Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter treats: adventures with chow mein birds nests.

My family never made the chow mein noodle birds nests. Sure my friends moms made them all the time for the Easter parties at school, but this never was in my family repertoire. They really aren't hard to make, or expensive, it just takes some forethought.
This Easter, as I was deciding what to take to my parents for Easter lunch, I wanted something special that little man and his cousin would enjoy. Then I remembered the birds nest, and how much they remind me of spring. I vowed that I could learn.
Unfortunately, there are scores of different varieties.... The chow mein noodles are a staple. Some use marshmallow only... Like a rice noodle version of rice crispy treats. Some even use chocolate chips. In short, there are at least a dozen recipes out there, so you can probably find one that works with things already in your pantry. It's also a pretty good project for kids to help with... You could use the microwave instead of the oven for an even safer kid friendly cooking method.

We opted for a butterscotch chip/ peanut butter concoction,
I melted 1 bag butterscotch chips over the stove with 1 cup peanut butter. I am vey protective of my pans, so I coated the pan in about 1/2 tablespoon of butter, melted... This probably wasn't necessary.
Most recipes call for 2-4 cups noodles. I bought a 12 oz bag, which measured out a little more than 4 cups. I slowly added all of this. I couldn't fit all 4 cups at once, so I started to make nests, then added the rest of the uncoated noodles.

To make the nests spoon out 1 scoop. I used a heaping tablespoon, but I think next time, I'd go for smaller nests... Maybe teaspoons. You want to scoop on to a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Once on the paper, try to hollow out a nest depression in the center.... I wasn't too good at this either. I read one tip where they buttered a muffin tin, and scooped into the muffin spaces. While you would have likely got more contained nests, I am pretty sure I would have ended up with more than 12 nests. I ended up with 16 tablespoon nests, that weren't very nest shaped.

You can decorate with eggs of your choice... They help sell the nest feel of the treat, if the shape doesn't. I used what I had, jelly beans, but peanuts and candy coated chocolate candies, especially the egg shaped ones, would work equally well.