Noodle Nests

Who doesn’t love a festive dessert? Better yet – who doesn’t love a festive dessert that requires no baking, comes together in minutes and keeps the kids from fighting for a blissful 10 minutes?

Enter Noodle Nests – salty-sweet little nests made from chow mein noodles and white chocolate chips. I didn’t invent this recipe, but maybe I’m the first one to fill the nests with pastel “M&M’s”® candies? (I swear I’m no longer on the Mars payroll, but – ahem – perhaps I should be?)

The great thing about no-bake treats like these is that you can get right to the fun part – decorating.  You can use anything you like to fill the nests – we opted for Peanut “M&M’s”® (because I couldn’t find any Almond) and JellyBelly jellybeans. Speckled malted milk eggs work well, or for a Martha-chic natural look you could go with unwrapped solid chocolate eggs (i.e., Hershey’s or Dove®).

Noodle Nests

  • 1 10-oz package white chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon (splash) vegetable oil
  • 5 oz. (1 canister) chow mein noodles
  • Candy eggs

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium microwaveable bowl, add white chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until chips have melted and mixture is smooth. (These Trader Joe’s chips took about 1 minute total.) 

Add chow mein noodles and stir gently to coat.

Drop mixture by the spoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets to form nests. If there is any white chocolate mixture left in the bowl, drop that onto the center of the nests to help the candies adhere.

Decorate the nests with candy eggs. Place baking sheets with completed nests in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to solidify. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 18 nests.

No-Bake Pretzel Treats

No time? No problem! In just a few minutes you can whip up a batch of these white chocolate covered pretzels sprinkled with chopped M&M’s® Chocolate Candies. No rolling. No measuring. No baking. No nuts. No sweat. No kidding!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • M&M’s® Milk Chocolate Candies (find red & green by holiday displays)
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • Vegetable oil, such as canola
  • Mini pretzels (I found a big tub of Utz mini holiday shaped pretzels at Wal-Mart)

Place M&M’s® Candies in a large plastic storage bag. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful glossy shell (which took hours and hours to produce); then, smash them gently, respectfully, with a rolling pin or jar.  You want to break the candies into big, colorful pieces – not pulverize them into a gray dust.  Set out at least 2 baking sheets; line with parchment or wax paper if you’d like to make cleanup a little easier. (Who wouldn’t?)

In medium-large bowl, mix chocolate chips with a splash of vegetable oil and melt in a microwave. Do this in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth.  (Microwaves heat differently, and you don’t want to overcook the chocolate.) Throw a few handfuls of mini pretzels into the melted chocolate and stir gently to coat. Using a fork, transfer the coated pretzels to baking sheets, arranging in a single layer. Quickly sprinkle with M&M’s® pieces before chocolate sets.  The thicker the coating of white chocolate, the better the M&M’s® pieces will adhere to the pretzels. Repeat as necessary to use up all the white chocolate.

When chocolate has set, transfer coated pretzels to airtight containers. (You can put the baking sheets in the refrigerator to speed up the set time.)