Introduction: Candy Bird Nests

About: Most people know me as "the cookie lady" :) , though I've been drawing, painting, sewing, fusing glass, and making other creative things for as long as I can remember. My two dogs and two cats think…

I love making little Candy Bird Nests. The basic candy nests are fun, fast, and simple enough for children to create, but they can also be a very creative and elegant decoration with just a few more steps.

Step 1: Basic Bird Nest Ingredients

Basic Bird’s Nest:
2 cups Chow Mein Noodles
1 cup Light Cocoa Candy Melts (or substitute 1 cup chocolate chips plus 1 tsp shortening)

Basic Nest Fillers:
Egg-shaped candy, jelly beans

Helpful kitchen items:
Microwave or stove
Wax paper or parchment paper
Large spoon
Microwave safe bowl

Step 2: Making the Basic Bird Nest

Make the noodle mix:
1) Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.

2) Combine 1 cup of light cocoa candy melts (or your choice of chocolate chips plus 1 tsp vegetable shortening) in a microwavable bowl and melt it in the microwave for approximately 1 minute. Stir the mixture. If the chocolate hasn’t completely melted, continue microwaving/ stirring in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth when stirring.
(Use a double boiler to melt the cocoa candy or chocolate chip/ shortening combination if you don’t have a microwave)

3 ) Let the mixture cool slightly so that you can touch it without burning your hands, but not enough so that it hardens.
Add 2 cups ( which is about 5 oz.) of chow mein noodles to the bowl and stir gently until they are evenly coated with the melted candy mixture.

Step 3: Make the Basic Nests

Use a large spoon to drop the noodles onto the covered cookie sheet. Shape the warm noodle mixture with your fingers or the large spoon into an oval "nest" shape, complete with with a shallow bowl shaped middle to hold your candy eggs. You should have enough of the noodle mixture to make about a half dozen nests approximately the size of your hand.

Add your favorite type of candy egg to the still-moist nest and put them in the refrigerator to set.
If you’re making candy nests with your children or if you’re whipping up a ton of these for a special occasion, you’re probably pretty happy with the nests just the way they are.…I know my two bird nest experts thought they looked great!

...but if you want more than just the basic bird nest, read on!

Step 4: Add Coconut Grass and Jelly Beans

One cute variation of the basic bird nest is to add coconut "grass" and  swap out your candy eggs for some jelly beans. Add a little marshmallow bird, and you're good to go!

1/2 cup coconut flakes
4-6 drops green food coloring
Marshmallow bird "peep"

Place the coconut flakes in a ziplock bag. Add 2 drops of green food coloring, close the top of the bag, and mix together until the dye is evenly distributed.

Place the coconut into the nest, and add the jelly beans, and a marshmallow bird. Cute!

Step 5: ...but Wait, There's More!

Okay, if you're really into playing with your food or impressing your guests, keep going!

Advanced Birds Nest Additional Ingredients:
1/2 cup vanilla candy melts
1/2 cup light cocoa candy melts
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
Yellow Writing Icing (such as Cake Mate) for the flower center, or use small dabs of yellow-dyed vanilla candy melt
3 or more small fresh leaves from your yard (washed gently with warm water and dish detergent, then dried with a towel)
green food dye, or candy colors (such as Wilton oil-based colors)

Additional Kitchen Items needed:
small craft paintbrush (clean of course)
2 small microwave safe bowls

1. Take your basic bird nest, and fill the center with green coconut grass and egg-shaped candy. These happen to be Cadbury Mini Eggs in the photo.

2. Melt  1/2 cup of light cocoa candy melts in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If not completely melted, microwave for an additional 20-30 seconds until melted and smooth.

3. Add 1/2 cup chow mein noodles to the melted cocoa candy, and stir.  Select a few cocoa candy coated chow mein noodle "branches" to add to your nest, arranging them so that they stick out away from the nest like real branches might.  Let them set until firmly in place or pop your nest into the refrigerator for a few minutes.

4. Melt 1/2 cup vanilla candy melts in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If not completely melted, microwave for an additional 20-30 seconds until melted and smooth.  Add a few drops of green food coloring/ or candy colors and stir.

5.Take a mini marshmallow and gently squeeze it between your thumb and finger until slightly flattened. Using kitchen scissors, cut five small cuts evenly spaced around the radius of the marshmallow, almost into the center of the marshmallow, leaving a small area in the center un-cut.

6. Using the paintbrush, paint  the back of the marshmallow flower with a small amount of melted green vanilla candy, and press it gently onto one of the nest branches.Hold for a second or two until the melted candy cools enough to 'glue' the flower in place. Repeat until you have the arrangement that you like.

7. To make flower buds, simply cut a marshmallow into quarters, add a dab of green vanilla candy to the back of it, and press it into place on a branch.

8. For the flower centers, place a drop of yellow Writing Icing in the center of each marshmallow flower. You can also make your own yellow flower center by melting a small amount of white vanilla candy and adding a drop of yellow food coloring. Stir, and use your paintbrush to dab into the marshmallow flower centers.

Step 6: Finishing the Nest With Green Leaves

9. Using a paint brush, thickly coat the backs of your fresh leaves with the melted green vanilla candy, and pop them into the freezer for 2 minutes to harden.

10. Remove the leaves from the freezer. Peel the fresh leaf away from the green vanilla candy-coated leaf, and dab a small amount of the remaining melted green or cocoa candy onto one end of the leaf, and press the melted end  gently onto one of the nest branches. Repeat until you have the arrangement that you like.

Voila!!! You have just completed making "Advanced Birds Nests"! 

These are best eaten the same day, or you could arrange them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover them with plastic wrap, and keep them for 2-3 days.

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