Quick And Easy Chocolate Almond Haystacks

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O.K., so Christmas is nearly here. I have somehow managed to get all of our Christmas shopping done (yes, all online. Yes, all on Cyber Monday. Yes, I saved some money. Yes, I therefore spent more). I even managed to get it done in time for the two “Pretend Christmases” that we’ve already celebrated this year, one with my in-laws visiting from the UK and one with my brother and his family visiting from Canada.

With all these Christmases, you can bet that there has some good food floating around. My mom made a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve for us out in Cocoa Beach (where they’re snow-birding) while my brother was in town, followed by a savory crown roast for “Christmas Day”. Did I mention Carrot Cake Trifle?

My in-laws and I worked some true magic in the kitchen when we whipped up this elegant make-ahead Christmas dinner by Molly Stephens from Fine Cooking Magazine. We did make it all ahead and we were then free to relax together before the meal. Or rather, we would have been free to relax together before the meal if I wasn’t off nursing M while my in-laws entertained J and my hubs kept his eye on everything warming in the oven. We were however able to relax together during the meal without a lot of getting up and down between or during courses. My fave parts of the dinner: the red wine sauce drizzled over the gratin potatoes (note: we used cauliflower instead of rutabaga in the potato dish) and the Gingerbread-Brandy Trifle which was somehow satisfyingly dense while also being soft and light. It wasn’t too sweet either, probably because the crystallized ginger in the mix cut through everything with a hot zing. So good.  (Honest truth: I was caught standing in front of the open fridge with a spoonful of trifle in my mouth THREE times on the day after our meal.)

Anyhow, with all the shopping, the visitors and the extra Christmas dinners, the new baby and the new house (no, we have not fully unpacked yet), I haven’t found much time for Christmas baking. Thankfully, I did manage to develop and test a recipe perfect for my Christmas cookie tray earlier in the month when putting together a post I contributed with my friend Christine to Frosting for the Cause.

Quick and Easy Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Almond Haystacks

I’ve whipped up another batch of these quick, easy and fun, chocolatey, nutty, chewy wonders to have on hand for the holiday season. To round out my dainty tray I’ve made four types of chocolate bark: Dark Chocolate with Roasted Salted Almonds and Raisins, White Chocolate with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans, Dark Chocolate with Crushed Werthers Original Hard Candies and Dark Chocolate with Crushed Candy Canes (yes, the emphasis is on dark chocolate because that’s what my hubs loves best. I was tempted to go with white chocolate for the candy canes but then worried that I would be the only one in the house left to eat the leftovers, which would not be good for any of my upcoming New Year’s Resolutions!).

I’m so happy that I developed this recipe for easy chocolate almond haystacks because I honestly don’t have time for any other baking this year nor for anything else really. Not even for writing this post! Seriously, right now there is a slightly damp baby attached to me by a sling. (Not sure what has caused the dampness. There are of course several possibilities when it comes to babies.) I’ve really gotta go!

Happy Holiday Hugs to you all!


P.S. The appearance of this post does not mean that my hiatus is over, just that I suddenly felt the urge to write and simultaneously had the time (sort of) to write. I have a lot of fun blogging plans for the New Year though so I am hopeful that the stars will align regularly. I’ve missed y’all!

7 Responses to “Quick And Easy Chocolate Almond Haystacks”

  1. Jackie Selleck — December 11, 2017 @ 9:53 pm (#)

    Hi! I had something similar at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona this Fall. I searched the web in attempt to make some myself and come upon your post. Will you please send me your recipe so I can avoid reinventing the wheel? thanks so much!

  2. Trishpm — December 27, 2011 @ 9:58 am (#)

    I appreciate the link to the Make-Ahead Holiday Dinner. I have a mobility problem, and as much as I love to cook, standing for long enough to prepare a holiday dinner has become almost impossible for me. Being able to spread the standing time over a few days will make the physical demands of a hoiliday meal much easier for me. Christmas can be especially hard, for my family comes from Poland, and we wish to continue the custom of the Wigilia, the traditional Christmas Eve special meatless dinner. However, my Scottish-American husband and his family want a big Christmas dinner, not the Polish custom of minimal cooking on Christmas Day. The result in our home is two elaborate dinners in 24 hours, which can be hard on both the cooks and the diners. Delicious make ahead dishes will make everything more enjoyable.


    • Christine — January 1, 2012 @ 10:07 am (#)

      Trish, I hear what you’re saying. Really hear it! My mom is Ukrainian and so we also do the meatless Christmas Eve dinner. It’s my absolute favourite meal of the year. But we also do an elaborate Christmas dinner too. It does make the holiday season pretty hectic. Thanks for reading! Glad you like the link. I’d love to hear if you try any of te dishes and if you changed them at all so that I can incorporate your results the next time I make them.

  3. Joan — December 26, 2011 @ 11:09 am (#)

    Could you give me the recipe, I am all for those easy and quick recipes. They come really handy especially during holiday periods where time is essential.

  4. Katerina — December 23, 2011 @ 2:57 pm (#)

    Having a new baby is a lot of work. It is great that you even had the time to make these beautiful little treats! Have a wonderful Christmas time with your family!

  5. The Mrs — December 21, 2011 @ 8:33 pm (#)

    We’ve missed you too, but what a Christmas treat to have a post from you and a cookie recipe too. (Uh-oh. Inadvertent rhyming. I hear it’s a bad sign.)

    Merry Christmas (the third), and looking forward to reading in the New Year!

  6. Paula — December 20, 2011 @ 1:25 pm (#)

    As if a new baby and moving weren’t enough you had to prepare for all the pretend Chrismas (s) too! I love the look of these cookies and I’m sure they taste delicious. Thanks for taking the time to share the recipe and wonderful post with us.

    All the best to you and your family for a lovely and hopefully relaxing holiday! Looking forward to what you plan on sharing with us in the New Year.

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