Big Batch Meat Sauce – Serve Some Tonight and Freeze the Rest

Make up a big pot of bold, hearty meat sauce to satisfy the hungriest appetites – a wonderful recipe to have in your cooking repertoire. This recipe makes enough to serve a crowd or to freeze ahead in batches for busy nights.

a bpwl of pasta with big batch meat sauce

I have a problem.

I just cannot cook a meal for less than six people – it is impossible for me. No matter how hard I try, the food just seems to grow and multiply in the pot until I’ve got a cauldron full to feed a crowd.

I guess it comes from years of cooking for a family of six people, two of which were growing teenage boys (massive meat eaters), plus a husband who likes to take leftovers for his lunch.

Even now, with only one teenage boy home for the summer, I still have to cook for six large appetites – three of us at the table, but the teenager eats for two, then both he and Raymond need leftovers for lunch (when you need to eat gluten-free, leftovers are just a much simpler option than trying to make sandwiches), so there go six (or more) servings, especially when meat is involved. What is it with men and their affinity for big meaty meals? (I could happily eat much less meat.)

So, I just give in and go with the flow. Cooking for 6 to 12 at a time it is.

(Plus, leftovers and meals stashed in the freezer make my life so much simpler).

big pot of big batch meat sauce

Like the dowdy cousin with the crackerjack personality, this hearty meat sauce may not be especially pretty to look at, but it is robust and meaty and loaded with flavour. It’s not too spicy – you can amp up the cayenne if you’d like it spicier. The glug of wine and hint of nutmeg add a subtle complexity and richness. This sauce doesn’t have the intense tomatoey redness of a typical tomato-based pasta sauce – tomatoes only play a supporting role here. Since the colour is mainly brown it’s not too exciting to photograph, but it sure wins rave reviews from all the meat-lovers in this household. And I love the fact that it’s a big batch meal – you cook once and have enough meat sauce for several family meals to stash in the freezer.

Meat sauce makes a great dish to take along camping or to have in the freezer for summer get-togethers or unexpected company. All you need to do is cook up some pasta to go with it, and maybe a green salad on the side. Or serve the sauce over buns, kinda like a meaty version of Sloppy Joes, or serve it over a big plate of spiralized zucchini noodles. Or make a pasta bake – mix up some meat sauce with cooked pasta, cover it with lots of shredded cheese and bake it til heated through and the cheese is browned in spots and bubbling.

When you invite this cousin to dinner, you know it’ll turn into a great party!

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Using a mix of ground meats makes a richer, more complex flavour for this meat sauce. Use at least two different varieties, three if you can.

If you don’t have red wine, use white, or replace the wine with beef stock plus 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar, if you prefer.

Drop tablespoons of leftover tomato paste onto wax paper and freeze, then store in a zip-top baggie in the freezer to use for other dishes.

big batch meat sauce

Big Batch Meat Sauce

  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 3 large onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 pound (454gms) ground beef, bison, or wild meat
  • 1 pound (454gms) ground pork or lamb
  • 1 pound (454gms) ground chicken, turkey, or veal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 large can (28oz/796ml) diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) tomato paste
  • ½ cup (120ml) finely chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.

Cut the onions into large chunks, then use a food processor or mini chopper to chop them finely, together with the garlic (in batches, if necessary). Pulse carefully so they don’t turn to mush.

Saute the chopped onions and garlic in the oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Cut the carrots and celery into chunks and chop them finely in the food processor, too, in separate batches. Add the chopped vegetables to the onions and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the sauteed vegetables to a bowl. Don’t clean the pot, and add the ground meats. Cook them, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps, until all the meat is browned, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, oregano, nutmeg and cayenne. Return the sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add the bay leaves, wine, and canned tomatoes with their juices. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the tomato paste, and raise the heat slightly. Cook the meat sauce uncovered, for 15 more minutes, until it thickens slightly.

Stir in the chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

Serve over pasta, garnished with additional fresh parsley and shaved parmesan cheese if you wish. This sauce tastes even better when allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight and reheated the next day.

