Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birds Nest Cookies

The clever girl has an Easter party at school tomorrow, and of course I signed up to bring cookies!  I wanted to do something that might look like Easter eggs, and after some brainstorming, I came up with birds nest cookies.  A good friend of mine makes "haystack" cookies for parties, so I took what she does, changed it up a tad, and made it into birds nest cookies!

These are perfect cookies to make with a kiddo.  There is no baking involved, thus no hot oven and no waiting to see the finished product!

First, melt some chips...

I used a combination of dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter chips.  Melt them all together on a double boiler.  Whatever your combination, this makes the "glue" to hold the nest together.

In a large bowl, mix together the "nest".  In most haystack recipes, this is simply chow mein noodles.  On the recommendation of my friend, I added peanuts and shoestring potato chips as well.  I actually used roasted un-salted peanuts, and I think salted ones would be better.  (I just had the unsalted ones on hand...).  The salt in the peanuts and shoestring potato chips gives you that nice salty-sweet combination with the chocolate.  I fixed my salt need later...

Pour the melted chips combination over the nest ingredients and gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

This is when this recipe becomes fun and super messy!  With your hands, scoop out a pile of gooey birds nest and plop it onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment.  I put my parchment on cookie sheets so I could move them around, but if you have a long counter, you could just lay the parchment on the counter and get to it!  Try to form a sort of birds nest shape, i.e. not tall in the middle but somewhat flat.

Here is where the clever girl cracked me up...  This process was WAY too messy for her.  She wanted to have a wet rag next to her to wipe her hands off each time she reached into the bowl!  What a crack up.  And it was SUPER hard to refrain from licking her fingers until I said she could (which was after we finished an entire sheet).  She is something else!  Though at times I appreciate her reluctance to being super messy, there are times when we need to throw that aversion to the wind and make a big mess!!

Place three candy coated eggs of your choosing on each nest.  I used Whopper Mini-Robin's Eggs.  I like the speckles.

When I tasted the birds nest mixture, I found that it didn't hit the salty spot in my mouth as much as I liked.  So, I sprinkled the top of each nest with some fine sea salt.  Perfect!  You could use salted peanuts, or more shoestring potato chips to up the salt flavors as well. 

Let them sit out for a bit to harden, or put them in the refrigerator (if you have room in there)!  It doesn't take long for the chocolate chip mixture to harden and "glue" everything together, so you don't have to be too patient to enjoy these cookies!

Birds Nest Cookies
makes approx. 4 1/2 dozen

24 ounces chocolate chips (I used Ghiardelli dark chocolate)
12 ounces butterscotch chips (I used Guittard chips)
12 ounces peanut butter chips  ( I used Reece's)
18 ounces chow mein noodles (approx.)
2 cups peanuts
2 cans (1.75 oz. each) shoestring potato chips
10 oz. bag (approx.) candy coated mini-egg of your choosing - Whopper Mini Robin's Eggs, peanut M&Ms, jelly beans, etc.

Melt the chips together on a double boiler.  In a large bowl, mix the chow mein noodles, peanuts, and shoestring potato chips together.  When the chips are all melted, pour over the chow mein noodle mixture and gently stir until all "nest" ingredients are coated with chocolate.

Using your hand, scoop out mounds of the chocolatey/noodle mixture and place on parchment or waxed paper.  Shape into a "nest" shape, i.e. somewhat flat in the middle.   Each of my nests were approximately 3 inches in diameter, but you can make them as big or small as you like. 

Place three candy coated eggs atop each nest.

Allow to sit out on the counter or place in refrigerator until set.  The chocolate mixture will harden and act as glue holding the nest together. 

Printable Recipe

This recipe is totally adaptable.  You could use only chocolate and butterscotch chips, only chocolate and peanut butter chips, only chocolate chips, only butterscotch chips, etc.  I wanted the chocolate, butterscotch, and peanut butter flavors (to be honest I just couldn't make up my mind so I decided to do all of them) but wanted the chocolate to be more pronounced so I used twice the chocolate than the butterscotch or peanut butter.  You could also leave the salty flavors out completely and just use chow mein noodles.  You'd probably need more noodles if you went that route.  This recipe would be easy to half as well, if you don't want as many cookies!

I think these will be a hit with the clever girl's classmates!


  1. I love the photo of your sous chef licking her hand! That sold the recipe to me:)


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