Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Bird's Nest Treats

You've probably seen or heard of these wonderful treats before!  Perhaps you know them as "haystack cookies" or something similar. 

This recipe might not be new to you but they were new to me when I made them for a recipe swap last Friday!  I never had much reason to bake cute and fun things until I became a mom and joined a group where we exchange recipes each month.  Now I'm always on the lookout for new and creative ways to make cooking more fun! 

I opted to use Chinese noodles (chow mein) and chocolate chips for my version of this recipe.  But there are many other ways you can vary this dessert.  In fact, check out my pal Lara at Recipe Shoebox (whom I admire and adore) - she just posted her verison of these bird's nest delectables yesterday!  She used pretzels and butterscotch chips. 

Have fun with it and make it your own way.  Here's my version if you want to copy it:

Easter Bird's Nest Treats

(Makes about 20 cookies)

1 bag (about 3 cups) of Chinese Chow Mein Noodles, such as La Choy
1 bag (10 to 12 oz) of chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli all natural semi sweet chocolate)
1 cup of creamy, all natural peanut butter
About 60 jelly beans (3 per nest), mini chocolate eggs or candy-coated almonds

Lightly grease two muffin tin containers with cooking spray.  In a medium size microwave-safe bowl, place the chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Heat on high until the chocolate has melted.  Stop at about 45 seconds; stir it.  Then heat for another 15 to 30 seconds, if needed.  Be sure the chocolate and peanut butter are blended together.  Stir in the chow mein noodles until completely coated.  Drop by handfuls or spoonfuls into the greased muffin tins.  The muffin tins will give these Easter "nests" their circular shape.  (Or you can simply drop onto waxed paper and shape the "nests" yourself by hand).

If you'd like the "eggs" to stick to the nest, then place three jelly beans (or almonds or other candy) in the center of each "nest" before placing them in the fridge to harden.  Or you can wait to add the "eggs" on top later.

Place the pan full of "nests" in the fridge.  Chill them for 2 to 4 hours to be sure they have hardened.  Keep them there until ready to serve. 

For even more fun and dramatic effects, you can place a Peep shaped like a bird on top of the "nest" full of eggs.  Let your kids help you with this fun and easy recipe!  They are really adorable. 

I'm thinking that these would be great to make in the falltime as well.  Instead of being "Easter bird's nests," they could easily be turned into pumpkin haystacks.  I could use my mini bread pan and shape them into rectagular haystacks and place candy pumpkins on top.  Won't that be cute!?   I better bookmark that idea and save it for later!  

Does your child or someone you know have peanut allergies?   No Worries!  You can still make these!  Just substitute marshmallows in the place of peanut butter. 

A friend of my daughter's cannot have any nuts. So I made one especially for her using marshmallows.  I also substituted pretzels in the place of chow mein noodes.

Here's what her nut-free Easter nest looked like:   

Are you making any special Easter treats?  Do you have any great foods lined up for the holiday? 

I will be returning from a vacation; therefore, I think we'll be having takeout or eating from the freezer this year for Easter. 


  1. Cute, cute! I love it with the chocolate chips and chow mein noodles. I'm going to attempt a gluten-free one for my daughter's classmate by using corn chex instead of pretzels. I love fun treats that are so flexible and adjustable. :)

  2. These are delicious-YUM! I like your chocolate/ peanut butter combination. I have a good friend who makes them using butterscoth chips and the peanutbutter.

  3. And I just went back and added a link to your cute version as well! :)

  4. Jillian loved her Marshmallow one! I just found a soy based butter that tasted like peanut butter that jill loves so I can't wait to use it for this!

  5. super cute! I love these things anyway they're made! anne