So two days ago, on March 11, I was walking around in the glorious sunshine with my coat off. Then I woke up on March 12 (yesterday) to see this.
I love snow, but not really on March 12 anymore. March is when my itch to garden begins, after all.
Well anyway, I had planned to do groceries yesterday, but with the treacherous weather (i.e. snow blowing sideways), I decided to burrow inside for the day. Our food supply was low, especially in the snack department, and that just wouldn't do, especially because Dan had to work last night. The man needs snacks to get through a 12-hour night shift. And hey. I always need snacks.
Normally, I like to bake to supplement our snack supply, but with my grocery shopping plans spoiled yesterday, I didn't even have the basics for baking. No flour. No milk. Limited butter.
But then I remembered a staple treat from my childhood. Chocolate haystacks: hearty little treats full of chocolate, coconut and oats, and not a stitch of flour. And you don't even have to turn on the oven to make them. It's one of the recipes I wrote out before I left home for university, and I still have it. So yesterday, I dug out my beat-up recipe card and got to work.
I had everything I needed to make half a recipe, except for milk. So I improvised by using some Bailey's Irish Cream instead. Tee hee.
The short version recipe is at the end of this post, but I'll walk you through the super easy steps first. Measure out the first five ingredients - butter, cocoa, milk (or lush-like substitute), sugar and vanilla - and put them into a saucepan. Bring the mix up to a boil, stirring regularly. My old recipe says you should let the mixture boil for five minutes, but it depends on your stove I think. Really, you just need to make sure the sugar is well dissolved (I did three minutes).
When you have a nice, chocolatey soup, add your oats and coconut. Despite what the recipe suggests, I think the ratio of oats to coconut is really up to you.
Et voila! After a while, the haystacks will get solid, and you can take them off the parchment and put them into an airtight container to store. They won't stick together.
A note about my boozy experiment . . .
Adding Bailey's to the haystack mix changed the flavour significantly. The irish cream flavour overpowers the chocolate quite a bit, so it's basically like having a different flavoured haystack. I still prefer straight-up chocolate, but if you're a big irish cream fan, you'd probably go mad for this variation on the standard recipe. You should adjust the sugar though. My suggestion would be to use 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 2 (less if you don't like things too sweet).
From a kitchen short on resources, these mini piles of chocolate goodness provided some cozy comfort on a blustery and frigid day. Now that I've rediscovered them, I'll probably make them more often.
Here's the less long-winded version of the recipe . . .
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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