Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Vegan cinnamon spiced cookie nests or cups recipe! Gluten free and refined sugar free… plus other Easter recipes!

Healthy cakes and snacks, Special everyday cakes and treats

For when there’s a little mountain of chocolate Easter eggs and you realise healthy stuff is required, I offer you these scrumptious cookie nests!!!  They’re filled with healthy stuff:  homemade cashew butter, date caramel and marzipan eggs.  But you can let a few little chocolate eggs slip in there.  Tee hee.  It is Easter.  And when it’s not Easter you can fill them with anything (within reason):  ricotta, chocolate ganache, nuts… The cookie nests are made with ground almonds, maple syrup and coconut oil and are positively bursting with flavour from the cinnamon, cardamom and mixed spice.  The nests are slightly chewy, moist and so delicious you don’t need to fill them – they can simply be cookies.  Addiction to testing the various nest prototypes was inevitable.  Luckily there were three test batches otherwise no filling would have occurred!  If you’d like a healthy naturally vegan, glutenfree and refined sugar free very easy-to-make treat don’t hesitate to give these cinnamon spiced cookie nests a go!  But don’t come near mine…  er just kidding. 🙂

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

RECIPE for 24 mini cookie nests (using a 24-hole mini muffin tin) or 24 biscuits

These are adapted from the cinnamon cookie recipe in Melissa Sharp’s Modern Baker book.  Mine are a little less sweet with some added cardamom.  I invented the fillings based on earlier recipes and worked out a way to make cookie nests:  partially bake, make holes then continue baking.  Melissa Sharp says these cookies are the most popular in her bakery and I can understand why.  So even if you don’t make the nests I’d suggest making the cookies. They’re downright yummilicious!

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nest

Cookie nests

Pre-heat oven to 175°C/350°F (fan-assisted) or 195°C/380°F (static, non-convection oven).  Use vegan spread/butter to lightly grease a 24-hole mini muffin tin or large baking tray.

  • 90g/6 tablespoons pure organic coconut oil (can reduce to 80g/5 and 1/2 tbsp)
  • 240g/2 and 1/2 cups ground almonds (extra yummy if you grind your own in a processor)
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (1g) mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp (1g) ground green cardamon, optional and to taste
  • 1/2 tsp (3g) sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • 80g/4 tbsp pure maple syrup (can use between 70-90g/3 and 1/2 – 4 and 1/2 tbsp)
  1. Melt the coconut oil on low heat.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized/large bowl.
  3. Stir in the maple syrup and melted coconut oil until well combined.
  4. Spoon 1 slightly-rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each mini muffin tin.Making vegan almond and maple syrup cookie cups
  5. Bake around 8-9 minutes until golden but not done.  Take out of the oven and make a hole in each mound with a spoon or knife handle.Making vegan almond and maple syrup cookie cups 2
  6. Put back in oven and bake a further 2-3 minutes (Note:  I baked the earlier prototypes longer and they were slightly crisper but I like baking them less for a bit more moisture and chew).

Take out of oven when golden brown.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes in the tin then use the point of a sharp knife to gently prise the cookie nests out.  Cool on a wire rack to harden a bit before filling.

Making vegan almond and maple syrup cookie cups 3

Cookie version:  make mounds with 1 slightly-rounded tablespoon of mixture and flatten to 1cm high. You can top with an almond or pecan/walnut half.  Bake 10-13 minutes (making a hole after 8 minutes if you like).

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie

Be careful if trying to make a hole in a cookie shape – they crack more easily (but can be pressed back together again).

Cookie nest fillings

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Cinnamon spiced cookie nests

Cashew butter (or any nut butter from a health food store):

  • 125g/scant 1 cup raw unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon nut or vegetable oil, like canola or olive oil (I used macadamia oil)
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Process cashews until ground fine.  Add the oil, salt and lemon juice.  Grind for 5 minutes or more until you have a ‘butter’ or paste.  It will be quite solid but delicious.  Taste to check and add more salt if needed.  Add more oil it you’d like it more spreadable.  Refrigerate (keeps about a week in an airtight container).

