Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests Recipe

We’ve made Chocolate Birds Nests in the past, but this year we changed it up…. by adding Nutella!

These Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests were a lot of fun to make with my girls.  It gets them in the kitchen with a combination of cooking and crafting.

And we also picked up a little Edible Grass this time around.  It’s easy to snip into bite-sized pieces with kitchen shears and adds a nice visual touch, but it isn’t necessary if you’re having a tough time finding it.  (And I picked mine up for half off after Easter – since these can be a fun treat all season long.)

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests 2

All our ingredients gathered and ready to go….

Since there is no actually baking involved, it’s mostly mixing and shaping and decorating, once the chocolate chips are melted.

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests 3

Melt the chocolate at half power, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.

Then stir in the Nutella.

(And, yes, my kids are wearing superhero costumes while we cook.  That’s how we roll at our place.)

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests 4

I slowly poured in the noodles while they stirred.

Make sure all the noodles get covered in the chocolate mixture, because that is the glue that holds everything together.

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests 5

Spray some nonstick baking spray in the muffin tins and scoop in some of the chocolate noodles.

You want to be able to shape them into nests with your fingers, so with a small indention in the center, or at least flat as opposed to hill-shaped.  If it’s too bumpy and you’re having trouble flattening it, just take some out.

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests 6

Put three eggs in the center of the nest and sprinkle a little edible grass over top, if you like.

You can see that my kids also added a few of the confetti-like bunnies that came with the edible grass.

This recipe makes 24 nests, but if that’s just too much for you, you could half the recipe.  Or share with all the neighbors.

When you first make them, the nests will be gooey and will fall apart if you try to pick them up.  They are still okay to eat, especially for anxious kids who want to try their creations, but they’re much easier to eat if you let the chocolate set first.

Put the pans in the fridge for an hour or so to help the chocolate set (because if you live in a humid place like me, that would take forever at room temperature), and then scoop them out with a spoon.  Preferably a plastic spoon so you don’t scratch the metal.

Store them in covered containers, using waxed paper to separate stacked layers.

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Chocolate Nutella Birds Nests

Ingredients:

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup Nutella
12 oz. chow mein noodles
72 candy-coated malted milk chocolate eggs (I used Whoppers Robin Eggs)
Edible Grass, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)

Melt the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl at half power, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.  Stir in the Nutella.

Pour the noodles into the chocolate mixture and stir gently until they are all fully coated.

Spray 24 muffin tins with nonstick baking spray and scoop a spoonful of the noodle mix into each tin.  Move the noodles with a spoon or your fingers so that they are shaped like a nest.

Place 3 chocolate eggs in the center of your nest while the chocolate is still slightly melted.  Sprinkle a little edible grass over the top, if desired.

Put the nests in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the chocolate to set.  Remove from the muffin tins with the help of a spoon.

Store in a closed container in the fridge, using waxed or parchment paper to separate stacked layers.

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And here’s the free printable PDF of the recipe:

Nutella Chocolate Birds Nests

Happy Eating!

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Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Annnnnd….. now that it’s almost Easter, I’ve noticed that I’ve completely forgotten to post our St. Paddy’s Day dessert.  So here it is!  ;)

We made these Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Bars based off of the Lemon Cheesecake Bars that I love so much.  But we made these green (and mint) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

They were a hit with both my kids and my coworkers, so I may try other variations in the future, since the recipe is flexible.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 2

The ingredients are pretty easy to pull together, especially if you already happen to have cream cheese on hand.

The base for it is a box of cake mix, which makes it a speedy dish to throw together.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 3

The crust will seem a little dry at first, but massaging the ingredients together will help.

If your kids like to get messy, this is a great job for them to help with.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 4

You’ll reserve some of the mix for the crumbles that go over the top, but the rest gets pressed into the bottom of the pan.  This is also a good task for little hands.

The crust will seem very thin but don’t worry, it will rise a little as it bakes.  Just be sure you spread it out to cover the entire bottom surface of the pan.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 5

I add the food coloring to the cheesecake ingredients before blending, so the mixer brings it all together evenly.

