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IN THE KITCHEN WITH ANGELA

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Almond Macaroon Easter Nests

Almond Macaroon Easter Nests

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 (8oz) brick light cream cheese (Neufchatel), at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon almond extract

1 package (7oz) sweetened flaked coconut

Red and yellow liquid food coloring

About 120 pastel-colored sugar-coated almonds (Jordan almonds)

Directions:

In a medium-size bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the sugar and almond extract. Beat for 2 minutes or until fluffy.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture and 1 cup loosely packed coconut until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Meanwhile, put a ½ cup of loosely packed coconut into two dishes and the remaining ½ cup into a medium-size bowl. Add 1 drop of red food coloring to one dish and 1 drop of yellow food coloring to the other. Close the lids and shake vigorously until the coconut is evenly tinted - add to untinted coconut and toss to mix.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll slightly rounded tablespoons of dough into balls. Roll each in the coconut mixture until lightly coated. Place the coated balls on baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Press 1 almond into each. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press 2 more almonds into each cookie close to the first one, to resemble eggs in a nest. Bake for 4 - 5 minutes more, or until the edges are firm and the cookies start to turn golden.

Set the sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cookies to the racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

 

Makes 40 cookies.

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