NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 28, 2012

Chocolate eggs need a crunchy nest

You'll have no trouble enticing the kids to get involved in this easy and tasty part of Easter prep.

We've combined a blend of crunchy cereals and noodles with a deliciously sticky blend of chocolate, marshmallow and peanut butter to create edible "nests" in which the little ones can store their chocolate eggs and jelly beans, assuming those treats stick around long enough to be stored.

The process is simple — just melt together the butter, marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate, then stir in the dry ingredients. After that, let the children set to work shaping their nests.

Just note — this is a messy project. So, you might want to do it before the kids get into their Easter best. Also, to make it a little less messy, lightly coat the kids' (or your) hands with cooking spray.

The finished nests can be stored in plastic bags at room temperature for up to a week.

CHOCOLATE BUNNY NESTS

Start to finish: 20 minutes (plus cooling time)

Makes 20 small nests

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

10-ounce package mini marshmallows

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate bits

2 cups thin chow mein noodles

11/2 cups square corn cereal, such as Corn Chex

2 cups crispy rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate bits. Stir continuously until completely melted and blended.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chow mein noodles, corn cereal and rice cereal. Allow the mixture to cool until safe to handle.

For small nests, scoop by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet.

For larger nests, use about 1/2 cup. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon (coated with cooking spray) to create an indentation at the center of each mound to form a "nest." Allow to finish cooling until firm.

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