No-Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies (gluten-free & vegan)

Desserts & Baking, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

These No-Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies are throwback to my childhood takes me right back to the 80’s … minus the back-combed bangs and neon clothing!

It was a rainy Sunday with a cup of tea looking for a cozy nostalgic recipe to make for the kids, and I stumbled upon an old one for haystack cookies.  They’ve been called all sorts of things.  I think Jillian’s mom used to call them ‘puppy poos’, but they were labeled simply labelled as unbaked chocolate cookies in my little recipe book from when I was a kid (yes, I used to sit and re-write recipes in tidy handwriting in a book).

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

I started getting the ingredients read to make them and nearly fell over at the amount of sugar it called for (2 cups… and it didn’t even yield that many cookies).  Hmmm there must be something I can do here.  I gave it a quick thought, made a plan, and happened to LOVE the first result.  It doesn’t happen often my friends, but it sure is nice when it does.

Overhauling this recipe was one of the easiest things I’ve done.  Maple syrup, coconut oil, dark cocoa and almond milk were all subbed in to help make them a bit healthier but just as tasty!

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!

You can make these into nests for mini chocolate eggs or of course you can just make them into little mounds and eat them all year long.  Now THAT’S my kind of cookie.

Note, they are a bit soft when you first make them, they need to set for a couple of hours on the counter, but if you can’t keep your paws off of them for that long you can just pop the pan in the freezer for a half hour and voila!  Actually, they freeze super well in an airtight container once frozen on the sheet making them a perfect treat to keep on hand for a healthier sweet tooth fix!

I hope you love them as much as I did!

xo

Tori

Healthy Chocolate Haystack Cookies that are naturally sweetened, vegan and gluten free. They also make adorable 'nests' for mini chocolate eggs for Easter!
5 from 3 votes
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No-Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies

These easy no-bake cookies are a throw back to the 80's but with a healthier twist.  Mounds of coconut and oats are covered in a decadent-tasting chocolate mixture to create an easy, chewy cookie that can be formed into a nest and filled with a couple chocolate eggs for Easter. Be sure to use gluten free versions of the ingredients (oats and coconut) if you need them to be gluten free.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword haystack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Setting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 20 cookies
Author Fraiche Nutrition

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (use gluten free if needed)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten free if needed)
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa (I used Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine the coconut, oats and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium saucepan combine the combine the maple syrup, cocoa, coconut oil and milk and bring to a simmer.  Cook on a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring regularly with a whisk.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat and coconut mixture and stir well to combine. 

  4. Using a tablespoon, drop mounds of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheets, gently pressing them together with your fingers to form mounds.  If desired, use your fingers and thumb to form an indent in the centre of each haystack to create a nest.  

  5. Refrigerate (for around 2 hours) or freeze (minimum 30 minutes) the cookies to set before serving.  Fill with a couple of mini chocolate eggs if desired.   These will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

*you can substitute vegan butter or regular butter here

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15 Comments on “No-Bake Chocolate Haystack Cookies (gluten-free & vegan)”

  1. Michelle

    These look amazing! I want to make them but I don’t ever buy coconut oil. What could I sub instead? Thanks Tori! 🙂

  2. Chris

    Loved these as a kid! I can’t wait to give these these a try with the kids. Would love to see a recipe overhaul for puffed wheat squares, another childhood favourite of mine!

  3. Wendy

    Made these this morning. So easy to put together. Didn’t have enough coconut oil so substituted remaining bit with avocado oil. Great recipe Tori! XO

  4. Kari


    Just made these! They were a hit with all four kids and two grown men!

    I made a substation for quinoa flakes instead of oats and just as good! Thanks again!!

    1. Tori

      Hi Sarah, it will affect the taste of the cookies and the texture but it should work in theory! Let me know if you try it!

  5. Olga Pekalska

    Just finished 3 dozen of these and they’re in my fridge. Tomorrow I will put the eggs in the nests. Hopefully they look as cute as yours and family and friends will enjoy them tomorrow. Thanks Tori

  6. Jessica


    Made these and they are so great!! And so easy! I reduced the maple syrup to 1/2 cup and they were still sweet enough for me! Amazing and easy recipe 👍🏻 Tastes like chocolate macaroons!

  7. Kari


    Made these yesterday and they were delicious! I am celiac as are my two young children, I cannot eat oats of any kind so substituted with quinoa flakes and they turned out great!! Thanks Tori!

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