To freeze: Let the meat sauce cool, then divide it into smaller portions and pack it into freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Makes 13 to 14 cups meat sauce, serving 12 to 14.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

You might also like:

Pasta Sauce with Sardines and Capers

3-Ingredient Pasta Sauce – Simple and Delicious

Cooking with Kids: Simple Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Spiders

Spaghetti ‘Herbonara’

Posted in Meats, Pasta | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Bark or Mendiants – Take Your Pick

Take chocolate bark to new gourmet heights by adding a wide array of tempting toppings, from fun and spunky, to healthy hippy, to irresistibly exotic.

a cascade of chocolate bark

What is it about chocolate that makes it such a universally beloved food? No matter if you’re stressed, tired, or sad, or chilling-out, happy, or celebrating – chocolate is the answer. One mouthful of that addictively sweet (or sublimely bitter) confection can make everything right with the world – or at least a whole lot better!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

six variations of chocolate bark

If you want an easy, no-cook treat for summer entertaining, look no further than chocolate. Show up at any party or barbecue with a tray of fun chocolate bark chunks and you’ll be everyone’s instant friend. You can personalize the toppings to your taste (or just use up what’s in your cupboard). What could be easier than melting a handful of good quality chocolate, spreading it out, and sprinkling it with crispy, crunchy, nutty bits and pieces? Let it set for a bit, and break into nibble-sized bites. Even kids are happy to help.

Pour milk chocolate for chocolate bark swirling all kinds of chocolate for chocolate bark

Meredith helped make a couple batches. Just for fun, we swirled the different kinds of chocolate together. She loved making a fully loaded version of milk chocolate bark (below, left) with homemade sprinkles, pretzel bits, sunflower seeds, crunchy toffee bits, and mini m&m candies.

trio of chocolate barks - fully loaded, cranberry almond, and healthy hit

left – fully loaded, center – cranberry, almond, orange peel, cacao nibs, right – pumpkin seed, goji berry, bee pollen

We couldn’t decide which flavour combination was our favourite – everyone had a different one. (The dark chocolate with bacon, pecans, toffee bits, and coffee beans got quite a few votes, though, because it was so interesting.)

white and dark chocolate bark

If you want to be even more elegant, make your chocolate bark into individual rounds. Stud them with dried fruits and nuts – a variation on the traditional French mendiants served at Christmas, but really just as wonderful any time of year. Simple and classic is always in season. Mendiants are an easy make-ahead and just the right touch if you’d like to serve a little something sweet, but not too heavy, after a special dinner.

Or even after a casual barbecue.

dark chocolate mendiants with dried fruits and nuts

dark chocolate mendiants are an elegant little nibble to finish any meal

 

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Start out with the best quality chocolate you can get, whether it’s milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate. (The bulk food section at our local supermarket and our bulk food store both sell wonderful Belgian chocolate.)

To make either the chocolate bark or mendiants dairy free, be sure to use a good quality dairy-free dark chocolate.

Make sure to toast your nuts first, to ensure maximum nutty flavour, or buy roasted, salted nuts. The salty hit of nuts, pretzels, or salted popcorn is a winner with chocolate.

If you’re taking a container of these chocolate bark pieces to a picnic or barbecue, stash a frozen ice-pack on top of the sealed container or keep it in a cooler to prevent the chocolate from melting in the sun.

The white ‘bloom’ that sometimes shows on the chocolate after storing for a while is just cocoa butter that has come to the surface if the chocolate hasn’t been tempered properly. It may not look pretty, but it is harmless and the chocolate is still perfectly delicious to eat.

eight varieties of chocolate bark

Chocolate Bark

  • 250 gms/9oz  of good quality milk, dark, or white chocolate (about 1 and 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
  • assorted whole nuts or seeds
  • assorted dried fruits (raisins, apricots, candied ginger, cranberries)
  • extra bits – pretzels, popcorn, candies, etc.

