Every year I am at a loss when it comes to holiday treats for our son, who is gluten, dairy and egg free. Past experience has shown that he doesn’t fare well with artificial colors and flavors, either. Have you walked through the Easter candy isle at a store lately? Generally there is next to nothing that fits that criteria.
Recently, while baking his favorite banana bread doughnuts, I came up with the idea to create little Easter Bunny nests. You see, I had overfilled the doughnut molds just slightly, which resulted in a nest shape when flipped over. The gears started turning immediately and I knew right away that I could turn this little mishap into cute little nests with the addition of a couple of simple ingredients!
For simplicity’s sake I am creating this lovely treat from a store bought gluten free mix (I know). Feel free to substitute your own recipe or favorite mix.
Besides the baked doughnuts, you will need frosting or glaze as the “glue”, some flaked coconut to make it pretty and jelly beans as Easter eggs. You could substitute Jordan almonds for the eggs. At our house we prefer to go with candy that contains no artificial colors.
1. Bake the doughnut nests
As I mentioned above, I opted for my favorite store bought gluten free yellow cake mix (from Aldi). You can use it, your favorite mix or substitute a recipe like this awesome sounding one which also includes a recipe for killer chocolate frosting. How about a chocolate cake batter like this or divine carrot cake?
Since our son is also egg free, I use “flax eggs” (1 TBS flax seed meal + 3 TBS water for each egg) – works like a charm. !
Regardless of your choice of batter, be sure to fill the donut molds just a little more than you normally would. This will create the bottoms of your nests.
Bake according to the recipe.
Let the donuts cool and place them in the refrigerator for at least one hour after they are fully cooled to make them firm enough to decorate. You can make them a day ahead and refrigerate them overnight, well covered.
A couple more quick notes on the specific yellow bake mix I am using here:
I substitute almond milk for cow milk. It will also work well with other milk replacements, like coconut, cashew and hemp. Instead of using three flax eggs, I prefer two, with the third egg replaced by 1/2 of a mashed banana. Substitute dairy free buttery spread for butter, like Earth Balance. I actually use softened ghee, as it is really butter without casein laden milk solids. Use only half the “butter” and make the other half unsweetened applesauce.
The glaze has two functions. It acts as the glue for the coconut flakes and it adds another delicious layer of flavor. Just like with the cake batter above, you have several options to make this recipe your own.
Personally, I definitely prefer homemade glaze to any store bought frosting. I have never found pre-made frosting that wasn’t full of something artificial. If you have an awesome frosting recipe go right ahead!
Here are some suggestions:
or chocolate glaze with yellow cake doughnut nests
Both of them couldn’t be any easier! Recipes at the bottom of the post.
Cream cheese frosting with carrot cake nests…
Your favorite homemade frosting recipe with any of them
You can go as simple or as hands on as you’d like!
This is always the fun part, except for eating them, that is.
Place your decorations in separate bowls and line up your cooled Easter bunny nests.
If you are using the lemon glaze recipe, stir ocasionally to keep it smooth. Likewise, the chocolate glaze may have to be rewarmed to keep it easily spreadable.
Spread glaze/frosting on one nest at a time, immediately sprinkle with flaked coconut. Doing one nest at a time, after the glaze is applied, helps the flakes stick better.
You could color the coconut flakes green with a natural food coloring, if desired.
Once all of the nests are glazed/frosted and have their coconut flake “bedding” place a few “eggs” in each.
If you are not serving them until later wait to place your candy eggs to prevent discoloration.
Here’s how the three different stages look:
First the ones with lemon glaze and jelly beans
And then chocolate glazed with Jordan almonds…
Which one do you like better? Honestly, I cannot decide!
One little trick: Place a jelly bean or a Jordan almond in the hole at the center before you glaze to keep the icing/glaze from running out. That’s all there is to it, except for one more thing.
Aren’t they just the most adorable little treats? I love how these lovely Easter Bunny nests are gluten, dairy and egg free, but you would never know.
Love how they turned out!
As promised, here are the quick and easy glaze recipes:
3/4 cup of confectioners sugar + about 1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
Gradually add lemon juice to the confectioners sugar. You want this to be pour-able, but not runny
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips + 1 tsp coconut oil
Gently warm chocolate chips and coconut oil in either a double boiler or microwave. Stir often until completely melted and smooth. Just like the lemon glaze, it should be pour-able, but not runny.
I so hope you will give them a try! This recipe has been on my mind for a long time and I am so happy I got to share it with you!
Happy Easter from The Witty Gritty Life