If you grew up in a neighborhood where there were Christmas Cookie Exchanges, you were truly blessed! It typically meant your house was filled with many varieties of baked goodies through the Holiday Season. At one point our neighborhood was up to 15 neighbors who participate. You made 16 dozen cookies. One dozen to keep and fifteen to share. That would mean you came home with 15 different dozen! Score! This month’s Recipe Redux Theme was to re-do a favorite Holiday Treat, so we are all about cookies!
Haystack Christmas Cookies
Our family’s contribution were passed down from my Mom’s side of the family. The Haystack Christmas Cookie. A chocolatey, nutty, crunchy bit of goodness. It is Spanish peanuts, Chow Mein Noodles, stacked up. Then you cat them with a melted mix of chocolate, peanut butter, and butterscotch. Some people add marshmallows too, but then they are considered to be “beaver dams” and no longer haystacks.
Low Sodium Swaps
Baking always runs the risk of becoming a high sodium endeavor as many recipes require high sodium ingredients, like baking powder, baking soda, salted butter, and of course salt. Our ingredients here are pre-processed for the most part, but there are areas where we can hack the salt. You will want to find the lowest sodium Chow Mein Noodles. The Wel-Pac brand at Walmart is only 125 mg of sodium per cup. The popular La Choy brand has 230 mg per cup. Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter is the best tasting low sodium peanut butter we have found. Finally, make sure you are using unsalted Spanish peanuts.
Leveraging The “Minnesota Fridge”
The final step in preparing these awesome cookies is to chill them to “set” them. When you have several dozen to get ready, here in Minnesota, we leverage the “Minnesota Fridge.” This time of the year, we typically run 40 degrees F or chillier outside so we use the garage or in our case, the three season porch to let these hot molten nuggets cool off. Finally, if you are sharing these at the cookie exchange, it’s time to get them on paper plates, in sealable bags, and include the recipe.
What were your favorite Christmas Cookie recipes? Let me know in the comments below! We’ll have our own exchange!
Low Sodium Haystack Christmas Cookies
A favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe recrafted to be low sodium and heart healthy without losing any of the taste.
- 1 cup Butterscotch chips
- 1 cup Chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup Creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup Spanish peanuts (unsalted)
- 2 cups Chow Mein Noodles (lowest sodium you can find)
- 1/2 cup Miniature marshmallows adding these technically makes them beaver dams, leaving them out mean haystacks.
In a 2-quart dish, place your entire amount of chips, and the peanut butter & microwave at 50% power (3-5 minutes) until they have melted completely.
In a large mixing bowl, place noodles, peanuts and marshmallows, stir so the peanuts aren’t all at the bottom, pour entire melted mixture over and mix until completely coated.
Drop on wax paper.
Put the cookies in the refrigerator for faster set, or let sit overnight on counter (or in a Minnesota garage or deck to chill).
Below are the links to the other Holiday Treat Recipes by great dieticians and nutritionists at the Recipe Redux. While I can vouch that they are healthy, I can’t vouch for them being low sodium. Please read labels and check recipes according to your health needs!