The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

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. (Sometimes these are called chow mein noodle cookies.) . 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.

Haystack Recipe

People who grew up with haystacks in their families often have a very specific version that they feel is the real haystack.  I grew up with no such cookie, so I am highly flexible on the definition. You can play around with the type of chocolate you use, from milk to semisweet to dark to…white?  These are chocolate butterscotch haystacks, and call for a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips.   

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

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.

Haystack cookies are excellent in the summertime, when you don’t want to turn on the oven.  But I also love 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.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

Make Ahead Hay Stacks

And I definitely love the fact that these can be made ahead.  Store these in an airtight container in the fridge or at cool room temperature for up to 5 days.  You might want to mark the container “turnip puree” or some other less enticing name if you are trying to keep them safe and sound from the people in your house.

The Best No-Bake Haystack Cookies

More Holiday Cookie Recipe Inspiration!

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
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

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 this is best done in the fridge, though let them sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving).

Video

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

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Comments

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

  2. 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.

    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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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’!!

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