Monday, December 24, 2012

Rudolph the Red - Nosed Haystack

Rudolph, you'll go down in history

I don’t know how Santa will feel eating these Rudolph shaped cookies as even I am finding it difficult to bring myself to eat them. I don’t usually toot my own horn, but they’re just too darn cute!

These are also probably the fastest, most festive cookies I’ve ever made. Putting them together was a snap, however fighting my way through the crowd at the grocery store is certainly another post for another time…

My mom has been making these cookies (albeit undecorated) for several years now, so we usually just wing the recipe. Yes! Cookies you don’t need to be a scientist to make! I’m big into cooking, but not into baking so these cookies are just perfect for me.

Some people call these little treats Haystacks, others Bird’s Nests. Normally my vote is for Bird’s Nests because of the chow mein Asian influence. But I think Rudolph may prefer Haystacks.

I don’t have the exact recipe for these little guys, but here is a link to a pretty simple one so you can get a feel for how much you will need of each item. These cookies are only limited by your imagination, so get wild! I’m sure they can be adapted in flavor and shape for almost any occasion. Below is the list of items we used for our cookies this time.

Rudolph Haystacks
· Chow mein crispy noodles
· Butterscotch chips
· Peanut butter
· Semi – sweet Chocolate Chips
· Almond slivers
· Peanut butter m&m’s (red)
· Salt (to taste)

I listed the ingredients in order of how much we used of each item, but unfortunately we forgot to measure the amount of each! You can play around with it to get it to your liking. I find the peanut butter and semi – sweet chips help bring down the intensity of the sugar flavor from the butterscotch. The salt can be omitted as well if you have an item such as the chow mein or almonds that are already salted.

We melted down the butterscotch, peanut butter, and semi chocolate chips in a double broiler until completely smooth. You can do this in a microwave too if you like! Once everything was melted to a beautiful shiny mocha color, we pulled the top pot off the heat to let it cool for a moment. My mom and I then added handfuls of the chow mein until we achieved a consistency that would let the chow mein pieces stick together and still all be coated. We also added the almond slivers in for a special crunch.

Then came the fun part. Most instructions I see to make these say you should use two spoons to drop them onto wax paper. I say that’s fine, but it’s much easier to get the shape you want if you’re not afraid of getting your hands a little dirty. We shaped the little heads and then added the chocolate chips, almond slivers, and red m&m’s to bring these little guys to life. I tried to use the coated chow mein noodles to make little antlers, but I’m not too artistic so they didn’t come out quite right. But maybe next time when I have more time I’ll fiddle with them more because the potential for extra cuteness is there.

And they all have their own personalities!

From start to finish, I would say these took about 30 minutes to make and decorate 2 dozen cookies. Not bad considering how adorable these guys are! And because after the chocolate has been melted, nothing is too hot it’s definitely feasible to get little hands to play around with these.

I’m very proud of these little guys and I can’t wait to share them with friends, family, neighbors, and of course Santa Claus himself!

Merry Christmas to all!

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