I was so curious about haystack cookies for the longest time. No bake cookies are genius, but the idea of chow mein noodles in them? Crazy. Haystacks are one of the quintessential no-bake cookies in the cookie lexicon, and for very good reason – they are delicious, easy and they offer up such great crunch.
What Are Haystack Cookies Made Of?
People who grew up with haystacks in their families often have a very specific version that they feel is the real haystack. At their core, the ingredients are chow mein noodles, some kind of chocolate or other flavored meltable morsels, often peanut butter, and then some add-ins, such as peanuts, marshmallows or pretzels . Sometime these are called chow mein cookies. This is a chocolate butterscotch haystacks recipe, and call for a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips.
As far as the chocolate goes, you can play around with the type of chocolate you use, from milk to semisweet to dark to…white?
I can’t wait to make haystacks with a mixture of peanut butter chips and chocolate next time (have you seen the bag of chips that comes mixed, chocolate and peanut butter? genius.). You could also try these with all chocolate (chocolate haystacks!) or all butterscotch (butterscotch haystacks!) for different flavor twist. Haystacks recipes were meant to be tinkered with, I think.
These classic no-bake cookies are delicious, easy and they offer up such great crunch.Tweet This
And you could also use crushed pretzels along with or instead of the cocktail peanuts. Coconut, mini marshmallows, other nuts, and various cereals are other possible add-ins. Haystack recipes are pretty flexible, and a fun way to customize a cookie.
To crush peanuts, place them in a sturdy zipper-top bag, press the air out of it, seal it, and whack it with a rolling pin, or a mallet, or anything that is heavy and can stand to be thwacked against a bag of peanuts. Don’t crush them into a powder, you want some texture.
You could also pulse them in a food processor, but the first way is more fun (and the kids will love it – encouraged thwacking? With a stick or a mallet? It’s Christmas in July, or whatever month you’re in). This also works for pretzels, but you want to be a bit less zealous with the pounding.
Haystack cookies are excellent in the summertime, when you don’t want to turn on the oven. But everyone loves these during the holidays when the ovens are occupied with miscellaneous roasts and side dishes. And in a tin of various holiday or Christmas cookies they have such a nice distinctive look, with the spiky texture and chocolaty glaze. Also try these Peppermint Bark Haystack Cookies! In a cookie assort, these are often the first to go.
How to Make Haystack Cookies
Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips in the microwave, a double boiler or make an easy double boiler by placing a bowl in a pot with some water in it. Stir in the peanut butter until well combined.
Combine the noodles and the cocktail peanuts in a large bowl. Pour the butterscotch-peanut butter mixture over and stir to combine.
Drop the mixture by tablespoons onto a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. This recipe makes about 24 cookies. Allow to firm up (you can speed this up in the fridge if desired).
How to Store Hay Stack Cookies
We definitely love the fact that these no bake haystack cookies can be made ahead. Store these in an airtight container in the fridge or at cool room temperature for up to 10 days. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature before serving.
More Holiday Cookie Recipes!
- Big Chewy Brownie Cookies with Dried Cherries and White Chocolate Chips
- Chewy Molasses Cookies
- My New Favorite Oatmeal Cookies
- Chocolate, Peanut and Pretzel No-Bake Haystack Cookies (another haystack recipe!)
- Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Nut-Free Snowball Cookies
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The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter crunchy or smooth
- 1 6-ounce package chow mein noodles (3 ½ cups)
- 1 cup cocktail peanuts unsalted or lightly salted, lightly crushed (see recipe intro)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
- Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler (If you don’t have a double boiler you can make one by nestling a metal or heatproof glass bowl over a pot with a bit of water in the bottom – bring the water to a boil, and stir the chips frequently until they melt). If using the microwave, heat for 30 seconds, then stop and give the chips a stir, and stop and stir every 15 seconds until they are melted. Stir in the peanut butter until well combined.
- Combine the noodles and the cocktail peanuts in a large bowl. Pour the butterscotch-peanut butter mixture over and stir to combine.
- Drop the mixture by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow to set; in warmer months or when the kitchen is warm, this is best done in the fridge. Do let them sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.