This is it – my favourite of my mom’s no-bake cookie recipes from when I was a kid! She never gave us any advance warning when she was going to make these, and I never actually saw her make them (spooky!). But occasionally I’d come home from school, look in the fridge, and there’d be a container of these cookies. Yay! And every time, I’d try to stealthily sneak some and re-arrange the remaining cookies to hide my theft. Heh. Pretty sure I wasn’t fooling anyone.
I actually made this recipe twice (oh the sacrifices I make for you guys!). The first time I made them, they totally didn’t set up. At room temperature, they stayed soft and melty. If I put them in the fridge, they hardened up beautifully, but as soon as I brought them out, they softened again. Like almost immediately – I didn’t even have time to finish eating one before it was falling apart. It doesn’t make sense though. It’s just melted chocolate chips – they should solidify again.
Well I could think of a couple possibilities. One, it’s stupid hot here. But if that were the case, the chocolate chips in my cupboard would be all melty too, right? And they weren’t. So obviously it’s not that hot.
The other thought is the type of chocolate chips I used. Chocolate chips aren’t just chocolate. Often they’re specially formulated to be bake-stable – meaning they retain their shape after heating. This can be done by removing some of the cocoa butter and potentially adding stabilizers. So if you make a cookie with a mix of regular chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, you’ll find that after they’ve cooled the chips will look the same as they did before baking, while the chopped chocolate will have melted into the cookie more. The chopped chocolate will also take much longer to harden.
Which brings me to my chocolate chips. They’re not regular chocolate chips, but Callebaut (and no, it’s not just me being fancy – although I totally am – ha!). I go through a lot of chocolate chips with all the baking I do, so I buy these humongous bags of chocolate chips at a specialty store. They’re just labelled generically, but according to a person at that store, they are Callebaut. And while the bag is clearly labelled “chocolate chips”, they don’t even look like regular chocolate chips – they’re flatter and don’t have the peak or swirl that others do. So. Maybe they’re not true chocolate chips, but actually couverture callets (fancy term for small discs of specialty chocolate). I can’t tell from the ingredients list. They all have the same basic ingredients – the difference is in the quantity of those ingredients.
Couverture is meant to be melted and used to coat other things – like truffles or caramels. The trick is that it needs to be melted a certain way (tempered). When melted properly, it’s smooth and liquid and great to work with, and then sets within minutes to form a firm clean smooth solid. If it’s not tempered, it can take forever to solidify, and when it does, it will probably have streaks and spots of separated fats and sugars (bloom).
Only one way to find out, right? (okay, there are more ways to test this, but this will be the most delicious…) Obviously I was going to have to make these cookies again, using a different type of chocolate chip. Obviously.
The second time around I used Chipits, and I could tell as soon as the chips melted that it was different. The first batch was really liquid, while this batch was much thicker. And yes, the finished cookies set up beautifully – I didn’t even have to put them in the fridge. Yay! So now I know that my “chocolate chips” are actually couverture. Huh. Oh well. They’re still great for baking!
Like the no-bake macaroons, there are a lot of copies of this recipe online that are almost identical. There are a few variations, with things like dried cranberries and other kinds of nuts added to the mix, but the basic recipe is almost always the same. Most of them use an equal quantity of each of the four ingredients, but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) that ends up being too much melted chocolate for the amount of other ingredients. So I upped the amount of chow mein noodles considerably, and cut the peanuts back a bit so they didn’t overpower the other flavours.
The resulting cookie is sweet and crunchy and slightly salty. The perfect trifecta!
I brought these in to work and half the people were excitedly squealing “omg, I remember these from when I was a kid! these are awesome!“, while the other half were quirking eyebrows and saying “chow mein noodles? seriously?” But everyone who tried one came back for more.
chow mein noodle cookies
Based on one of my mother's recipes – who knows where it came from originally. A lot of the recipes I've seen online say that you can buy cans of chow mein noodles. Really?? I've only ever seen them in bags.
1 package (about 2 cups) butterscotch chips
1 package (about 2 cups) chocolate chips
1 cup salted peanuts
2-8 cups chow mein noodles
In a large microwave-safe bowl or in a heavy saucepan over low heat, gently melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together until smooth.
Remove from the heat and stir in the salted peanuts. Then add the chow mein noodles – starting with 2 cups and stirring until they're completely coated with the melted chocolate mixture. Continue adding the chow mein noodles, one handful at a time, stirring well to ensure they're all completely coated each time, until there doesn't appear to be a lot of melted chocolate leftover.
Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto wax paper or parchment paper. Allow to rest at room temperature until completely set.
I LOVED these when I was little, thanks for reminding me how awesome they are
Yay! I’m glad you remember them too. They are awesome, right?
wow these noodle cookies definitely take me back to my childhood! can’t remember the last time i had them.. thanks for the recipe, i need to recreate it!
