These Chocolate Haystack Cookies are quick & easy no-bake cookies. You can make them traditional, or with a more adult twist - liqueur!
Originally published December 18, 2012, Updated on 11/11/22
Like Noelles, my family’s haystack cookie recipe is another childhood favorite that I saw fit to mess with, I’ve provided a few ways to customize this no bake chocolate haystack cookies recipe, a bit further down in this post.
While the original was great, the addition of cream liqueur takes it to a whole new level: Boozy chocolate haystack cookies!
Not so much in a *literally* intoxicating way, mind you - but the cream liqueur brings with it a complexity of flavor that the childhood favorite was lacking.
I’ve been updating a bunch of easy recipes for the holidays, and figured it’s time to give a bit of love to this decade-old no bake cookie recipe post.
These chocolate haystack cookies are a super easy no bake dessert, whip together in just minutes, and are OH so addictive. Sure to be a huge hit with anyone you serve them to!
More Holiday Treats
Looking for more inspiration for your holiday goodies tray? Whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any of the other holidays, here are a few ideas for you!
What are Chocolate Haystack Cookies?
There are a ton of different haystack recipes, with many different ways to make various types of easy cookies that are somewhat similar in execution, but vary wildly when it comes to ingredients.
You’ll find recipes for butterscotch haystacks, peanut butter haystacks - with creamy peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter, or even cocktail peanuts involved!
Some are more of a haystack candy than anything I’d consider a cookie, using melted chocolate chips to bind the base ingredients together.
The type of chocolate chip can vary between different recipes, too.
Butterscotch haystack cookies are super common - I suppose it is closer to the actual colour of hay, than chocolate is! - but there are plenty of versions that use peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or dark chocolate chips in place of butterscotch chips.
The base ingredients are oats and coconut. Rather than melting chocolate chips, they’re held together with a boiling sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder sauce.
The oats and coconut absorb some of the liquid, which hardens a bit as it cools.
IMHO, it’s one of the OG comfort foods!
Anyway, enough rambling, let’s get to it.!
Haystack Cookie Ingredients
This is a super simple recipe, with simple ingredients that you can find in any grocery store - if you don’t already have them at home!
A few notes for you, though:
For best results, use rolled oats, rather than quick oats or any of the other smaller-grind oat styles.
I like the texture best when I use sweetened coconut flakes, but I’ve also made this with unsweetened coconut (medium). Go with whichever you prefer!
You can use whatever milk or milk substitute you like - including cream liqueur. (More on that in a minute!)
When I first started making this bake treat, I used 2% milk.
These days, we don’t really keep dairy milk on hand, so I’ll usually use unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk - they work perfectly.
Cashew milk, flax milk, and oat milk are other great options.
Rounding out this recipe, you will need:
Pure Vanilla Extract (skip if using liqueur)
... I just don’t have anything to add, for any of these ingredients!
Gluten-Free Haystack Cookies
Good news, the only thing standing in the way of this cookie being inherently gluten-free is potential for cross contamination of the oats!
If you use gluten-free certified oats, boom - you have gluten-free haystack cookies!
Chocolate Haystack Cookie Variations
While this is a great recipe for no bake oatmeal cookies on its own, part of the reason it’s one of my favorite desserts is the versatility!
There are a bunch of ways that you can customize this recipe to suit your tastes, mood, or occasion.
Here are a few ideas for customizing your batch of chocolate haystacks:
Change the Extract
Pure Vanilla Extract is a fantastic, neutral flavoring to go with the chocolate, coconut, and oats... but you can definitely swap it out for something else.
Note: If using peppermint extract, you might want to use only 1 teaspoon - it can be aggressively flavoured!
This is a bit harder to come by than grocery store extracts, but can usually be found at your local cake or candy making supply store.
It comes in a LOT more flavours than grocery store extracts do, so you can really have fun with it!
Note: Flavour oils are MUCH more concentrated than extracts. Try ¾ tsp, 1 teaspoon at most!.