Date caramel

  • 100g/1 cup stoned dates
  • 1 tablespoon peanut/almond butter (unsweetened from your healthfood store)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 good pinches of salt, or more (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional, to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp cold water, optional (add if your mixture seems too thick)

Cover the dates in water and soak 1-2 hours until softened.  Follow the instructions in the illustration below.

Date caramel illustrated recipe

Marzipan eggs

  • 100g/1 cup ground almonds (plus an extra 20g or more if necessary)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon bitter almond essence, optional (or pure vanilla extract)
  • OPTIONAL:  1 tspn matcha powder (put a little first to test the colour) or freeze-dried raspberry pieces/cocoa powder/natural food colourings, etc.

Combine the almonds and salt then stir in the maple syrup and bitter almond essence if using.  Knead to make a paste and add a little more ground almonds if too soft and sticky.  If using different flavours don’t add the matcha at the beginning – divide into different batches at the end to add various flavourings or colouring.

healthier marzipan recipe

Chocolate eggs


Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Other filling options

Peanut butter, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate ganache, cream cheese or ricotta, crumbled carrot cake, marzipan carrots in crumbled oreo cookies and chocolate cake, etc. etc.  Any other ideas?


Filling cookie cups

Fill cooled nests with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp nut butter and press down.  Spoon in 1/2 – 1 tsp date caramel and use the back of the spoon to spread nicely.  Top with marzipan or chocolate eggs.

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Easter cookie nests

Eating and storing

Can be eaten immediately or even before filling.  Lol.  Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container (a sealed glass jar is great).  Once filled they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day or so then in the fridge a few days, probably more – they’re still delicious when softer.

Easter treats

Here are more Easter recipes from the archives for a little inspiration:

Vegan chocolate Easter cupcakes.

Vegan chocolate easter cupcakes

Chocolate and vanilla Easter Cake (for children)

moist Easter chocolate and vanilla sponge cake

Healthy bliss ball eggs and almond butter cocoa bites (vegan)

Healthy Easter bliss ball treats

Monas de pascua (Spanish Easter egg bread)

Monas de pascua

Tropical Easter Simnel cake with Guinness or rum

Tropical Easter Simnel cake with Guinness

Italian pasqualina swiss chard (or spinach), quark and quail egg pie

torta pasqualina

Spiced spelt hot cross buns

Spiced spelt hot cross buns

Healthier apricot and quark faux fried egg pastries

Faux fried egg apricot and quark puff pastries

Hard to choose.  Thinking of making glutenfree or lower gluten hot cross buns next… What are you baking for Easter?


Just sharing my little cookie nests with this week’s Easter Free from Fridays at Le Coin de Mel where you can see some yummy free-from treats!

Free from Fridays

Might even take some into work to share!  Let’s have a quick nibble of a healthy cinnamon spiced almond and maple syrup cookie nest or two…

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Have a cookie nest!

So addictive. 😉

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter

Farewell dear reader!  Wishing you a lovely run-up to Easter with yummy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x

P.S.  A little message in advance…!  And if you don’t celebrate Easter please substitute the word ‘eating’ for ‘Easter’ …

Healthy cinnamon spiced cookie nests for Easter


Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

18 thoughts on “Vegan cinnamon spiced cookie nests or cups recipe! Gluten free and refined sugar free… plus other Easter recipes!”

    • Thank you Kreso, happy you like them! 😍 They’re very flexible – would be nice to know if you do anything creative with them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thank you Deborah, happy you like them! 😍 Easter starts early in Spain (from last Friday!) but it’s actually quite strange for me to have planned so far ahead too… 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your little cookie cups look absolutely delicious! I agree with you about grinding your own almonds. It’s so nice when they’ve been dry roasted and freshly ground! Thanks for joining in with #FreeFromFridays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mel, happy you like them! 😍 Yes, yum for freshly-ground almonds. And thank you for hosting #FreeFromFridays. I have to go over there and look at more recipes there! 🙂


    • Thank you Ursula! 😍 Actually a lot of the cookie cups didn’t ever get filled – just straight to the stomach. 😉 lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thank you Ana! 😍 Yes it’s good to have nibbles that are good for you sometimes. I need to check out your healthy smoothies more closely – just had a glimpse, looking great! 👍🏻😊

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.