Chocolate craving! Crunchy, sweet/salty-ish would be good, too. Chocolate-check. Pretzels-check. Dried fruit-check. Nuts-check! Count down to snacks in 5..4..3..2..1…
These are so easy, your little kids could make them. I saw a recipe in a magazine and realized--damn, I always forget how simple haystacks are! They make a quick snack, great for after school, or anytime, really. Like I said, easy for the kids, too--and so versatile! I’m going to make more and change them up. I’ll bet you even have the stuff on hand for these.
This one’s not snobby, pretentious, or made with 10 kitchen tools, 13 pans, and 20 techniques. There’s no being stuck up when it comes to haystacks, is there? They’re simple, good old snacky-type snacks. They’re not fancy, and they’re certainly nothing new--but they sure taste great!
So-this snack covers it all: crunchy, sweet, salty, good--and easy! I’ve been snacking on them all week. Really, they’re even sort of good for you--what with the bittersweet chocolate, dried fruit, almonds and low fat pretzels. Nearly guilt-free!
Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks
Adapted from Family Circle
Makes 2 large sheets full--about 30? (I forgot to count!)
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used a gorgeous blend from Trader Joes--Golden Berry Blend: Golden Raisins, Cherries, Cranberries & Blueberries)
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups broken up thin pretzel sticks
8-10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I always use Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
Optional: I added about a capful (1/2-3/4 tsp?) of almond extract to the melted chocolate-just stir it in!
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, wax paper, or even foil.
Stir together the dried fruit, almonds, and pretzels. Set aside.
In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips. Heat for one minute to start, them in 15-30 second increments, stirring after each time, till the chips are all melty. Add the extract if you want to.
Stir the fruit/nut/pretzels into the melted chocolate--use a rubber spatula, and fold them all in until completely coated. Using a spoon, drop mounds of the chocolaty/salty/sweet/crunchy goodness on to the lined sheets. I even sprinkled one sheet of haystacks lightly with kosher salt. Optional, but I'll throw it out there for you to decide!
Set aside to let them cool. I didn't need to throw them in the fridge, thank goodness. (Who can fit two full size baking sheets in their fridge? If you can, don't tell me. I don't want to know.) After about 15 minutes, they were fine. Summertime? Yeah...make room in the fridge, please!
Store in an airtight container.
Bonus Recipe! Which, to be honest, I almost feel silly calling a recipe, because it’s so simple, but if you’re interested… And really, these aren’t at all very good for you. What? Don’t look at me that way. They don’t all have to be good for you--where’s the fun in that?
So--I finished writing this post, or so I thought, then realized I had some good stuff to make another batch of these, and you know, change it up a bit--so I ran (Really, I ran. Knocked a couple dogs out of the way in the process.) into the kitchen and whipped these up in no time at all. (Ok, I didn’t really run. But I walked with purpose.)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Haystacks
4 oz Nutter Butter Bites cookies, coarsely broken up
1 1/2 cups peanuts (lightly salted, roasted-but use what you've got)
2 cups broken pretzel sticks
1/2 cup Heath Toffee Bits
11.5 oz bag Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips
Follow the same directions as above! They remind me of Snickers, sort of. Chocolaty, peanutty--so good!
So, yeah--no food snobbery allowed with these. They are what they are. Bits of good things, all mixed up, and doused in chocolate. Simple. Get an easy candy fix this way. Mix them up-take a trip through your pantry and see what you’ve got. Enjoy!