Use a Flavour Syrup
If you’d like a bit of the flavour complexity that the Boozy Chocolate Haystacks has, without the alcohol, you can add some flavour syrup, such as Torani Syrup
Just use about ¼ cup syrup and ¼ cup milk, in place of the milk.
Note: This will make a cookie that can be a little sweeter than the original Boozy Haystack Cookies recipe, depending on the liqueur / syrup used.
Pro tip: you do not want to reduce the sugar amount, though - doing so can prevent the cookie from setting up properly!
Make them Christmas Cookies!
If you’re looking to customize these bake haystack cookies for Christmas time, add some festive sprinkles!
Have a small bowl or shaker of holiday sprinkles on hand when scooping the cookies. As SOON as you’ve scooped them, scatter sprinkles over them.
You’ll want to work quickly, before the chocolate starts to set up.
Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies
When I first posted this recipe, it was as my liqueur flavored chocolate haystack cookies as a default.
These are FANTASTIC when you swap the milk out, in favour of an equal amount of your favourite cream liqueur. It makes for a really decadent treat!
Back in the day, my liqueurs of choice for this boozy chocolate haystack cookies recipe were the Baja line of cream tequila liqueurs.
Baja Rosa (strawberry) was my #1 go-to when making these, but it was also fabulous with Baja Luna (black raspberry) when I could find it.
Castries peanut rum cream liqueur was also fabulous with it.
Bailey’s Irish Cream is a classic, and works really well with the chocolate, coconut, and oat flavours of haystack cookies. The Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueurs are also fantastic.
If you can get your hands on maple cream liqueur (which is a *fabulous* option here in Ontario) - YES.
Basically, if it’s a cream liqueur that you like to drink, and has a flavour that works with chocolate.. Go for it!
How to Make Chocolate Haystack Cookies
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through.
Line baking sheets – or a counter / work surface – with parchment paper or waxed paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut, set aside.
Heat to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
Once boiling, turn stove down to low heat, allow to boil for 2 minutes.
If you're not using liqueur, stir the vanilla extract in to the melted chocolate mixture.
Pour hot mixture over coconut and oats, stir to coat everything evenly.
Note: I like to use an ice cream scoop / cookie scoop to spoon the mixture into little haystacks.
Store in an airtight container – these will keep a long time, assuming they go uneaten that long!
More Cookie Recipes!
This recipe is great on its own, but also shines as part of a larger cookie spread. Looking for more ideas? I've got you...
Apple Pie Cookies
Chewy Black Forest Cookies
Chewy Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
Chewy Chocolate White Chip Cookies
Decorated Sugar Cookies
Easy Pistachio Macarons
Holiday Cookies - Noelles
Hoppy Citrus Macarons
Malted Milk Meringue Cookies
Pecan Pie Cookies
Peppermint Swirl Meringues
Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Sweet Ecstasy Cookies
Tropical Fruit & Rum Cookies
Looking for my gluten-free cookie recipes? They're now over on my new gluten-free blog, Beyond Flour!
If you like cooking with alcohol, you should check out my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. It’s FULL of fun, tasty recipes using spirits and liqueurs for flavour – you should check it out:
Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.
To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more!
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No Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies
- 3 Cups Rolled Oats
- 1 Cup Coconut
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Milk Or cream liqueur of choice - see post for details
- ½ Cup Butter
- ½ Cup Cocoa Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract Skip if using liqueur.
- Prepare 2 cookie sheets – or a counter top – with parchment or waxed paper.
- In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut, set aside.
- Combine sugar, milk (or liqueur), butter, cocoa powder, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat.If you're not using liqueur, stir the Vanilla in to the chocolate mixture.
- Pour hot mixture over coconut and oats, stir to coat everything evenly.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared pans or counter top, allow to cool fully – cookies will harden and “set up” as they cool. I like to use an ice cream scoop for this.
- Store in an airtight container – these will keep a long time, assuming they go uneaten that long!