My grandma has made these every holiday season as far back as I can remember. As a little girl, I remember how much I absolutely loved them. Aside from their deliciousness, they were kind of like a cross between candy and a cookie and they were so different from the standard Christmas or Easter sugar cookies I was used to seeing everywhere else. Their sweet peanut butter and butterscotch flavor and crunch are nearly irresistible. Growing up, I always assumed that they were tricky or difficult to make, but I was so wrong! It turned out that they’re actually a no-bake confection comprised of only three ingredients, and they couldn’t be simpler to make.
The ease of preparation here makes these a no-brainer anytime you need a crowd-pleasing cookie, not just during the holidays. They’re made of just three ingredients – four if you want to include peanuts, which are totally optional – and they require no oven at all. The key players here are butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and crispy chow mein noodles, which you can find in the international aisle of your grocery store.
The peanut butter and butterscotch chips go into a saucepan over medium-low heat, where they’re quickly melted down until smooth and creamy…
Then you remove the pan from the heat and add the crispy noodles and peanuts…
You stir everything together quickly, so nothing has a chance to set up…
And then drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet covered in wax or parchment paper.
You can leave them out on the counter or pop them into the fridge to harden and set up. And once they do, you’re ready to enjoy these sweet and crunchy treats with abandon. (But at least try to share some of them, okay?)
The chow mein noodles never lose their crispness, and the haystacks are both sweet and nutty, with a subtle background of butterscotch flavor. They’re a quick and easy treat with an utterly satisfying crunch, and I hope you love them just as much as I always have!
Peanut butter haystacks make the most adorable little Easter treats, too. You can just press a little notch into the top as you set it down on the wax paper. Once the peanut butter has had time to set up and harden, drop in some chocolate candy eggs to make a sweet (and edible!) bird’s nest – how cute are these?
Peanut Butter Haystacks
15 minutes active, 30 minutes inactive to prepare serves 8-10
- 1 (11 oz) package butterscotch chips
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 (5 oz) can crispy chow mein noodles
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts (optional)
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt together the butterscotch chips and peanut butter, stirring until smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in chow mein noodles and peanuts (if using), stirring quickly to coat.
- Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto the wax paper. Let cool until set. Enjoy!