Coconut Bird Nests by Charlotte Hubbard

This is an old family favorite I updated with some cream cheese. These nests add color to a spring cookie plate—I make them green, but you can use any color you prefer—and the little jelly beans make them irresistible.

5 T. butter
3 oz. full-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. almond extract
1 T. brandy, Triple Sec or other liqueur*
Few drops of food coloring
1¼ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
14 oz. bag of moist coconut, divided
About a cup of frosting
Small bag of miniature jelly beans

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, extract, and liqueur. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and 3 scant cups of the coconut. Chill the dough for at least an hour (overnight/a couple days is fine). When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325º and cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Shake remaining coconut onto a sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough into 1” balls and then roll in the loose coconut. Place about 2” apart and bake 12-15 minutes, until cookies hold their shape (they won’t feel solid). Remove from the oven, leave on the pans for a minute—and then stick your thumb in the middle of the ball and shape the nest around it, pressing any cracks together so the nest is firm with a flat bottom. Cool completely on wire racks. Pipe a dab of frosting into the cooled nests and fill with the jelly beans. Makes about 3 dozen. Will freeze.

*Kitchen Hint: You can replace the liqueur with vanilla extract or rum flavoring.

Extra notes:  Recipes for the colored cut out sugar cookies and the buttercream frosting are on my website in the recipe section for AN AMISH COUNTRYCHRISTMAS—made in Easter colors by using raspberry sugar-free gelatin powder and paste food coloring for the pink/purple cookies and using orange sugar-free gelatin powder and paste food coloring for the yellow and orange cookies, as per recipe instructions.

I got the Easter cookie cutters at

“Hubbard writes Amish stories with style and grace.” —RT Book Reviews

Charlotte Hubbard celebrates the joys and challenges of motherhood in this uplifting story, set amid the warmth and tradition of an Amish Missouri farm community.

For Leah Otto, marrying Jude Shetler is a long-held dream come true. As a young girl, she was captivated by his good looks and talent as an auctioneer. When Jude, now a widower with three children, begins to court her, Leah doesn’t hesitate. Other men may not appreciate her tomboy ways, but Jude values Leah’s practical nature and her skill with the animals she tends, and both enter the marriage with joy and optimism.

Three months later, Leah feels as if her world is coming down around her. Her twin teenage step-daughters, Alice and Adeline, are pushing boundaries and taking far too many risks, while five-year-old Stevie deeply misses his mother. Leah, more at ease in a barn tending her goats and chickens than in a kitchen, struggles with her housekeeping duties.

Then a baby is abandoned on their doorstep, and Leah must search her soul. Caring for little Betsy fills her with renewed purpose and the strength to begin pulling her family together. With Jude’s steadfast support, Leah finds that what she once thought of as a happy ending may be something even better—the beginning of a life rich in love, faith, and unexpected blessings.

Praise for A Mother’s Love

“An endearing romance. . . . By making a space for determined women inside the Amish community and providing a satisfying conclusion to various familial hurts, Hubbard provides readers with a comforting tale of love and forgiveness.” —Publishers Weekly