I can’t remember the last time I had them either! I hope they make a comeback.
Can some one tell me why my cookies didn’t stick together the both chips didn’t melt properly
I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with these! Butterscotch chips generally don’t melt well, so it takes a bit of patience and a lot of stirring. But then, once you get that gloopy mess in the pot, spoon them out onto parchment paper and let them set. Eventually you should have something that will hold its shape.
Just made these for the first time. ..so far so good….they’re a big hit with my family…thanks for this recipe
Hi Tami! I’m glad you’re all enjoying them. I kinda wish I had some right now…
Hi would like to make these for cultural day for my son tomorrow, understand the recipe etc but not sure about the noodles. Where can one get chow mein noodles in south africa. They only noodles I know are the long, soft cooked noodles.
I’m afraid I have no idea where you might find them in South Africa (I’m on the other side of the world in Canada!). Here we can find the dried ones in bags, often in the “asian” food aisle, sometimes even in the produce aisle. I would recommend just asking someone @ the grocery store. Or if you have the time, you could try posting the question over on eGullet – they have regional forums where you can ask where to find specific ingredients (click here). Good luck!
So – confused on your chocolate chip outcome for these drop cookies. What exactly is the kind to purchase to make the cookies hold together?
Sorry for the confusion. Just buy regular chocolate chips from the grocery store – like Chipits or Nestle. I made the mistake of buying some fancy shmancy chocolate from a specialty store. They looked like chocolate chips, but they weren’t.
Mine flopped… two bags of chocolate chips… down the tubes. Ok so I melted on low but the chips started to lose their creaminess as though the moisture was gone. That blew the whole recipe. So none of these for thanksgiving. Guess we’ll being eating these the best we can with a bowl and spoon?
Oh Karen, I’m so sorry to hear they didn’t work out. I’ve had some flops too, and definitely times where no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my chocolate chips to melt properly. One thing to look out for when melting chocolate is to make sure you don’t get any moisture in there. Even just a drop of water can make the whole batch seize up in a mess. Overheating can do that too, but it sounds like you were careful about temperature. Beyond that, I have no suggestions, sorry. 🙁
I just made these a couple days ago – I make them every year just like my mom did before me. I used chocolate chips from the bulk food store this year, instead of Chipits, but did use the Chipits brand for the butterscotch ones. I noticed that even though they set up, they were softer to the touch this year. I couldn’t figure out why, then I read this and the explanation of why that could be. Huh, who knew?? Thanks for the info! And, yes, they are still yummy regardless of the ‘melty-ness’!!
Hi Wendy – it’s nice to meet another person who grew up with this recipe! Isn’t that weird about the chips? I mean I knew that real chocolate melts differently than chocolate chips, but I always assumed that if they’re labelled “chocolate chips” that’s what they would be. Now we know. Whenever I need to use them in a no-bake recipe like this, I make sure to buy brand-name bagged chips. For everything else, I’ll happily use real chocolate. 🙂
Can these be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or do they need to be refrigerated? I won’t be sharing them for a five days.
Hi Dawn – they’ll be fine @ room temperature (there’s nothing in there that will really go bad), but depending on how warm the room is, the chocolate might get a bit soft. I’m actually thinking about making some of these again this week. 🙂
I leave the chocolate and peanut butter ‘clusters’ and serve from the freezer
I’ve never tried them from the freezer, but I always keep mine in the fridge so they’re nice & cold. I do, however, like to keep Twix bars in the freezer. 😉
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Does anyone know how many this makes
Hi Lisa – sorry for the late reply! I didn’t put a quantity because they’re portioned by spoonfuls and it’s really difficult to keep them consistent. Quantities will vary depending on how big you make them.
December 2, 2017 – I just made these, and they turned out great! There were no issues with the chocolate melting, or the cookies setting. I have to hide them away in my freezer until I finish the rest of my baking and not tell my family that I even made them! Thanks for the great recipe. I love that there are 4 ingredients, and nothing “outrageous” to have to buy! My kind of recipe!
Hi Charlene – I’m so happy you love these too. I may need to make some of these soon and keep a stash in the freezer too 😉
I made these today & the chow mein noodles are so hard you can’t chew them. All the ingredients are wasted. I can’t serve them for fear someone will break a tooth!
Hi Melanie – I’m so sorry to hear that. I wonder if the chow mein noodles available to you are different than what we have here. The ones I’ve always used are crunchy, but not super hard – almost the same texture and hardness as a goldfish cracker.
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My mom used to make these, but only used the butterscotch chips. We loved them and she made them every year. I made some this year just like she made them. I’m intrigued but the combination of chocolate and butterscotch and will have to try them. Thanks for the recipe.
I hope you like them, Donna! My mom would make some cookies with just butterscotch chips but with Special K cereal instead of chow mein noodles. I’m sure there are a million variations on these recipes 🙂