Mini Brownie Egg Nests

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I am all about last minute Easter preparations around here, mostly because Easter always seems to sneak up on me. We haven’t dyed eggs yet, nor have we even found the Easter baskets. Time is running out. But I loved this idea so much and it seemed simple enough, so I decided why not? If nothing else at least I managed to do this – Easter will not pass without at least something to commemorate it as special.

Besides, I don’t know about you but my kids and I would rather eat a brownie with a candy covered chocolate egg on top, than a real egg, any day of the week.

You can do this recipe from a box mix, or you can do it from scratch. Scratch takes just a few extra minutes and gives you more control over what goes in. I went with the scratch option.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (because of course these are healthy brownies)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
Sweetened shredded coconut
Nutella
Whoppers Robin eggs, Cadbury mini eggs, or jelly beans. We went with the Robin eggs, which can only fit one in the nests, but are still cute.

Instructions:
Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Melt the butter in the microwave – 40 seconds to 1 minute on full power.

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Stir in the cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth.

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Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Stir dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are smooth and without lumps.

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Measure by teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Each tin should be no more than 2/3 full (the nests are hard to get out if they puff up above the edge of the pan).

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Place in hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a small amount of sweetened coconut on top of each brownie.

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Return pan to the oven for 10 minutes. The coconut will brown and will mimic the sticks in a natural bird nest.

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Remove from oven, and while brownies are still warm make an indentation in top for your eggs to sit in.

Allow the brownie nests to cool before removing from pan – this is the Pinterest Fail portion of the recipe if you rush it.

Remove cooled brownies to a plate or cooling rack. Place a small dab of Nutella on the underside of your “eggs” and arrange them Nutella side down on top of the nests. The Nutella holds the eggs in place.

Plus, Nutella just makes everything better.

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And voila – Mini Brownie Egg Nests!

Happy Easter!

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Gems

It’s a cold, rainy Friday here at our house and this kind of weather makes me want to do something to make myself feel better. I miss the sun already. Although I will say I am cheered somewhat by the fact that snow has started falling in the mountain passes. Maybe we will have an early ski season? Trying to stay positive!

Hey, speaking of staying positive, it is a scientific fact that cookies can improve mood, especially if they contain chocolate. I can’t point you to any official research on the subject, but I can tell you that I have personally tested and proven this hypothesis many times. However, in my observation it’s dose dependent. If I am feeling down and eat one or two cookies, I feel happier after. If I eat an entire batch, then I am more depressed and considering bulimia as a viable life choice.

(Just kidding, this blog neither practices nor endorses bulimia).

It is said that emotional eating = no bueno. However, I am pretty sure that whoever said this does not live in Seattle. If you live in Seattle and you know you are at the front end of a 6 month stretch of no sun, you do what you gotta do. So, I am going to have some damn cookies. However, in the interest of not undoing all my hard work, I need something sort of healthy(ish) that still tastes good and feels satisfying. Everyone in the family has to like them, since I don’t want to have to eat them all myself.

Here is a recipe that fits the bill. It contains no flour, no butter and only 7 ingredients, so it is super simple to make. The dough also keeps pretty well for a few days in the refrigerator, so if you’re like me and can’t leave cookies alone, you can just make a few at a time so you avoid eating the whole batch in one sitting.

Hopefully this time I listed all the ingredients! There are only supposed to be seven, so I think we are okay this time.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Gems

1/2 cup peanut butter (can be crunchy or creamy)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the peanut butter, brown sugar and egg in a medium size bowl (I mix them in the bowl of a stand mixer).

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In a small bowl, stir together the oatmeal and baking soda, then add to the peanut butter mixture. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Stir chocolate chips in by hand.

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Scoop a spoonful of dough (should be a 1″ to 1-1/2″ lump) and roll into a ball between your hands. My lovely assistant here demonstrates the proper technique – it’s more of a cradle and pat, than a true roll.

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Place about 2″ apart on a nonstick cookie sheet.

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Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until bottoms are slightly golden.

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These cookies are about 100 calories each, fairly high in protein and low in cholesterol due to using peanut butter instead of butter. Just don’t be like some people I know and eat the whole batch. Remember it’s not so much about what you eat but how often and how much.

So go ahead and enjoy yourself. Winter IS coming, after all.

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This is Max and Oleg, Eatandrunmom’s official cookie testers, and they have approved this message.