After a long winter, there is something so exciting about the prospect of spring. And there’s no mistaking when it’s finally here: vibrant green colors begin to peek from the ground, buds and blossoms burst from the trees, while new birds sing choruses proclaiming the arrival of warm weather and sunshine.
To welcome spring, there’s no better way than with a little icon of this time of year: bird nests! The cute, edible, chocolate pretzel kind of nest, that is 🙂 This recipe for homemade Chocolate Pretzel Nests is so easy – yet impressively realistic – and are perfect for holidays like Easter to party favors at a wedding or baby shower. Whether embracing the season or to honor someone special, these homemade treats are guaranteed to help celebrate a new beginning ahead!
Chocolate Pretzel Nests
Yield: 24 nests
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
3 c. pretzel sticks, broken into 1-inch / 2.5-cm sized pieces
8 oz. / 225 g. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch / 1-cm sized pieces*
72 chocolate malt eggs
1) Line a sheet tray with parchment or wax paper and reserve.
2) In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate by microwaving in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until most of the chocolate has melted (but a few solid pieces are still visible).
3) Stir the chocolate until the remaining pieces have melted, and, using a thermometer, verify the chocolate has reached 115 F / 46 C (if it is under, microwave in 10 second intervals until it is).
4) Add a few small pieces of solid chocolate to the mixture and stir until melted, keeping an eye on the thermometer, until the temperature cools down to 90 F / 32 C.*
5) Stir in the pretzels, ensuring each stick is evenly coated.
6) Moving quickly, place 1/4 cup-sized scoops of the mixture onto the prepared sheet tray, about a 1-inch / 2.5-cm apart .
7) Gently press 3 malt eggs into the center of each scoop.
8) Allow the nests to cool completely at room temperature until the chocolate has hardened and set (about 30-40 minutes).
9) Store in an air-tight container kept in a dark, dry place until ready to enjoy (but avoid the refrigerator as it will affect the tempered chocolate). If properly stored, these treats should stay fresh for up to a month.
* Chef’s Tip: Chocolate tempering is essential if you want to ensure the chocolate hardens properly once it’s been melted. A simple tool that will help is a chocolate thermometer (which retails for less than $10 online or in cookware stores). For an excellent tutorial on tempering, check out this great post by Sugar Hero. If tempering is not your thing, try using an alternative to chocolate, such as candy melts like these (and follow the instruction on the packaging for melting). While they will have a different flavor than chocolate, it’s a great, fail-proof way to create a similar result.
For ease of portability, place a doily under each nest. If gifting as a party favor, wrap each nest in a clear cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. For a themed celebration like a baby or wedding shower, choose a color for the malt eggs that is related to the occasion (i.e. for a baby shower, use blue or pink eggs if you know the gender, and for a wedding, use the bride & groom’s wedding color). Store in a dark, dry place until ready to enjoy.