Haystack cookie recipe just for kids
By Darcie Hossack
Remember that old game show from the early 80s, Just Like Mom? The one where, in the most notorious round, the child contestants were unleashed into a kitchen to make, in 90 seconds, a batch of cookie batter that, when baked, their mothers would recognize them by?
So naturally, into the batter went ketchup and marshmallows and other, even more grievous, sins against baked goods. Often, just before the sounding of the bell, they were encouraged to add some flour, an egg or two, to bind the abominations together.
Of course, any title-hungry mom who was on her game should have known to teach her offspring an actual cookie recipe before arriving on the set. But then, the object of the game wasn’t a million dollars. Which meant that cutthroat, Toddlers and Tiaras-type action probably wasn’t what the producers were looking for. Besides, even for the winners, there was only a slender chance of spinning the prize wheel to land on the grand Disney vacation. More than likely, winners went home with a bag of the sponsor’s brand of flour.
Nowadays, since there have been no new episodes of Just Like Mom for 25 years, zany fun in the kitchen has pretty much been limited to home kitchens. Although, if the show ever returns as a remake, I know of a few candidates and new show segments that the network may want to consider.
First off, cookie baking is too limited, as demonstrated by the time my nephew spent a day helping Grandma Helen make vareniki (Mennonite perogies), which are traditionally filled with a mixture of salted, dry cottage cheese combined with egg. Or sugared Saskatoon berries. Both getting swaddled in cream gravy before serving.
Aidan, unconventional kid that he is, decided that tradition would not do. And my mom, ever the indulgent grandma, put a pot on the boil and soon had Aidan’s chosen filling: A hard boiled egg.
Clearly, any remake of Just Like Mom needs to include a perogy-stuffing round.
Or, as the little boy of a friend who a few years ago married and moved Down Under, might have it, a Slip & Slide distance contest.
Her son would, however, have competition from a pair of siblings closer to home. And it would go something like this:
The young Aussie, after glugging a full bottle of olive oil onto his mother’s hardwood floor, would roll around in it to become as slippery as possible before paddling across the room to the finish line!
Meanwhile, the pair of Canucks would splash water from plastic popcorn buckets onto Mom’s laminate, then run and launch themselves to glory! Followed by an hour in the naughty corner.
As you can imagine, in the home version of the game, nobody gets to go to Disney.
However, once the mess is cleaned up, and with a little bit of parental supervision at the stove, my Aunt Mary’s and Aunt Susie’s simple Haystack Cookies can be made in about ten minutes, and don’t involve any Frankensteining together of incompatible ingredients. Just a few, kid-friendly, pantry staples that whisk together and set up without baking. No cheating, probably no shopping, and definitely no nose-pinching or gagging, required.
3 cups quick oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oats and coconut. Set aside.
In a medium pot, bring butter, milk, vanilla, sugar and cocoa to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour chocolate mixture over oats and coconut, using a rubber spatula to scrape out all the contents of the pot. Stir together until well combined.
Using a tablespoon, spoon cookie mixture onto 2 parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until set. Makes about 48 cookies.