Half-Baked: Haystack Cookies

Bryan Mailloux - 3A Mechatronics
Posted on: January 28, 2017

Welcome back to this issue’s installment of Half-Baked. As promised, I’ll be featuring dessert today, namely cookies!

Ever tried to bake anything in the oven? Well, probably if you tried last issue’s featured recipe. But have you ever left anything in the oven for too long and had it burn? That’s a problem I’ve had waaaaay too often. And it’s always a sad day when all your hard work literally goes up in flames. Like, all you wanted was some yummy goodness and all you got for your efforts was charred disappointment. If you’re brave, you might try to still eat whatever you tried to cook… but it’s always terrible compared to what could have been.

Maybe some incident like that turned you off from cooking forever. Maybe your greatest cooking achievement so far has been not screwing up pasta. Or maybe you’re a cooking god, able to cook 5 different dishes at the same time. Well, regardless of your skill level, this recipe is definitely for you.

Haystack Cookies (makes 8 medium or 16 bite-size cookies)


  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 2 cups sugar (if you’re eating healthy, 1 cup will give enough of a sugary taste without sacrificing flavour)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavour (artificial vanilla works just as well as real vanilla and is a lot cheaper)
  • 1 pinch of salt (optional)
  • 6-7 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 cups oatmeal (quick oats works pretty well)
  • A baking sheet and a sheet of wax paper of the same size (you can use 2 plates too)


Start by heating up a pot on the stovetop. Add the margarine, sugar and evaporated milk, and as they’re melting stir them together. Keep stirring until the three ingredients are well mixed and melted – you’ll know when the mixture almost as easy to stir as water. Then, add the vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix everything again, until the mixture is uniform. By now your cookie mix should be much thicker.

Now take the pot off the heat, add the oats in, and stir quickly so the mixture doesn’t start setting on you. When everything is very well mixed, drop a spoonful (or more) of the mix onto the wax paper, and flatten as desired. Once you’ve made all the cookies, let them set for 10 minutes, or, if you want them to set faster, leave them in the fridge for 5 minutes. While you’re waiting, you may be tempted to lick the spoon you used to drop the cookies on the wax paper – I strongly suggest you go nuts with that. In fact, you should also eat as much cookie mix as possible out of the pot as well. It makes for easier cleaning, which is always a good thing.

And presto, your cookies are ready! They’re tasty and not even that bad for you, since they use oatmeal as the base. But the best part? No baking equals no burning equals no disappointment. Pretty sweet, eh? You can also add all kinds of variations to this recipe – try adding coconut shreds or almonds or peanut butter, or changing the amount of sugar and cocoa powder to get the perfect taste. Some recipes even use dry chow mein noodles as the cookie base instead of oats! (Maybe don’t be too adventurous… I’d strongly discourage making cookies out of instant ramen.)

If you have any recipes you’d like to share, let us know at iwarrior@uwaterloo.ca, and I’ll feature them during the term! Otherwise, join us next issue for more recipes on Half-Baked!

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