No Bake Chocolate Haystacks
Chocolate Haystacks are no-bake and so delicious! You’ll have a tasty treat in no time.
Chocolate Haystacks were a common staple tasty treat throughout my childhood. It was one of the earliest “cookies” I learned to make on my own. Naturally, that meant deep diving into the world of haystack recipes to learn how my childhood recipe compared to others.
First, the classification of a “haystack” cookie has two interpretations. One being a mixture of either coconut or peanut butter formed with rolled oats. The other replacing the rolled oats with Chow Mein noodles. Depending on how you choose to look at actual haystacks, the resemblance is there for both versions of this cookie. Even though, there are two variations of this cookie we focused on examining only the cookies made with rolled oats since this was the version I knew already.
Surprisingly enough, all but one recipe we examined started with the base of 3 cups of rolled oats, ½ cup of butter, and ½ cup of milk. The rest of the ingredients is where the variances could be seen. The cocoa powder to oats ratio ranged anywhere from 4% all the way up to 17%. The main factor that influenced this decision was whether or not the flavoring of the cookie also included coconut or peanut butter. The ones with coconut always had a higher ratio of cocoa powder, whereas the ones with peanut butter always had a lower amount. This allows for the flavor to be more focused on peanut butter rather than solely chocolate. While on the other hand, coconut is less common of a focused flavoring and instead compliments the cocoa versus overpowering it. My childhood version included both coconut and peanut butter, which we did not find a single other one that had both, only one or the other. Since this was already a unique take already, we kept both coconut and peanut butter in the mix and aimed for a middle ground ratio of cocoa powder.
A common addition to the haystack base was an average of 2 cups of granulated sugar. There was not a single recipe that included brown sugar. We decided to evenly split the required sugar to 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Brown sugar rounds out the overall flavor profile and truly deepens the flavors.
One of the other surprising finds was that not a single recipe included any sort of added salt. Yes, even though peanut butter and depending on the type of butter you used could be a source of salt, we decided to add just ¼ tsp to further enhance the flavors just slightly. We also made the decision to mix in pretzel crumbles into the mixture; something not featured in any version. The main goal of this was to add further texture to these cookies (and give a callout to the haystack counterpart that uses crunchy Chow Mein noodles) and another source of saltiness.
These chocolate haystacks are packed with flavor and can be made in so little time! We would love to hear how yours turned out!