Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chocolate-Filled Bird's Nest Cupcakes



I love having Emma Ramey in the kitchen with me, and she loves it too.  Many nights, she helps me make dinner, whether it's throwing some ingredients in the mixing bowl, stirring a sauce, or even setting the table.  I like to make her feel included in the process.  Is it always easier to have her help?  Not at all... but in the long run, I love that she feels like an important part of the process and that it's something we can do together.

We also like to make special treats together every now and then.  One of my big priorities is to help her establish a healthy relationship with food from an early age.  I want to teach her that food is something that fuels your body... so, a constant diet of healthy, nutrient-rich food is absolutely important, but the occasional treat is OK too!

A few weeks ago, we made these Bird's Nest Cupcakes together.  They were a fun little project and were absolutely delicious!



Here's the recipe!

Ingredients

For cupcakes

1 box fudge cake mix
1 cup milk
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil
Green Icing (I used store-bought, with a flower tip for decorating)

For filling

1 cup chocolate pudding (you could make from mix or buy in snack cups)
6oz  (about 3/4 cup) crushed sandwich cookies

For bird nests

3 cups chow mein noodles
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 (small) pack chocolate egg candies

Directions




Mix together cake mix, milk, eggs, and oil and bake according to cake mix directions.  My recipe made about 24 cupcakes, but you probably won't use them all for this.  Let cool completely.


Once cooled, scoop out center of cupcakes with a spoon.


Mix together pudding and crushed sandwich cookies.  Fill cupcakes with mixture.



Apply icing with decorative tip to just the outside circle of the cupcakes (you'll be placing the nests on top, so no need to ice the center).

Easy way to make chocolate bird's nests


For the nests...

1) Mix together peanut butter and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
2) Microwave in 30 seconds increments, stirring well after each time, until mixture is smooth.
3) Mix in chow mien noodles until chocolate mixture completely coats them.
4) Put plastic wrap over a muffin pan (I just used the one I had from the cupcakes earlier) and spoon chow mien mixture into tins, using your spoon to make an indentation in the middle (to look like a bird's nest).  Refrigerate nests for 30 minutes to an hour.


Place nests on top of completed cupcakes and put 2-3 egg candies in each nest.  The nests will soften a little if left at room temperature, but should not fall apart.


As part of developing a healthy relationship with food, I also want to teach Emma Ramey about the importance of maintaining dental health when eating treats like this one.  Did you know sugar reacts with bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can dissolve minerals from the surface of your teeth?  This is what causes cavities.

We are really emphasizing a solid dental health routine with Emma Ramey.  I think it's crucial to develop positive habits now!  We limit snacking on sweet treats and she brushes twice a day with a cavity-fighting toothpaste.

Aquafresh® toothpaste line of toothpastes protects tooth enamel from the sugar acids caused by everyday foods.  By protecting your tooth enamel, these toothpastes fight off cavities.  There are many different varieties for the many different needs your family might have, including Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Action Toothpaste for a brighter smile and Aquafresh Bubble Mint Paste to make brushing fun for kids!

You can find more info about Aquafresh® toothpaste's line at their website!

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