Haystack Recipe

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.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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? 

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

Haystack Variations

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.

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The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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.

Crushing Peanuts for No Bake Haystack Cookies

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.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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.

Christmas Haystack Cookies

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 chocolatey glaze.  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).

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

This easy classic haystack recipe has a combo of butterscotch and chocolate chips, PLUS peanut butter and crushed peanuts.
Yield: 24 Cookies
Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  • 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

Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Comments

  1. Interesting! I’ve never heard of them with chow mein noodles. In my region they are made with shredded coconut and oats. I’ll have to try this variation sometime.

    1. My recipe was stolen. So I am looking up one and this is the first google tossed out. Mine also uses coconut (shredded) and no nuts and more peanut butter. It basically makes fudge at first then adds peanut butter and oats, quick oats, and you drop cookies onto wax paper. I have not made fattening things except for brownies for so long that I do not remember the measurements though. Thanks for the reminder!

    2. I have powdered oars now and I might like that better than the whole oats I have always used before to spare the jaws the chewing . For those with dental issues.

  2. I hide them after I make them and darn it the kids always find them…the kids are 57,34,32 and 30
    Daughter and the Grandkids. They are really good and easy to make.
    Ursula R.

  3. I had recollections of eating these as a kid so I really wanted to love these but no go. My adult kids didn’t care for them either. Might be the type of chow mein noodles we have available but they were hard to drop on the cookie sheet, noodles were too hard to eat. Too messy all around. Good idea though.

  4. just made these for the first time ever! I love them but only ever had them at parties :D One question, should the noodles be broken up before making? I’m hoping my cookies will stick together. lol

    1. they will stick together! if you want them to be sturdier you can break up the noodles a bit, but I like how they look like crazy nests when you leave the noodles longer, though they are a little less super sturdy.

  5. THEse are delicious. But, the choc melts in your hand, not in your mouth. I even put them in the fridge and when I took them out, with in minutes the choc was gooey. What to do?

  6. Hi There! Absolutely loving the new site!! When I saw the picture of these cookies I had to check out the recipe. And they are fab! I never knew they were called Haystack Cookies. We call them Aunt Jane cookies because they were always made by, well, Aunt Jane. I use recipes from the site pretty much every week. Keep ’em comin’!!

  7. We melt one regular pkg of butterscotch morsels in the top of a double boiler, add one cup of whole Spanish peanuts, and one can of chow me in noodles and mix (I just break up the noodles as I add and further crush as I mix. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let harden….soooo easy!

    1. Sorry for the delay – I haven’t had this experience (I mean, yes they are crunchy but not so much so that I wanted them softer!). I might put the cookies in a tin with a piece of bread and sea it up for several hours, or maybe even a day. I’m thinking that since bread helps keep brown sugar soft, and makes hard brown sugar soft again, it might do the trick. If you try it let me know if it works!

    2. I cannot for the life of me get the butterscotch chips to actually melt. My mother used just butterscotch and the chow mein noodles but I have attempted these 4 times to no avail; twice on stove top and twice by microwave? Any suggestions??????

  8. We called these “chocolate covered spiders” when I was a kid. We didn’t add the peanut butter. Keeping the peanuts whole makes it look like spider bodies. Great for Halloween.

  9. The instructions say to add peanut butter to the melted chips, but there’s no peanut butter listed in the ingredients.

    1. Sally it’s there now! the new format of the blog made me drop a line – sorry about that!

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