, let’s face it, annoying) you can mail eggs, no box required!

Why use a bunny when you can just mail your Easter eggs?

Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon a blog post not too long ago that blew my mind. It was about all of the stuff you can just drop in a post office box and (with the correct postage, of course) have delivered. Now I’m not talking about large envelopes or small boxes, I’m talking about stuff like 2-liter bottles, soccer balls, flip-flops and…Easter eggs! As long as it weighs less than 13 ounces and isn’t breakable, it’s okay to mail.

I was stunned. And counting down the weeks until I got an opportunity to send some candy-filled Easter eggs to my nieces and nephews. I could just imagine my brother’s befuddlement at finding a stash of Easter eggs mixed in with the bills.

I decided to do a test-run just in case, so a few weeks ago I sent a surprise gift to my friend DB. It was actually a late party favor from my birthday — a little goodie bag with some honey candies and cookies that I had forgotten to give him before he left that night. However, I knew the cookies wouldn’t make it safely without a protective shell. Luckily a co-worker offered up a plastic quart container she had.

I printed out an address label and using our postage scale at work was even able to determine the exact amount of postage necessary. Then I taped that sucker to hell and back and threw it in the mail box outside of my office. Two days later I got a text that just said, “You are one crazy lady.” That’s the sound of success!

Since then I have been impatiently waiting for Easter to get close enough so I could mail out my eggs. I decided that two weeks prior was an acceptable time frame so I bought all my supplies last weekend and got to work…

Ready to roll…And yes that is a Bloody Mary. I drink while I craft.

I have five nieces and nephews (all in the same house) so I figured I had better send an emergency egg just in case one didn’t make it. Better safe than sorry. Once the eggs were stuffed with candy (a combination of Robin’s Eggs, Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs and Spring Skittles), I shoved in as much Easter grass as I could before sealing them up.

As a disclaimer — these eggs were far from sturdy. In fact, just closing them, I could tell they were in dire need of some serious reenforcement. So I used packing tape a few times over the seal and then covered that with some cute patterned adhesive tape I found at Joann’s. They turned out pretty adorable — and hopefully pretty durable.

The next day at work I printed off some address labels. I figured since the post office employees would already hate me enough for throwing Easter eggs in the mail box, I could at least make the addresses legible. I also added some adorable stickers just because. Then I used our handy dandy electronic postage scale and weighed them. Each egg was $.84 to mail, which is reasonable. Once the eggs were labeled with postage, I wished them luck and safe journeys and plopped them in the big blue mail box on the corner.

I spent much of my day reassuring my colleagues that you can indeed mail eggs, no box required, but a hint of uncertainly began to nag at me. What if the eggs didn’t even make it outside of the Portland post office? What if they break in transit?

* Click to read the update!