Cookie Time! Chocolate Chow Mein Clusters the First

How do you come up with the name for a cookie that you just completely made up? Well, sort of made up.

My mother used to make these delicious, little cookies with chow mein noodles in them. What else? Maybe butterscotch? Yes, yes, butterscotch. What else? I cannot remember.

Call the recipe-ist? Tempting.

However, this was an opening to get into the kitchen to just do. To just put a new twist on an old memory . . . and to give this creation, if it worked, an obnoxious name. Here’s the result:

Chocolate Chow Mein Clusters the First

Maybe now you can use them to act out a play where Clusters the First bears a myriad of sons and one day pisses off Clusters the Second. It’s your play, so you’ll have to think of the conflict, but the end should result in a chow mein catastrophe.

Once I made this recipe, I proceeded to do research because I knew my cookies wouldn’t be lucky enough to be the archetype. Sure enough, endless recipes abound for a recipe similar to mine — all called “____ Haystacks,” usually “Butterscotch Haystacks.” Plenty of people have also thrown chocolate in there, too.

I hereby declare that with this recipe, there are three key differences, however:

a) No need for a double boiler to melt your chocolate. This boiler might sound exciting to use, but I’m working on limited room in my kitchen, so I cannot spare another tool–unless it is a panini maker. Ina Garten said that she loves hers, so I now need one. You can use a microwave to melt chips, if need be, but something about that subtracts from the experience.

b) This recipe includes chocolate. The chocolate part isn’t original, but a chocolate addition to anything sure is delicious. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but to accommodate anti-chocolate lovers, sub in more butterscotch where the chocolate should be.

c) The haystacks stamp is nowhere to be found. Don’t you find the idea of eating a Cluster the First appeals more to your need for power than does eating a haystack? Haystacks are rough and functional; Clusters the First are for real men, women and children who have both a real lust for cookies and a need to snap a twig off of a tree if that twig gets up in their way.

Chocolate Chow Mein Clusters the First

Difficulty level:  Easy       

Total time:  10 minutes prep/2 hours in refrigerator     

Yields:   16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups La Choy (or similar) chow mein noodles
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or Nestle chocolate chunks)
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (optional, to add creaminess to melted chips)

LET’S DO THIS!!

  1. Pour two cups of chow mein noodles into a medium-sized bowl. You can chop the chow mein noodles with large, sturdy spoon, if desired. (The smaller you make the pieces, the more you can taste the chocolate. The larger, the more you can taste the noodles and butterscotch.)
  2. Add peanut butter and honey to chow mein noodles. Mix enough so that peanut butter, honey and chow mein noodles are rough mixture.
  3. In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, add butterscotch chips and 1/2 Tablespoon milk (milk optional). Stir for about two minutes, until the chips are melted together and are the consistency will be of fairly smooth peanut butter.
  4. Add melted butterscotch to the existing chow mein mixture and stir. This time, look for your mixture to mesh.
  5. In the same saucepan, over medium low heat, add chocolate chips/chunks and 1/2 Tablespoon milk (milk optional). Stir until the chips are melted and are the consistency will be of fairly smooth peanut butter.
  6. Add melted chocolate to the existing chow mein mixture and stir thoroughly.
  7. Drop by the spoonful onto wax paper. You should be able to make approximately 16 spoon-sized balls.
  8. Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, to firm.

Eat! Happy cooking! Happy eating!

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Chocolate Makes Everything Better: Awesome Pecan Pie Chocolate Chip Bars. Happy Thanksgiving! . . .

So that we can get to the headline recipe here, I’ll keep my comments to a minimum. I wish I had pictures, and I’ll get them up when I create some. Until then . . . these bars are delicious and have proven a hit over and over again. I am not a huge fan of pecan pie itself because of the glaze-y taste that always seems to be in the whole pie slice. A little bit goes a long way. For some reason, the addition of the chocolate chips and the ability to eat small doses of pecan pie throughout the day is so tantalizing in this recipe that this has become one of my favorite desserts — easy to make, too, and JUST IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING. I say, “Do it! You won’t regret it.” Enjoy 🙂 Michelle

Awesome Pecan Pie Chocolate Chip Bars – adapted recipe from an old roommate’s version 🙂

Difficulty level:    Easy                     Prep time: 30 minutes   Total time: approximately 1 hr 15 mins

Yields:    approximately 20 bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up and slightly chilled
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • approximately 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

LET’S DO THIS!!
For crust:

  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl.
  2. Cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles very fine crumbs. *Can use fork if you have no pastry blender, though pastry blender probably easier.
  3. Using a piece of plastic wrap, Press mixture evenly into a greased 13×9 pan.
  4. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly firm. *Since ovens vary, make sure you monitor the process.
  5. Remove from oven before moving on to make your filling.

For filling:

  1. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and put in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a medium to large saucepan. *Saucepan needs to be large enough to comfortably hold all mixture ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs.
  5. Pour mixture from step #4 (immediately above) directly back into the remaining hot mixture.
  6. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips and vanilla and then pour over crust.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until set. *Honestly, with my oven, the fork still doesn’t come out perfectly clean at this time allotment because of the chocolate chips. However, pull it out and lightly cover with tinfoil to let it cook itself the rest of the way. It’ll firm up. You do not want it to burn due to too much cooking.
  8. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  9. Cut into bars.

Happy baking! Happy eating!