By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Writer
We were sitting around the dinner table recently commenting about fall and how much our family loves this time of year. When it came to specifics, we blurted out favorites like football, jumping in raked leaves, crispy apples at the farmer’s market and cooler evenings sleeping under comforters with the window still open. Then a friend who grew up in Indiana chimed in, “Don’t forget haystacks!”
If you are a city dweller, you probably don’t think of haystacks when images of fall come to mind. But take a leisurely autumn drive into the countryside, and you’ll no doubt see haystacks of all shapes and sizes lined up in the farm fields, mile after mile.
Haystacks have been part of our culture for ages. Young children recite the charming rhyme about “Little Boy Blue” who fell fast asleep under a haystack; French impressionist Claude Monet painted a memorable series of haystacks; and there’s the old expression “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack” that comes up in moments of frustration. Now you and your kids can make your own Haystack Cookies in your kitchen in three easy steps to celebrate this harvest season.
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cornflakes cereal
1 cup chow mein noodles
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Here’s the fun:
1. Let the kids measure and stir together the corn syrup, honey and peanut butter in a medium saucepan. An adult should take over and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
2. Meanwhile, kids can measure and mix the cornflakes, chow mein noodles and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. An adult should pour the melted peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir lightly until completely coated.
3. When cool to the touch, let kids drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons onto a foil-covered baking sheet. Form each one into a haystack shape. Cool in refrigerator until firm. Makes approximately 24 haystacks, depending on the size you create.
Note: These cookies freeze well.
TIP: Take a walk with your child or grandchild and look upward for nests tucked in bare tree branches. When you return, prepare this recipe, replacing the cornflakes with more chow mein noodles, for a total of 2 cups. Shape the cookies into bird’s nests instead of haystacks.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
©2018 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.