The History Dish: Chinese New Year Cookies

IMG_7168Chinese New Year Cookies…there was nothing I could do to them to make them look less like poops.

The Chinese New Year starts tomorrow, so in celebration I thought it would be fun to make a vintage recipe for Chinese New Year Cookies. It’s too bad these cookies look like poop.

The History

This recipe come from the same vintage collection as my Moose Milk recipe, and caught my eye because I had never seen a Chinese New Year-themed confection in an otherwise anglo recipe collection. What makes these cookied Chinese-ish is the inclusion of Chinese noodles: crispy fried rice noodles, like the kind you get with a take-out order of wonton soup. I can’t even begin to answer the question of whether or not these noodles are authentic in any way, fully Americanized, or some combination thereof. It seems that they’re such a niche aspect of Chinese take-out that no one has ever bothered to wonder before. Anyone out there have a clue?

The Recipe


Chinese New Years Cookies
Written by B. Allen. From a recipes collection dating between the 1960s-1990s.

1 pkg (6oz) Semi sweet chocolate chips
1 pkg (6oz)  Caramels
1 can (3oz) Chinese noodles
1 can or jar (7-8 oz) Peanuts

  1. Melt chocolate and caramel.
  2. Mix in noodles and nuts.
  3. Scoop by teaspoon onto waxed paper. Chill.

Makes 2-4 dozen.

The Results

IMG_7146A hot mess from start to finish.

This entire recipe was a hot mess from start to finish. Something was off about the texture–when the chocolate and caramel melted together, it was so thick. My friend Pat and I got into a long debate about whether or not it was the qaulity of the caramels, or if I had used too many in proportion to the chocolate, but the point is moot because nothing will stop these cookies from looking like tiny piles of poo.

They also taste like tootsie rolls with Chinese noodles jammed up inside them.

Enjoy the New Year, instead, with some of those strawberry candies. Those are great.

11 thoughts on “The History Dish: Chinese New Year Cookies

  1. You may have better luck if you leave out the caramel. My mother has made “Chinese Noodle Candy” for years by just melting the chocolate chips, adding the noodles (and sometimes chopped walnuts), spooning portions out onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper, and freezing the candy until hard. I find it to be seriously addictive.

  2. My grandmother made a similar treat but it was just peanut butter chips and noodles. Put them on a pan in a toaster oven/regular oven until the chips have melted, let cool and break into pieces. It’s delicious and I’m craving some now.

    I think these cookies would look less like poop if you switched out the chocolate chips for peanut butter ones. ;)

    • So your grandma made it more like a brittle? Or it’s least that how it would look: flat. That’s make sense. This whole recipe is starting to make some sense!

      • Yes, definitely flat pieces like a brittle. The recipe you found would probably work better that way, too.

  3. My family has made Chinese New Year cookies for ages – they are my mom’s specialty and highly requested by everyone she knows. I even won my work’s Christmas Cookie Bake-off with them!
    The recipe is just chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanuts and noodles. You can even carefully melt the chips in the microwave if you don’t have a double boiler. Easy-peasy and doesn’t look as much like poo!

    • Hi Megan! My daughter has a project on ancient China that requires a recipe and I thought this one would be fun…is there any way you could share a good version of this?

  4. Like Megan, my mom made these all the time when I was a kid in the 1960s. We just didn’t use peanuts. 1 6oz. bag chocolate chips, 1 6 oz. bag butterscotch chips, 6 oz. chow mein noodles. Melt chips together in double boiler and stir until blended. Stir in noodles. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, drop spoonsful of mixture onto waxed paper. Chill in fridge until set.

  5. This is coming a few weeks late, but my grandmother also made a variation of this, with the noodles, peanuts, and butterscotch chips. She formed them into little clusters. They are sometimes called haystacks. I made them at Christmas last year, they are so good!

    If you Google haystack cookies, you get tons of variations!

  6. I have made these since the 70’s dry roasted peanuts chineee noodles chocolate chips at Halloween time add miniature marshmellows my Sister Louise reminded me I made them one time with marshemellowd

Comments are closed.