Jelly beans joined the candy aisle in the 1930s, and their egglike shape gave them a natural association with Easter. 

Naturally, eggs need a nest. And the kids might need a Spring Break activity. 

Here's an idea that the Associated Press shared a couple of years ago — a blend of crunchy cereals and noodles with a deliciously sticky blend of chocolate, marshmallow and peanut butter to create edible "nests" in which the kiddos can store jelly beans (assuming those treats stick around long enough to be stored).

The process is simple — just melt together the butter, marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate, then stir in the dry ingredients. After that, let the children set to work shaping their nests.

Just note — this is a messy project. To make it a little less messy, lightly coat the kids' (or your) hands with cooking spray.

The finished nests can be stored in plastic bags at room temperature for up to a week.

Chocolate Bunny Nests

Start to finish: 20 minutes (plus cooling time)

Makes 20 small nests

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10-ounce package mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate bits
  • 2 cups thin chow mein noodles
  • 1½ cups square corn cereal, such as Corn Chex
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate bits. Stir continuously until completely melted and blended.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chow mein noodles, corn cereal and rice cereal. Allow the mixture to cool until safe to handle.

For small nests, scoop by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet. For larger nests, use about 1/2 cup. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon (coated with cooking spray) to create an indentation at the center of each mound to form a "nest." Allow to finish cooling until firm.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 180 calories; 80 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 105 mg sodium.

Source: Alison Ladman, The Associated Press, 2012