The more you use the deeper the color will be.  I was going for bright and bold because it was a themed dessert for St. Patrick’s Day, but if you’re going for a subtler minty look, start with only a little color.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 6

You can see tiny chunks of cream cheese in my cheesecake mixture because it wasn’t fully at room temperature when I mixed it.

This is okay, though.  It will still bake up just fine.

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 7

Sprinkle the crumbles over the top for a fun look.  They also add a nice texture to the finished dessert.

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You can technically cut them into any shape you’d like, but I favor the rectangles.  I cut it twice lengthwise, and then cut those three rows into pieces about an inch thick.

This gives me 30 pieces, which makes it a great recipe for sharing!

Don’t eat these when they first come out of the oven and are still warm – chill them for the best results.  They can be enjoyed at room temperature too, but because of the cream cheese, you’ll want to be sure to store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix (15 to 18 oz.)
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring, gel or liquid

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

In one bowl, combine the cake mix, one egg, and the vegetable oil.  You may need to use your fingers to help it all come together.

Spray a 13” x 9” baking pan with nonstick spray.  Reserve about 3/4 cup of the chocolate crumb mixture for later use, and press the remaining batter into the pan.  It will be thin but should cover the entire bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Then mix in the other egg, the sugar, extract, and a little food coloring.  Beat until smooth, adding more food coloring if needed until you reach your desired color.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate crust in the pan.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over the cream cheese.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with dry crumbs.  Cool on a baking rack until it reaches room temperature, then slice.  Make two cuts lengthwise and then cut into ten pieces across to make 30 pieces that measure approximately one by three inches.  Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving for best results.

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For the free printable PDF version of this recipe, click the link below:

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Happy Baking!

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Spider Web Peppermint Patties

spider-web-halloween-peppermint-patties-1

I am enchanted by these Spider Web Peppermint Patties!

Seriously easy and super cute Halloween treats are my favorite.  Like my Vampire Donuts or Oreo Ghosts or Jack O’ Lantern Cinnamon Buns.

And these are in that vein.  (Is that a Halloween pun??)

Candy plus icing, and done.

I used peppermint extract to flavor the icing, which was nice with the peppermint candy, but you could also use vanilla.

Spider Web Halloween Peppermint Patties

I made icing with a scoop of powdered sugar, a sprinkle of meringue powder, a dash of peppermint extract, and a splash of water.

(You can see the actual recipe on my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies, but here I used peppermint extract instead of almond.)

I put the icing in a baggy, snipped off the end, and drew the webs with the icing on top of the York Peppermint Patties.  I drew an asterisk, then made a swishy circle in the shape of a spider web.

I lost the plastic spider-shaped rings I thought I had, which would have looked cute in the photos, but the candy still looked good.  And the kids were super happy!

Happy Halloween Snacking!

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Polka Dot Peanut Butter Bananas

polka dot peanut butter bananas

I gotta tell ya . . . ever since I was a kid, I could just never get into Ants on a Log.

You know those things where people spread peanut butter over pieces of celery and dot the peanut butter with raisins meant to resemble little bugs?

Yeah.  I can’t stand celery.

It’s one of those things that I do – very, very occasionally – cook with.  Like in soups.  BUT, I dice up the celery super small and use less than what’s called for.

In other words, if I don’t like the taste and texture of something, I’m not going to eat it as a “snack.”

So, especially considering that I’m not a huge raisin fan either, Ants on a Log was never a thing for me.

Until now.

See, bananas I like.  And combine them with peanut butter and chocolate chips, and BOOM:  super awesome.

Seriously.  The combo kind of tastes like cookies or cheesecake.  It’s like a dessert, but in a slightly healthy snack.  Well, it’s fruit anyway.  And you could use any type of nut or seed butter.

Best part?  The kids can make these treats themselves.

I went ahead and sliced the bananas in half and then in half again (to make four quarters out of one banana, which was easier for their little hands to hold), but then I gave them plastic knives to scoop and spread the peanut butter, and I put out a little dish of chocolate chips for them to stick in the peanut butter.

So it was interactive for them and they got to eat something they made.

