Salty and Tweet Nest
"This is like a giant, gorgeous version of the little chocolate nests I used to make as a child. But the addition of salty pretzel sticks along with the sweet chocolate makes it much more delicious: a real tweet treat."
Ingredients and equipment
(Makes a 20cm tiffin nest, serves 10-12.)
For the tiffin
- 100g butter, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 200g milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 100g large shredded wheat cereal biscuits
- 100g salted pretzel sticks
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Assortment of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs
- Extra pretzel sticks
- Extra chocolate-covered biscuit sticks, such as Mikado
- Chocolate sticks, such as Matchmakers; or chocolate flutes, such as Elizabeth Shaw’s
- 20cm frying pan
- Medium-sized paintbrush
- Take a piece of baking parchment and scrunch it up in your hands, then smooth it out (this makes it easier to manipulate). Use the parchment to line the frying pan.
- Put the butter and golden syrup in a large heavy-based saucepan. Set over a gentle heat and warm, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted.
- Add all the chopped chocolate for the tiffin and stir the mixture until smooth and combined. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Set aside one of the shredded wheat biscuits. Break up the remaining shredded wheat and the pretzel sticks and add these to the saucepan, along with the desiccated coconut. Combine everything gently but thoroughly.
- Transfer the mixture to the lined frying pan, pressing it up the sides with your fingers to produce a hollow nest shape. Refrigerate until set, preferably overnight.
- Remove the nest from the fridge and allow it to return to room temperature.
- Melt the extra chocolate for decorating in a microwave or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie). Break up the reserved shredded wheat biscuit in a bowl. Remove the nest from the frying pan, keeping it on the parchment.
- Using the paintbrush or a pastry brush, paint the melted chocolate over the nest. Scatter over the shreds of shredded wheat and press them on to the surface of the nest so they adhere to the melted chocolate – apply more chocolate if any shredded wheat fails to stick.
- Leave to set before filling the nest with an assortment of chocolate eggs.
If you don’t like coconut, you can use a mixture of salted peanuts and raisins instead. To create an even more realistic-looking nest and provide even more sweet tweets to nibble on, sit the nest in a bed of ‘twigs’ made from extra broken-up pretzel sticks and chocolate sticks or flutes.
Extract taken from Quinntessential Baking by Frances Quinn (Bloomsbury, £25). Photography by Georgia Glynn-Smith.
Frances Quinn’s Salty and Tweet Nest.
Take 100g of butter, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, 200g of dark and 200g of milk chocolate, 100g of large Shredded Wheat, 100g of salted pretzel sticks, 100g of dessicated coconut, and some chocolate eggs.
Put the butter into a saucepan. Add the golden syrup. Heat so that the butter melts. Break up the chocolate into small chunks. Break the pretzel sticks into short lengths. Add the chocolate into the melted butter and syrup and stir until combined.
Break up the Shredded Wheat into small fragments and mix into the melted ingredients with the pretzel sticks and coconut. Mix well.
Take some baking parchment and crumple it up before flattening it out and putting it into a frying pan. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and make your nest, forming a hollow in the middle with your fingers.
Put the pan into the fridge until the chocolate nest has set.
Melt 50g of extra chocolate and break up another Shredded Wheat. Using a pastry brush, paint the extra melted chocolate onto the nest and sprinkle on the extra Shredded Wheat.
Now decorate your nest with small chocolate eggs and extra pretzel sticks.
It’s the perfect treat to enjoy whilst you count the wildlife that’s counting on you.