Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birds' Nest Cookies

One of my favorite cookbooks on my shelf is The Cookie Jar Cookbook by Steffi Berne.  

Each cookie recipe is beautifully photographed with a matching or complementary antique cookie jar. 

Windmill cookies with matching cookie jars
 from The Cookie Jar Cookbook

Zweiback cookies with matching cookie jars from
 The Cookie Jar Cookbook
I received this book from a PR rep way back in the day when I worked on a woman's lifestyle show. It arrived at my office with an adorable cookie jar filled with cookies. I still have that cookie jar. It's in storage with my own collection of its antique cousins. The book is a good collection of classic recipes with some innovative ones thrown in. I admit I just like looking at the cookie jars.

In the book, she paired her recipe for Birds' Nest cookies with this adorable bird house cookie jar.

I have been making this recipe from this book for Easter for years. It's a winner.

I even shlepped back little malted milk eggs from the States in February so I would have the perfect ones to decorate them. Also, I love malted milk eggs in these nests. No jellybean substitutes for me. For years I have scoured the Easter Candy selection here in Germany and could not find anything similar. 

The cookies are very easy to make and have a bit of a shortbread consistency. I find them very tasty, especially paired with malted milk eggs. The only change I made to the original recipe was I added hazelnuts in addition to almonds to roll the cookies in. 

Several other bloggers have posted other lovely versions of these cookies recently. So at the risk of being an also ran, here they are...

Birds' Nest Cookies
(Barely adapted from The Cookie Jar Cookbook by Steffi Berne, Villard Books, 1991)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoonLemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts chopped fine or roughly ground.
  • 1/2 cup almonds chopped fine or roughly ground.
  • 1-2 tablespoons white corn syrup.
  • Small speckled jelly beans or chocolate eggs. I used mini speckled egg whoppers.
  • Cream butter, sugars and zest together until fluffy.
  • Add egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Sift in flour and salt and beat until combined.
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine the chopped nuts together in a bowl.
  • Roll dough into 1 or 2 inch balls depending on how big you want your nests to be.
  • Dip the dough ball into the egg white, roll in the nuts and place the cookie on baking sheet.
  • Bake one sheet at a time for 5 minutes, remove from oven and with the handle of a wooden spoon make an indentation in the center of each cookie. I used a wooden spoon and then made a wider impression with a coffee scoop. 
  • Place the baking sheet back in the oven reversing it and bake for about 8 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven, slide parchment paper off of the baking sheet onto a flat surface.
  • Once again make indentations in the center of the cookies.
  • Lightly brush the cookie centers with corn syrup and gently place the eggs in the middle.
  • Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
  • Makes 2 dozen nests.


  1. The are adorable. I'd be torn as to what to eat first, the cookie or the egss!

  2. Wow, these sound very delicious and are absolutely perfect for easter!

  3. These really are cute and they are absolutely perfect for Easter. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  4. These are so perfect for Easter! I don't think i've ever seen cookies this darn cute before!

  5. These look pretty. A different receipe for birds nest cookies then what I am use to. Looks good will try.



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