No Bake Butterscotch Haystacks

By Ann Fulton

Three ingredients are all you need for this salty-sweet, crunchy treat that takes mere minutes to make. No baking required!
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Three ingredients are all you need for this salty-sweet, crunchy treat that takes mere minutes to make. No baking required!

 

Butterscotch Haystacks are, without a doubt, my younger son’s favorite cookie. I always make them over the holidays and he frequently requests them throughout the year. 

When his science class organized a nature-themed bake sale several years ago, I started thinking of the various ways we could have fun with that. But the clever thinker knew exactly what he wanted!

I never would have considered these salty-sweet treats to be nature-related. But a haystack is a haystack. We live in farm country. Why would I not have thought of that?

(We added chocolate pitchforks for good measure, as evidenced by the old photo below the recipe.)

Three ingredients are all you need for this salty-sweet, crunchy treat that takes mere minutes to make. No baking required!

Quick to make with three easy ingredients, the mixture gets dropped onto a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet and left to set up. To make sturdy, well-shaped haystacks, I nudge the pieces lightly while dropping to keep them in compact piles. 

Three ingredients are all you need for this salty-sweet, crunchy treat that takes mere minutes to make. No baking required! 

Salty-sweet Haystacks take minutes to whip up and offer a delightful addition to holiday cookie platters. The irresistibly crunchy cookies are equally perfect for bake sales, cookie swaps, potlucks, and easy desserts any time of year! 

No Bake Butterscotch Haystacks
A longtime holiday favorite in our house, we make these with both ramen noodles and corn flakes. Ramen noodles are a favorite for their extra crunch and the salty-sweet flavor they provide. For a chocolate version, substitute semi-sweet morsels for the butterscotch chips. A handful of salted peanuts may be stirred in for yet another tasty option.

Yield: 2½ to 3 dozen (recipe may easily be doubled)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips
  • ½ cup (128g) peanut butter
  • 1 (5-ounce) can chow mein noodles*
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. Microwave method: In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat the butterscotch chips in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until well blended. Add the chow mein noodles. Toss gently until thoroughly coated.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. The haystacks will firm up as they cool.
  4. Double boiler option: Melt the chips in the pot set over the simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. (Alternatively, you may do it all in the same pot; just be careful not to burn yourself on the hot pot.) Add the chow mein noodles and proceed as above.
Notes

*You may substitute corn flakes if desired. For a gluten-free option, look for gluten-free corn flakes. I have also found gluten-free chow mein noodles, which were quite good.

Helpful hint: The haystacks generally firm up nicely at room temperature. If it’s warm in your kitchen, you may transfer them to the refrigerator to set.

Storage: The cookies may be stored at room temperature, although I like to store them in the refrigerator where they will keep for several weeks…not that they are likely to last that long! The haystacks freeze well, too.

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Recipe first published October 3. 2013

Following is an old photo, with a fun, fall-themed detail:

Three ingredients are all you need for this salty-sweet, crunchy treat that takes mere minutes to make. No baking required!

For a little added fun, we made pitchforks by melting a little chocolate and putting it in a zip-top bag. By snipping a tiny piece off the corner, the chocolate may easily be piped onto wax paper. If the chocolate is too runny once melted, allow it to sit at room temperature, or refrigerate very briefly, until it is slightly firmer and easy to pipe.

 

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Comments

  1. Anne Besterman
    (5/5)

    These are fun, easy, and yummy! I made them for Sunday dinner with the family last week and everyone (adults and kids) loved them! My granddaughter reminded me that we had made these together several years ago … great cooking activity with the kiddos!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I love that your granddaughter remembered making them together, Anne. How special to have a grandmother like you! I’m thrilled they were a hit with all.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Diane, They likely just need time to set. If your kitchen is warm, you could expedite by putting in the refrigerator. The only reason I can think of that the haystacks might be sticky is if too much peanut butter or not enough chips were used. Hopefully that helps. If you have additional questions, please let me know!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Top ramen noodles would be too crunchy, Rosemary. The cracker-like texture of the chow mein noodles is what makes these really good…that and the salty-sweet combination they create.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Good question, but they are different, Valerie. Chow mein noodles are often sold in a 5-ounce can, sometimes a larger bag, and La Choy is a typical brand. They are crunchy, a bit salty, and some people use them on salads as they would use croutons. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. Mary

    Trying to think of something different this year to make for our family get together. I like to have a variety of goodies to nibble on while we are waiting for everyone to get here. Can’t wait till I get these made. I can almost taste them now. Wish me luck, this is the first time I have used the microwave to melt my butterscotch chips.
    HOPE EVERYONE HAS A MERRY CHRISTMAS

    19/12/13

    Reply
  3. Bev

    I made these over 50 years ago with equal amounts of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips with chow mein noodles. So good.

    Reply
  4. Abby

    These are my favorites! I have called your mother in law many times over the years to get the recipe! When Rod and I lived in FL – they were a big hit with our Navy crowd. I’ve always used corn flakes – I’ll need to try it with the chow mein noodles!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      You and Christian, both: ) I started making them with the ramen noodles for the salty-sweet combination and the extra crunch. There was no going back!

      Reply
  5. Nancy Huey

    Looks so yummy. You can also use fiber 1 cereal. We do this in our weight loss support group (TOPS) by using fiber one & semi sweet or dark chocolate chips melted, then mixed with the fiber 1.

    Reply
  6. Pat Schroeder

    Hi Ann, I have made these for years around Christmas. I make them with a bag of butterscotch morsels, a small can of party peanuts and an equal amount of chow mein noodles. Like the crunch of the peanuts. Have a good weekend! Pat

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Love your version, Pat! These are Christian’s favorite cookie so he might be popping over your way for a new twist!

      Reply