Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Hello Dolly" Magic Cookie Bars

My husband seldom asks me to make a specific dish or dessert.  Today, is a mild summer day, so I had no problem with baking.  I'm reading that other parts of California are experiencing triple-digit temperatures. Not on the Central Coast of California!  Even though I live in the sunbelt, I doubt the temperatures have gone any higher than 72 degrees.  I asked my husband what treat he'd like for his lunch box.  "Hello Dollies", he replied, with hope in his voice.  This bar cookie is a classic-- otherwise known as Magic Cookie Bars, from Eagle Brand.  I don't know where his father got the name "Hello Dollies"-- it must be a Missouri version? So, I scoured the pantry, and I had one can of condensed milk on hand. I keep walnuts in the freezer, and always have an assortment of chocolate chips and other flavors.  My husband was in luck, when I found a box of graham crackers.  These took 10 minutes to put together:

Preheat the oven to 350F. You need one cup of nuts, chopped.  Pecans would be good, but I chose walnuts for today.  I pulsed one package of graham crackers to equal 1 1/2 cups.  Melt one stick of butter and combine to the graham cracker crumbs.  I love parchment paper, otherwise spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.  I prefer to make a "sling" of two sheets of cut parchment paper so that I have about 2" of overhang on each side.  You can use aluminum foil, if you don't have parchment paper. Ever since I started doing this extra step, I no longer struggle with cutting bar cookies or having them stick to the pan. Pour a 14-oz can of  condensed milk on top of the crust. If you have an offset spatula, it makes the even spreading so much easier!

Sprinkle two cups of chocolate chips, evenly. Then sprinkle 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut.

Sprinkle one cup of chopped nuts as the last layer....
Gently press down on the layers.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Since I took the time to make a "sling", I simply lift the cookie right out of the pan and onto a cooling rack..

One of my favorite baking tools is this giant spatula by Wilton.  I found mine at a "Michael's" Craft Store.  No more broken cakes or bar cookies!  Let this cook for at least 15 minutes... tell drooling husbands (or kids)  to wait.

The crust is chewy from the condensed milk. I cut these into 24 bars...

Baker's Rights... I get the first taste. 




VERDICT: I can see why these are Craig's #1 favorite cookie (next to peanut butter).  I love the chewy, buttery crust.  It's sweet, but not cloyingly sweet.  The balance of chocolate, coconut and nuts is perfect.  These are rich, and perfect to tuck into a lunch box.  I recommend a glass of milk, though.  I see this cookie recipe on blogs during Christmas Cookie season.  I think this is a fast and easy cookie all year round. As for me, I'm going to limit myself to my one cookie. Today, at least! The rest is for my hard-working husband, who deserves his boyhood treat. He's been busy taking care of our herb and vegetable garden.  Make these for your loved ones. They'll thank you.  If you've made these yourselves, then you know what I'm talking about!

These will definitely put a smile on your face.  A printable recipe is at the bottom of this post. 

For those of you who are roasting in record high heat-- save this recipe for a time when turning on an oven doesn't make you gasp in horror.  I hope you do find cooler temperatures! Tomorrow is back-to-school for the students where I work.  I am expecting to be busy and tired for most of the week. I'll do my best to share more recipes.  I miss not being able to post more than once or twice a week, and I thank you for lovely comments and private emails.  I  love to share with all of you what's cooking in our home. I feel so blessed!






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24 comments:

Joanne said...

So I am pretty sure that I can't wait until Christmas to have these! They are basically an amalgam of all my favorite things.

Patti (aka Mint) said...

These have always been a favorite of mine but I haven't made them in quite a while(mainly because I'll eat the whole pan!). I think it's about time I visited my old favorite and did some baking this week (it's cooled down here too). I make my own condensed milk from powdered milk. Have you ever tried it? It's super simple!

Nancy said...

These are a favorite at my inservices (behind lemon bars and almost even with brownies)and they are actually so much easier than the other two treats. I also use the sling technique (foil works if you don't have parchment). I often add heath pieces or butterscotch chips in addition to the chocolate, and have tried all sort of chocolate chips/chunks. I grew up calling these 7 layer bars, but people eat them whatever they are called !

Kim said...

I love these magic cookie bars. They're addictive, aren't they? I have to remember to do the sling method when I make brownies and bars. It makes cutting them so much easier! Your husband is a lucky guy!!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Anything with chips and coconut is a winner! The problem is, I could eat the whole pan!

Cheryl said...

Wow, I have never heard of these bars before, I have all the ingredients to make them! YUM

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I used to make these when my kids were little. Thanks for reigniting a memory. They are still as delicious as I remember.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I can't look, you're bringing up memories, I have no control, I love these!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Nancy, you are so right on using aluminum foil as a sling. Oooh, heath bar crunch chips? I happen to have some of those. What a great idea!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

My husband always complains that I never bake his favorites for him and him alone. Maybe I should be more like you and pay attention. Then again, I bake and he complains that I'm undoing his Insanity workouts.

I have a cookbook that also refers to these as Hello Dollies. There is no explanation as to why they're called that, but as a theater lover, how can I not love the name?

"Hello Dolly. Well hello Dolly. We're so glad to have you back where you belong" (IN MY STOMACH)

Raina said...

Magic Cookie Bars are one of my all-time-favorite cookies! They are delicious and simple to make. Love that giant spatula too:)

Monica H said...

Magic cookies bars are Sam's favorites as well. I've heard of them referred to as Hello Dollie bars but I've never called them that- it must be regional. Either way, they're delicious with a glass of milk. I also recommend cutting them into one inch chunks and freezing them. They make a great snack :-)

Karen said...

I think of these as a Christmas cookie tray addition, too. Delicious!

Faith said...

It seems that everywhere I go today I find coockie bars but your looks something else! Thanks for sharing this. Can't wait to try it. Nice picutres too.

Jen_from_NJ said...

I haven't had magic cookie bars in ages! I will need to make a batch - yours look fantastic!

Velva said...

Did I read that right, "never higher than 72 degrees" (sigh). I am melting here in Florida :-)

the magic cookie bars are delightful. Your husband knows a good snack for the lunch box.

TKW said...

I am such a lazy cook that any bar cookie recipe is sooooo up my alley. The coconut seals the deal for me.

Salsa Verde said...

They looks so gorgeous and delicious!! I surely gonna have a try on that recipe!
Cheers,
Lia.

Cathy said...

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes that I always make at Christmas. I agree with Craig - they're the best.

The Better Baker said...

Your pictures just blow me away - sooo beautiful! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of this awesome recipe. MMMMM!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

magical combination of ingredients!!

Erin said...

Just made these with hazelnuts. mmmmmm Thanks for the recipe!

Art By ASM @ It's In There said...

These are my husband's favorite cookie too!

Laurie@Aprons for Women said...

I make this recipe but we call it "hello dollies." We make it at Christmas time and it's my husband's favorite.

I will have to try your tip of putting the condensed milk on the crust. I always pour it over the top of everything, but they are always very hard to cut.