It's somewhat ironic that when it came time for the baby shower for one of my pregnant friends - whose "Baby Gender Reveal Cupcakes" I wrote about a while back along with those silly egg-laying pigeons on our balcony in a post I called An Egg in the Nest - that the theme of the shower a couple weekends ago was birds nests. Such a cute theme, and as it turns out, surprisingly easy to incorporate with all kinds of adorable touches.
I'll start this by saying that Katie and Chrissy, who hosted the shower, are two of the most talented ladies when it comes to party planning, and there isn't a single detail they don't think of. From the pretty, hand-made fan flowers on the wall over the dessert table, to the vintage children's books and colored pencils, fresh flower arrangements, and the girly bows, flowers and rhinestones for making headbands for the baby, it was a really lovely party.
So I can't take credit for any of the beautiful details, but I did make a few sweet treats for everyone to enjoy.
The first was a bird's nest cupcake, starting with strawberry cupcakes and cream cheese buttercream. I saw the idea for the bird's nests on the Temp-tations website, and the use of the Chinese noodles was too inspired not to try it, since they look just like little twigs. The dry noodles are mixed into melted chocolate and peanut butter chips, then dropped onto parchment and topped with jelly beans or candy eggs, before hardening in the refrigerator. I never ended up trying one of the nests, but everyone at the party really seemed to love them, especially since they got two treats in one with this cupcake.
And then I made brownie pops, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with toffee, and tied with twine bows in Tani's nursery colors. There was not a single one of those left at the end of the party.
I sure can't wait to meet her little baby girl this fall!
One Year Ago: Checkerboard Melon Salad
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Toffee Puff Pastry Swirls
Bird's Nest Cupcakes
- 2 dozen cupcakes, any flavor, frosted
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 ounces peanut butter chips
- 6 ounces dry chow mien noodles
- jelly beans or candy eggs
Place the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in a heat-proof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; the bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water.
Stirring occasionally, heat the chocolate and peanut butter chips until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Add the dry noodles, and gently stir with a spatula until the noodles are well coated.
Use a spoon to scoop small amounts of the mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use your fingers to shape them into something resembling a bird's nest. Top each with three jelly beans or candy eggs.
Refrigerate to firm the chocolate back up, about 30 minutes to an hour. Top the cupcakes with the nests and serve.
Idea for Bird's Nests from Temp-tations
Brownie Toffee Pops
- One batch of these brownies
- 1 cup buttercream
- 1 bag chocolate candy melts
- lollipop sticks
- toffee bits
Bake the brownies and let them cool for about an hour. For the buttercream, you can use the cappuccino buttercream recipe in the brownie recipe post, but I just used some vanilla buttercream I already had ready.
Break the brownies (they can be slightly warm) into large pieces. Place half the brownies in your food processor. Pulse into crumbs, then add half the buttercream and process until it comes together in almost a thick, dough-like ball. Don't add too much buttercream, or it will be too soft to shape into balls. Finish processing the rest of the brownies and buttercream. Place mixture in a bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until cold and firm.
Shape the mixture into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I made mine a little big, so I got 30 balls, but you may get as many as 40. Refrigerate while you get the chocolate candy melts ready.
Melt some of the candy melts in a microwaveable bowl or jar, according to the instructions on the package. You want the dish to be rather narrow and deep, so that when you dip the balls, they will be submerged in the chocolate. I used a 1-cup glass measuring cup.
Dip the end of one of the lollipop sticks in the melted chocolate, then insert into a brownie ball. Dip in the chocolate, and lightly shake off the excess. Set on the parchment paper and sprinkle with toffee bits before the chocolate sets. Repeat with the rest of the brownie pops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yields 30-40 pops
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen