Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter! Chocolatey Nutella Meringue Berry "Nests"

Last week, I was wandering through World Market, procrastinating doing some necessary shopping, and stumbled upon Nutella. I hadn't really thought about Nutella since I invented my own vegan version last year, but it's one of those items (like Fluffernutter or this Easter egg beanie for a cat) that, when I come across it, I kind of have to buy it.

So buy it I did. I also picked up some meringue "nests" because they were on sale and I was getting in the crafty spirit of Easter (not long after the crafty spirit of Valentine's Day had worn off). I was going to invent an Easter treat involving Nutella and these ridiculous meringue "nests," but I didn't know how.

While perusing the farmers market this morning, it hit me: Nothing says "Happy Easter" like Chocolatey Nutella Meringue Berry Nests! ... Right?

So I picked up a basket of blueberries from the Chuy Berry Farms stand ($5) and two baskets of strawberries from Peter Desales at the Goleta Valley Farms stand.

Peter Desales runs his small, 10-acre farm in Goleta with his two brothers; it's been in their family for three generations, since 1950. He gave me a deal on my strawberries: 2 baskets for $4! I took my berries and hippity-hopped home to get to work.

Chocolatey Nutella Meringue Berry Nests

Here's what I started with:

Blueberries from Chuy's Berries in Arroyo Grande (distance from me: 79 miles)
Strawberries from Goleta Valley Farms in Goleta (distance from me: 9 miles) Meringue "Nests" from World Market
Chocolate chips (melted in the microwave for 40 seconds)

You could also make your own meringues, if you're so inclined. Here's a recipe.

Once I had all the ingredients set, the creation of these little nests was pretty easy and went quickly. First, I coated the bottoms of the nests in the melted chocolate chips. I just plopped them into the bowl and slowly rotated them with my left hand, holding the spoon in my right hand to guide the melted chocolate around the bottom of the nest. Then I put them on a pan covered in parchment paper to dry:

The next step was to add a dollop (I love that word!) of Nutella in the center of each nest. I could have used Fluffernutter as a substitute - anything yummy and sticky for the fruit to sit on would work.

Finally, I added one quarter of a strawberry and three blueberries to each little nest. Adorable. This dessert is perfect because of its small size - each serving has about 100 calories.

It's also a great alternative to creme-filled chocolate Easter eggs, especially if they're delivered by THIS GUY:

I'm sorry. Happy Easter!

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