Toast any nuts you plan to use in a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant (or buy them already roasted and salted.) Allow to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water, or in a microwave-safe glass container. If using the bowl over water, stir often until the chocolate is just melted. Lift the bowl from the simmering water and wipe the bottom with a towel so no water droplets get into the chocolate. If using the microwave, heat the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until it is just melted.

Pour the chocolate onto a flat surface lined with parchment paper and spread out into an 8 or nine inch (20-23cm) circle, or two smaller circles.

Sprinkle with ingredients from one of the combinations below, or make up your own variation. Allow to harden at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Lift the disk carefully from the parchment paper, and break gently into pieces. If the chocolate was refrigerated to harden it, return it to room temperature before breaking in pieces. If the chocolate is too cold when you break it, topping pieces can fall off too easily. If it is at room temperature, the chocolate is a bit pliable and you have more control over how you break the pieces.

Makes one 8-9 inch disk of chocolate bark.

Just Some Combinations:

  • broken banana chips, salted peanuts, mini Reese’s Pieces candies
  • salted, roasted pumpkin seeds, goji berries, bee pollen
  • toasted sliced almonds, chopped candied ginger, cacao nibs
  • crumbled crisp-cooked bacon, chopped toasted pecans, butter toffee bits, coffee beans or cacao nibs
  • toasted coconut, snipped dried pineapple, snipped dried mango
  • toasted macadamia nuts, snipped dried mango, broken banana chips
  • toasted walnuts, candied orange peel bits, cacao nibs
  • mini M&M candy-coated chocolates, popcorn, salted peanuts
  • freeze dried strawberries, slivered almonds, poppy seeds
  • dried cranberries, dried blueberries, flaked toasted almonds
  • pistachios, crushed dried rose petals, golden raisins, chopped dried figs
  • chopped nuts, sprinkles, broken pretzels, m&m’s
  • crumbled gingersnap cookies, toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped dried figs
  • toasted salted sunflower seeds, chopped dried apricots, chia seeds
  • pretzel pieces, salted whole almonds, raisins
  • pecans, popcorn, cacao nibs

Have fun with this!

 

chocolate mendiants - fill 'em with whatever fruits & nuts you like

Mendiants

  • 250 gms/9oz  of good quality dark chocolate (about 1 and 1/3 cup chocolate chips) makes 16 mendiants
  • assorted whole nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, or macadamia halves)
  • assorted dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots, figs, pineapple, candied ginger, etc)

Toast the nuts in a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water, or in a microwave-safe glass container. If using the bowl over water, stir often until the chocolate is just melted. Lift the bowl from the simmering water and wipe the bottom with a towel so no water droplets get into the chocolate. If using the microwave, heat the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until it is just melted.

Drop heaping teaspoons of the melted chocolate onto a piece of parchment paper. Use the back of the teaspoon to spread the chocolate into a 2-inch (5cm) round. Make 8 rounds at a time so they don’t set before you are finished.

Top the chocolate rounds with several whole nuts and pieces of dried fruit.

Allow to set.

Store in an airtight container with wax paper separating the layers, in a cool place for several weeks.

Makes 16 mendiants.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

You might also like:

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies

Caramel Popcorn Cake

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

milk chocolate bark with popcorn and pistachios

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies & Candy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cooking with Kids: Banana Boats Cooked Over the Campfire

Banana Boats are a gooey, sweet classic dessert to cook over the campfire – utterly delicious, and they need only three ingredients and a few minutes to put together!

Meredith eating banana boats cooked over the campfire

Cooking with Meredith

Yay! It’s summertime! And that means campfires and outdoor living (as much as possible between the thunderstorms, that is). This week Meredith and I cooked our dinner over the firepit outside.

Roasting sausages to eat before the Banana Boats First Corn, then Banana Boats

We had a great time building the fire first, just like I learned at Girl Guide camp many moons ago (we won’t say how many). Piling up the kindling, from tiny shavings to increasingly larger twigs, in the shape of a teepee brought back many memories: sitting in the dark with a a whole pack of friends, staring into the mesmerizing flames and singing all those traditional campfire songs, some silly, some haunting, and all memorable. And we’d be roasting marshmallows for s’mores, though we called them Angels with Dirty Faces (I like that name much better) and digging the warm, sweet gooey insides out of our roasted banana boats to devour as late night desserts to accompany the singing.

