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Moss Doughnut Nests

Moss Doughnut Nests 
These adorable little “moss” covered nests are made using ingredients that are very easy to find.  They call for bite-size doughnuts that are available at all grocery stores, coconut, crispy noodles and shredded wheat.  The inspiration for this project came from browsing through all of the cute moss-covered decorations on sale in home stores for Easter.  I just love how the rustic, dark green moss sets off the pretty pastel Easter colors. 
While these little nests are great on their own, think of them also as cake or cupcake toppers.  You can also make a larger nest by using a full-size doughnut.
For approximately 18 mini nests:
4 teaspoons water, divided
⅛ teaspoon paste food color in Moss Green
⅛ teaspoon paste food color in Juniper Green
(You can substitute 1 teaspoon green liquid food color, but the finished color of the moss will be much 
4 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided
1 bag (10-12 oz.) of mini doughnuts; either chocolate glazed or plain glazed
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons water
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
Pure lemon extract, at least ½ teaspoon
Small, candy-coated chocolate eggs
Shredded wheat biscuits (the large biscuits work best, but the mini variety will also work)
Crispy rice noodles (available in small cans in the Asian foods section of grocery stores)
Small chocolate chicks
To make the coconut “moss”:
This recipe calls for both Moss Green and Juniper Green paste food color (available at craft and cake decorating stores, or the cake decorating section of larger grocery stores).  Using these two colors together creates an incredibly realistic coconut “moss”.  Green liquid food color can be substituted, but the color will be a much brighter green.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a gallon-size zip-top bag, place 2 tsp of water, and ⅛ tsp of the Moss Green paste food color (or ½ tsp green liquid food coloring, if using that instead).  Seal the top.  Trying to keep the liquid in one corner of the bag, lightly knead the bag to mix the coloring and water together.
Carefully open the bag and add 2 cups of the coconut to the bag.  Seal the top again and thoroughly knead the coloring into the coconut until it is completely mixed in.  Set the bag aside.  
Repeat the above procedure with a new gallon-size bag, the remaining 2 tsp of water, the ⅛ tsp of Juniper Green food color (or another ½ tsp of green liquid food color, if using), and the remaining 2 cups of coconut.
On two separate baking sheets, evenly spread out the two bags of colored coconut; one tray for the Moss Green coconut, and one tray for the Juniper Green coconut.
Bake the coconut for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the coconut is well dried but not browned (lower the oven temperature if it looks like the coconut is starting to brown as it bakes).
Remove from the oven and allow the coconut to completely cool on the trays (it will continue to dry a little as it cools).  
Working with one color at a time, place the cooled coconut in the bowl of a food processor.  Blend until the coconut is ground fairly finely, but not so much that it is powdered.
Pour the coconut into a large bowl and repeat with the second tray.  Combine the two colors and mix well.  Set aside. 
Prepare the doughnuts:
Set out approximately 18 mini doughnuts. 
Make a sugar glaze by stirring together the 2 cups of powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of water.  Mix until smooth.
Working with one doughnut at a time, use a pastry brush to completely coat the doughnut in the sugar glaze.  Use the brush or the side of the bowl to wipe off any excess glaze that drips off.  
Immediately, while the glaze is still wet, cover the entire doughnut with the coconut “moss”. 
Set the moss-covered doughnut on a flat surface and gently press your finger into the center to create a very slight indentation.
The same procedure can be used on larger full-size doughnuts to make larger nests.  
Set the doughnut aside to dry, and repeat with the remaining doughnuts.  When all of the doughnuts are covered, reserve any remaining glaze and remaining moss to use for the decorating.  
To speckle the chocolate eggs:
In a small bowl, measure ½ tsp cocoa powder. 
Add ¼ tsp lemon extract and stir to combine.  Add additional lemon extract, a drop at a time, stirring until smooth.
Lay the candy-coated chocolate eggs out on a tray or large plate.  Using a clean toothbrush, dip the bristles into the cocoa mixture. Working closely to the chocolate eggs and holding the bristles facing up, run your thumb over the bristles to create a splatter of chocolate over the eggs, lightly speckling them with dots.  Set aside to dry. (You can add more lemon extract as needed, if the cocoa mixture gets too thick.)
To finish the decorating:
Gently break apart a large shredded wheat biscuit, trying to keep the shreds as long as possible.  Set aside the shredded wheat shreds, and also the rice noodles.
Attach the speckled eggs, chocolate chicks, shredded wheat, and rice noodles to the nests by applying small amounts of the leftover glaze as glue.  Arrange the items in any sorts of designs you like.  Use the leftover moss to cover up any places where the glaze shows.
Allow the finished nests to dry.  They look very nice when simply placed on a small pile of the shredded wheat.  Or they also make lovely cake or cupcake toppers.

Copyright © 2017 Christina Banner. All Rights Reserved.