If there was ever an ever-present Christmas confection during my youth, it was the haystack. Neither lolly nor cookie, this unassuming, almost too easy treat simply has no business being as addictive as it is.
Photos by Claire Lower
Though my family was always awash in church lady-made goodies during December, it wasn't the fudge or divinity that kept me creeping back to the kitchen to replenish my sugar, it was the haystack which - again - barely counts as a lolly. Made with crunchy chow mein noodles, cloying butterscotch chips, and the power of the microwave, these things are almost impossible to mess up.
It's kind of hard to describe what makes them so good. Each of the ingredients, eaten on their own, are not particularly delicious. The noodles are bland, crunchy and slightly salty, and the butterscotch chips are sickly sweet. Mix them together, though, and the noodles absorb just enough of the sweetness with its hit of salt and carby body, while offering a candy-coated crunch that keeps you chomping away. They should not be that good, but they are.
To make them, you need:
- 1 300g bag of bag of butterscotch baking melts
- 200g of crunchy chow mein noodles
Dump the morsels in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them in the microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between. Once the butterscotch is melted and smooth, add the noodles to the bowl and gently stir them in util they're completely coated. Transfer them by the spoonful to baking paper, wax paper, or a silicone baking mat, letting them set until firm.
If you want to get just a little more involved, you can add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, or marshmallows, or even top them with sprinkles (or fancy salt), but I've never needed any of those embellishments, and I don't know that you do either.