Sweet gooey insides of the Banana Boats

For our campfire meal, Meredith and I made foil packets filled with potatoes, carrots and onions, using the special method here for keeping them nice and moist and not getting burnt on the campfire.

Banana Boats and Foil Packets of Veggies to cook over the campfire

lots of butter makes the veggies in the foil packets taste extra special

We also roasted corn cobs in their husks laid on the grate over the fire, and roasted chunks of sausages on sticks.

Corn cobs and foil packets roasting

sometimes that smoke gets in your eyes, no matter where you stand

And of course, the dessert finale was those delicious, classic, banana boats. The bananas become warm and soft and caramelized as they roast, and the chocolate and marshmallow melt to make a luscious sauce. They’re as easy to make as 1-2-3-4-wrap.

chopping chocolate for Banana Boats

4 easy steps for making banana boats Wrap up the Banana Boats with foil wrapping foil around the banana boats

So grab yourselves some bananas, chocolate, and marshmallows, build yourself a good fire, and then enjoy some warm, melting, gooey banana boats (and don’t forget to sing a few rousing verses of Down by the Bay).

banana boats cooking while we eat

we put the banana boats on the grate to roast while we ate our supper

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Of course, your banana boats can just be laid on the barbecue grill, too, if you don’t have a campfire handy.

Milk chocolate is the classic filling for banana boats, but if your taste runs to semi sweet or dark chocolate, feel free to substitute that instead.

Banana Boats filled and ready to wrap

Banana Boats

  • 1 banana per person
  • milk chocolate bars, 2 or 3 squares per banana (or use milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips), use dairy-free chocolate chips if necessary
  • marshmallows, 2 regular or a handful minis per banana
  • 1 large square of tin foil/aluminum foil per banana

Cut a long rectangle through the peel on the inside curve of each banana. Remove the peel, then scoop out some of the banana inside the rectangle, either by cutting out a V-shaped trench into the banana, or using a spoon to scrape out some of the banana (enough to make room for the chocolate and marshmallow).

Cut the chocolate squares into halves and lay them down into the trench in the banana. Tear the marshmallows into pieces and stuff them on top of the chocolate, fitting in as many as you can (or use mini-marshmallows).

Wrap each banana in tin foil, folding over the the open edges and ends several times and pressing the foil gently but firmly against the banana to mold it to the shape.

Let the campfire burn down until the flames are no longer high and the logs have become nice hot glowing embers. Place the wrapped bananas on a grate set over the hot coals, or on a barbecue grill, and cook them for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, just until the marshmallows are melted and the banana is soft and caramelized.

To serve, unwrap each banana partially and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Each banana serves 1.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.

You might also like:

Campfire Baked Potatoes

Juniper Berry Stuffed Pork Chops over the Campfire

Strawberries with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar

Homemade Gluten Free Pancake Mix (great for camping)

Posted in Barbecue & Grilling, Canadian Food Experience Project, Cooking with Kids, Desserts, Puddings & Such | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Magic Mango Smoothie

Whiz up a batch of delicious mango smoothie loaded with health-promoting fruits, natural-electrolyte coconut water, and healing turmeric. It’s just the thing after a bout of strenuous exercise or to sip on instead of breakfast on a busy day.

magical mango smoothie with straws and bowl of mangoes

I can’t believe I’m doing it.

I’m doing the 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge again – and I’m already on day 18! I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for it. June is such a busy month for me. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going, and it’s all I can do to think ahead one day at a time (because if I think of all the things I have on my schedule over the longer term, I just want to run and hide under a pile of blankets and hope nobody finds me until the month is over).

I know everyone is just as busy with their own lives, too. Why do we take on so much? What possesses us to think we can handle it all?

