When it comes to Easter crafts I keep it simple. My children don't want to watch me operate a jigsaw or stress over shades of egg dye. They just want to have fun. And if we make something they can eat, preferably immediately, that is definitely a bonus. One of our favorite Easter crafts of all time are these cute edible nests from my book The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year. The nests contain just a few ingredients and the only "cooking" I do is in the microwave. Then we roll up our sleeves and get messy!
The key to these nests is to take your time and not overwork them. Like real birds nests in the wild, these nests are not meant to be perfectly sculpted works of art. They are intended to be messy, adventurous, and delicious. My daughter, for example, likes to see how high she can make the edges of her nest. The obvious strategy is that the higher she sculpts the sides, the more candy she can pack into the middle. My son is two and is still working on fine motor skills so his nests are round balls with a pointer finger smashed down in the middle. Perfection as far as he is concerned, and that is fine with me.
The point is, get in there, get messy, and have fun with your Easter crafts this year.
Chow Mein Egg "Nests"
Children dive for these Easter treats the moment they see them. Make them the day before brunch and fill them with candy eggs right before everyone arrives. They are primarily for the children, but it is not unusual to see adults eating them, too!
Makes 30 Nests
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips ¼ cup creamy peanut butter 1 teaspoon kosher salt 10 ounces chow mein noodles 60 chocolate eggs or jelly bean eggs
1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside. 2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips on high at 30-second intervals for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring well after each interval. Once the chips are melted, stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is completely smooth. Then stir in the kosher salt. 3. Carefully fold in the noodles, being carefully not to break them. Turn the mixture with a spatula until the noodles are completely coated. Use clean hands to pinch off pieces of the mixture and form them into 2-inch rounded mounds. Place the mounds on the prepared baking sheet and use two fingers to press a nest-like indentation into the center of each mount. Place the sheet of nests in the freezer until they have hardened completely, at least 12 hours.
4. To serve, remove the nests from the freezer and fill them with the candy eggs.
Reprinted with permission from The Family Calendar Cookbook © 2015 by Kelsey Banfield, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Kelsey Banfield, a.k.a. The Naptime Chef, is the author of The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year, which will be released on April 28th, 2015 and is available now for pre-order. In it you'll find all sorts of edible crafts, menus for festive occasions, and tips for your family garden. Follow Kelsey on Twitter.
Images courtesy of Kelsey Banfield