Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Butterscotch Haystacks

It's not very often I feature a recipe on Take One Cookbook that I know my sister would not only eat, but also enjoy. She's a very particular eater, and perhaps in a long-standing fit of rebellion ("I CAN be different than my sister!"), I eat pretty much anything. Not eel. Never eel. I have eel issues. Eel... :shudder:

But we're not here to talk about eel. Today or ever.

No, today we're here to talk about Farm Journal's Homemade Candy confection section, and specifically, and easy, adaptable, tasty treat that even my sister will eat.
Butterscotch Haystacks
Crisp and sweet and so easy to make

2 (6 oz.) pkgs. butterscotch-flavored morsels
1 1/2 c. salted cashew nuts
1 (5 oz.) can chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch bits in top of double boiler, stirring occasionally to blend.

Meanwhile, combine nuts and chow mein noodles; place in preheated low oven (200°). Add warmed nuts and noodles to melted butterscotch and stir until all are coated.

Quickly drop with a dessert spoon onto waxed paper-lined baking sheet to form little haystacks. If nuts and noodles are warmed, butterscotch will not set until all the stacks are spooned out. Makes 48 haystacks, or about 1 pound.

Note: You can substitute 1 1/2 c. salted peanuts for the cashews, if you wish.
I'm here to tell you, you can do this without nuts altogether. Nuts are fine and all, but there's nothing saying they need to be here. Other than the recipe, mind you. But we're all about informed substitution (and deletion) here at Take One Cookbook. You could also use walnuts, or pecans, or whatever nut you like. Here's my suggestion: A big ol' spoonful of peanut butter, put in with the butterscotch chips when you melt them. Mmmm, nutty taste and no nut chunks to distract from the texture of the chow mein. (I may have been influenced by my big sister in some food preferences, after all.)

Here's an informed substitution I recommend you make whichever side of the nut equation you land on: lose the double boiler. Melt in a microwave-safe glass bowl, 1 minute at first and then in 15 second bursts, stirring between, until all melted. So. much. easier. than using a double boiler.

Besides putting something sweet, nutty, crunchy, and easy on your cookie and candy plate for the holidays, this post is also an introduction to my big sister, Kelly, who has guest blogger credentials for Take One Cookbook. Sometime in the near future, she'll be mining the West Coast family library of cookbooks; I hear she'll start with a boozy book, which makes us all very, very happy, indeed.


  1. heeey! this is my late, Great Aunt Margaret's secret holiday cookie recipe! Throughout the 70s she'd send us a very carefully wrapped box of these in early December & we'd be as parsimonious with them as we could manage, but they never made it till Christmas! She didn't give us the recipe until her health failed & she had to give up her house & thus her kitchen. We wound up feeling a bit cheated when we found out how easy they were to make! They still always manage to get made & shared during the holidays by our extended family. Tastes like childhood Christmas to me!

  2. No eel? Eel is the bacon of the sea!

  3. Eel is NOT the bacon of the sea, Melanie. Nothing is better wrapped in eel. Eel is icky.