In addition to substitute teaching quite a few days lately, I’ve had the year-end wind-up for German School, with writing report cards for my little class of 14 kindergarten students, planning a bunch of social gatherings (some large, some small), working on two large writing projects, and trying to stay on top of the overwhelming amount of yard and garden work all piling up at this time of year when you live on an acreage with two large gardens. Never mind all the cooking involved when your family has multiple food allergies (and of course, they can’t all be allergic to the same things – that would be too easy).

So, I guess I thought I didn’t have enough to do and somewhat stupidly signed up to go to yoga every day for a whole month – which, when you live out of town usually means a two to three hour commitment by the time I shower afterwards and stop off on my way home to run an errand or two.

magic mango smoothies

But you know what – the yoga is for me; to refill the well, and I’m starting to feel great. I usually try to make it to hot yoga a couple times a week, but now that I’m going every day something magical is starting to happen. The first week every muscle aches and I feel pain in places I didn’t even know I could. All my joints creak and seize up if I sit too long. Then the second week I feel like I can stand up a bit straighter and turn my head a bit further back when I’m shoulder-checking as I back up the car. Now this third week in, I am walking with a bounce in my step, my chronic lower back pain is easing up, and I feel like I must be at least a little bit taller than before. It’s easier to pull my shoulders back and I feel lighter and limber. Wow!

I can hardly wait to go to yoga each day. I love that feeling of sweating profusely in a hot, humid room. The sweat tickles as it runs in rivulets down my face, arms and body. Even the tops of my feet sweat! I keep telling myself how great it is that I’m flushing out toxins – I figure it must be as good for me as having a sauna every day. I notice I can bend a few millimetres deeper than I could the day before, and I can hold that twisting pose for a bit longer than last week. When I fold over my bent leg in the pigeon pose, I can now feel my belly brushing the ground. I may not be as flexible as I was in my 20’s, and maybe I’ll never be able to fold this body to touch my nose to my knees again, but it’s all baby steps and  so satisfying.

mango smoothie

a platter of mangoes. the bright yellow ones are the smaller, sweeter Ataulfo mangoes

After hot yoga, I’m thirsty, so I make myself a shake to sip on when I’m done – either my melon, spinach and apple Great Green Smoothie, or this delectable Magic Mango Smoothie. Sweet banana and luscious mango form the base, yogurt adds protein, coconut water naturally replenishes electrolytes lost from sweating, and the turmeric is a healing natural anti-inflammatory spice that helps repair those hard-working muscles that have been pushed to their limits. Turmeric has a mild earthy flavour that is slightly noticeable, but the lemon, honey, and vanilla help it to blend in. I love the flavour of turmeric, but maybe it’s because my mind knows how good it is for me.

mugs of magic mango smoothie

I like to make a double batch of magic mango smoothie and store several days worth of it in lidded mugs in the fridge to grab as I head out the door. then I can sip the soothing smoothie on my way home after hot yoga

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: If using both frozen banana and mango, the smoothie may be quite thick and need a bit more coconut water to thin it out.

Try to find a brand of coconut water that has no additives and no added sugar; that is just 100% coconut water.

Superstore sells 600gm bags of frozen mango chunks. If fresh mangoes aren’t in season, use half a bag of the frozen mango in this recipe, or buy mangoes when in season, cube them, freeze them on cookie sheets, then keep them in ziptop bags in the freezer to use.

See how to cut up a mango here.

two glasses and blender of magic mango smoothie

Magic Mango Smoothie

  • 2 cups (10 oz/300gms) diced mango, fresh or frozen
  • 1 large ripe banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup (240ml) coconut water (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup (120ml) plain yogurt (or soft tofu, soaked cashews*, or coconut yogurt for vegan or dairy-free option)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup for vegan option), optional
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Start with one tablespoon lemon or lime juice, taste, then add more if you’d like it tangier. It depends on how sweet your mango and banana are.

*If using soaked cashews (soak ½ cup cashews for 20 minutes in filtered water and drain), you may need to add a bit more coconut water if the smoothie is too thick.

Makes 3½ cups (850ml).