Ridiculously simple and ridiculously good.

Happy Eating!

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Grobswitchy Cake: a BFG Recipe from Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's The BFG Grobswitchy Cake

We read The BFG by Roald Dahl recently and my kids LOVED it.

It may have been a bit of a trogglehumper to gobblefunk around with some of those propsposterous words – especially at bedtime when my coffee has long worn off – but it was SO worth it!  It was totally whoopsey-splunkers to see my girls burst into fits of laughter worthy of a big friendly giant.

And then, after reading the novel, we took a look at Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting Recipes (which is a sequel to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes), and decided to make the Grobswitchy Cake featured in the book, with just a few small changes.

We wound up using walnuts, because my oldest daughter loves them, and we traded out the amber crystals they suggested to use as grobswitches for Cake Mate’s Gold Sugar Cupcake Gems. 

Roald Dahl's The BFG Grobswitchy Cake 2

Now, I don’t know exactly what we did wrong, since baking with two kids can be … distracting … but somehow we had too much batter for our little pan.  I put it in the oven like that anyway, but with some foil below it to catch the drippings.

(And – just FYI – dripped cake is actually kinda fabulous.)

It’s a pretty typical coffee cake recipe, but with a really beautiful sentiment, since it references how the BFG mixes up dreams:

“It is a little bit like mixing a cake,”the BFG said. “If you is putting the right amounts of all the different things into it, you is making the cake come out any way you want, sugary, splongy curranty, Christmassy or grobswitchy. It is the same with dreams.”

And to explore the story a little more, I suggest stopping by Roald Dahl’s official website.

Happy Baking!

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Zebra Zoo Cookies

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Aren’t these CUTE???

I didn’t come up with the idea all on my own – I have my daughter’s last years preschool teachers to thank for it!  At the end of the school year, they sent home a “cookbook” of all the recipes they’d made.  My daughter was excited to flip through it and I let her pick out which recipe she’d like to remake first.

She picked the Zebra Zoos.

Now, they actually did theirs a little differently, so this is my version.

Below are all our store-bought ingredients that make this super simple to set up.  It’s the type of project where you can buy everything ahead of time and stick all the stuff in the back of the pantry until a rainy day.

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

You’ll need:

Graham Crackers

Vanilla Cake Icing

Animal Cracker Cookies

Black Candy Melts OR Chocolate Chips

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

The first step is to spread the icing over the graham crackers.

You don’t need a lot.  And you don’t need your Little Ones overdosing on sugar, so you may need to gently offer to help them smooth it out a bit.  :)

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Melt the candy melts in the microwave according to the package directions within a small baggy (preferably freezer weight), then snip the corner off to drizzle the candy back and forth over the white icing.

This will make the appearance of the zebra stripes, which is where the treat gets its name.

Why did I use candy melts instead of chocolate chips?

First of all:  the black candy melts are darker than the chocolate chips.  Black instead of brown, so more zebra-like.  Also, I wanted the flavor of them to match the icing.  The candy melts have a vanilla flavor, like white chocolate.

[hint:  you can usually buy the candy melts at Michaels with a coupon.]

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Then attach a few cookies by pressing them into the black candy melt stripes before the stripes have a chance to set.  (So, right after you draw on the stripes.)

Then enjoy!

Oh….. and it would behoove you to remember to coat your workspace with waxed or parchment paper first.  Just sayin’.

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Spinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies

Don’t those look deliciously fun?

Seriously, these sprinkle cookies were a super easy way to give my girls a fun project in the kitchen.

First of all, they love sprinkles.  LOVE.  Them.

So when I put tiny paper plates full of colorful sprinkles in front of them, there were many squeals of joy.

Making Sprinkle Cookies With The Kids!

We used a box cookie mix for this {thanks to Publix BOGO}.

So it was just a basic sugar cookie and piles of whatever sprinkles we had in the pantry.

The girls rolled the cookies in the sprinkles, creating wonderfully colorful cookies, and we baked them according to the package directions.

Sprinkle Cookies

Look at how pretty they were even before baking:  like little sparkly jewels!

They certainly made movie night even more exciting.  :)

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