One of the best things about seasons is the excitement as a spent season rolls over into a brand-new one. While we all have favorites, spring is especially exciting with new life popping up everywhere. Who doesn’t feel their sprits rise with the return of the songbirds and the benevolence of the sunshine? It’s a great time to celebrate! We like to do edible bird’s nests, either as party centerpieces or just for fun springtime décor. They don’t usually last very long, but that is why we make them after all!
There are a lot of options for nest materials. Considering that we use melted chocolate to hold the nest together, it is good to use something salty. Very thin pretzels would work, but we prefer chow mien noodles because they look just like little bent twigs. For a gluten-free option, there are potato sticks.
Our glue is melted chocolate, preferably almond bark because it is formulated to melt very easily and set up again quickly. When working with melted chocolate and children, I find that the sooner it returns to a solid state, the better!
Of course, the nests need eggs. There are many candy eggs available. You can find large speckled jellybeans or Whoppers malted milk robin eggs.
Here is a list of what is needed to make ten sweet bird’s nest treats:
- Small styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons
- 12 oz. bag of chow mein noodles or other nesting material
- 24 oz. package of chocolate almond bark
- Candy eggs
You will also need plenty of paper towels or wet wipes for the inevitable sticky fingers.
The first step is to melt the chocolate. Almond bark does not seize up quickly like some melting chocolates do, but it is wise to stir it often so that you can tell when it is melted and remove it from the heat. If you have a microwave, give it 30 second bursts in a glass bowl, stirring it well until it is pourable and smooth.
Give each child a small Styrofoam bowl and put at least ½ cup of nesting material into the bowl. When the chocolate is ready, pour about 1 ½ tablespoons on top of the chow mien noodles. It doesn’t take much, just enough to hold everything together. Each child can stir their own nests until the chocolate is evenly distributed, then form a dip in the middle for the eggs. At this point, the only thing required is about fifteen minutes of patience until the chocolate is set up and then the eggs can be placed into their hollow.
Styrofoam bowls work really well because it is easy to unmold the nests, although if the nests will be transported home, it is better to leave them in the bowls. And there you have it—a craft you can eat to celebrate the season!
CONTRIBUTOR: Dorcas Peight