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

You might also like:

The Great Green Smoothie

Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie

Banana Milk

Nutty Monkey Smoothie

Gingerbread Dough Boy Smoothie

Posted in Drinks, Fruit | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies a.k.a. ‘Haystacks’

Classic haystacks – those delectable no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies from your childhood (with some new tricks to make them foolproof).

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, aka Haystacks

 

 

Raise your hand if haystacks were a regular occurrence in your childhood lunchboxes – I mean the cookies, not little mounds of barnyard straw.

Me too! Me too! (waving hands wildly).

I think that everyone and their grandma whipped up batches of these no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies whenever they were in the mood for a chocolate fix. Living in the country, we couldn’t run to the corner store for a candy bar if we were craving something sweet, so we had to satisfy our cravings with whatever we had on hand. We tossed a bunch of pantry staples – butter, sugar, milk, cocoa, coconut, oats – into a saucepan and cooked and stirred and plopped and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . and then those haystacks hardened up and we could indulge. (But we always made sure to leave generous amounts of gooey, chocolatey goodness in the pot and on the spatula to lick and nibble while we waited.)

You've gotta nibble on those haystacks (no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies)

Meredith, my cooking buddy, ‘helped’ make a few of the test batches

The only problem was that the neighbours always made better haystacks than we did. When other kids brought them in their lunchboxes, the cookies were chewy and chocolatey and whole. (Fancy that!) Ours always seemed to be crumbly and hard (not that it stopped us from eating them – oh, no – we devoured them from a bowl with a spoon when the chunks got too small). Even when I moved out on my own and tried to make haystacks, they never seemed to turn out like they were supposed to. I guessed it had something to do with cooking the fudgy mixture a second or two too long, but I couldn’t get it right, no matter how I monkeyed with the cook time.

Well, this woman (moi, me, ich) has been on a mission. A few months ago I vowed to make a perfect batch of haystacks,  and with a secret tip from a friend (thanks, Alex) and numerous repetitions tweaking the cook time (thanks, Andreas, for scarfing down graciously eating all the not-quite-right batches), I FINALLY GOT IT!

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - yum

So here is the recipe for delicious, delectable, irresistible, totally-not-healthy (well, there is some fiber in the oats and coconut) No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. Or you can call them Haystacks, like we always did. My friend’s secret tip was to add a handful of marshmallows to keep the cookies a bit softer, which also allowed me to cut the sugar down from my original recipe. I also added a touch of oil to keep the cookies soft, and my experimentation settled on a cook time of exactly 2 minutes – no more, no less.

Haystacks, aka No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – Haystacks

  • ½ cup (115gms) butter
  • 1½ cups (315gms) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120ml) milk (regular or non-dairy)
  • 2 cups (80gms) miniature marshmallows or 12 regular marshmallows
  • ¼ cup (35gms) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cups (300gms) small-flaked oatmeal (quick oats, not instant oats), gluten free if necessary
  • 1 cup (90gms) unsweetened shredded coconut

Measure out the oatmeal and the coconut and set aside. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or wax paper. If using regular-sized marshmallows, cut each one into quarters with scissors or tear into quarters with your fingers.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, milk, and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, then set the timer and boil the mixture for exactly two minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add the marshmallows. Stir until they are melted. Add the vanilla and oil, and sift in the cocoa powder (rub it through a small sieve with a spoon). Dump in the oatmeal and coconut. Stir until everything is coated with the chocolate and there are no dry spots left.

Working quickly, drop large spoonfuls of the haystack mixture onto the lined cookie sheets. Use two tablespoons – one to scoop up the mixture and the other to scrape it from the spoon into a neat mound. Use the spoon to pat in any ragged bits so the mounds are relatively neat.

Let set at room temperature until they are firm (this can take 3 to 4 hours or more) or speed up the process by putting the pans into the fridge to firm up.

Makes 24 haystacks.

Guten Appetit!

If you like my recipes, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. You’d make my day!

You might also like:

No Bake Salted Coco-Lasses Bars

Choco-Crisps (Oaty Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies)

Hello Dolly Squares (slightly healthier)

Healthy Fudge

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies & Candy | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments