Yes, I’m prejudiced – and judgemental. How does a person pass up a chocolate dessert? Or an offer to bake something with chocolate in it? It’s a mystery to my chocolate-coated brain. Perhaps these people were dropped on their heads as infants. (No wait, I never dropped my middle child and he prefers vanilla.) OK, I’ll show tolerance, even if I cannot embrace understanding…for the sake of world peace.
This leads me to explain why I made another baked item that contained no chocolate.
In January, I pledged to bake six times as part of a fund raiser for my church. It was a fun auction and the winners paid $275, so I try to do my best work, which is play for me. I lent them a book of cookie recipes I rarely use to encourage my brain to try new items. I dreamed of being up to my elbows in dark chocolate chips, dreamy double chocolate dough, or fudgy frostings. But they chose no chocolate! Can you imagine? They seem like nice, normal people, so I’ll let the “no chocolate” quirk slide – this time. Crispy Caramel Haystacks were their fifth pick. The others have all been chocolate free.
Crispy Caramel Haystacks are very gooey, sticky little treats that are similar to a Ting-a-ling. Make them in two steps and work quickly.
They are from “500 Best Cookies, Bars and Squares,” by Esther Brody. (Don’t you wonder how many cookies she tried and tasted to find the 500 best? And she has several other cookbooks out. This is a lady who loves to bake!)
Ingredients for about 24 haystacks
2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
3 TBS butter
2 cups chow mein noodles
12 caramels – unwrapped (Duh Clare!)
1 TBS water
2 TBS peanut butter
Line a baking sheet with wax paper – or use butter to grease a baking sheet.
In a large saucepan, over very low heat, melt the marshmallows and butter. Stir constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.
Add chow mein noodles and mix until evenly coated.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the wax paper. (If the mixture sets up too quickly, put it back on a very low burner for a minute.)
Melt the caramels, water and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth.
Drizzle caramel mixture over the haystacks. Actually, it’s more like plop the caramels on the top of the stacks.
Refrigerate until firm.
This sticky-sweet treat will be one caramel lovers will adore. The crunchy chow mein noodle base makes for a very satisfying chewy treat. As for me, next time I’ll dip them in chocolate.