Ok world, here goes! My name is Jessica and I’m starting this whole blog thing. I’m an expatriate of the education system, a ridiculous bookworm and an avid shutterbug. In my spare time, I LOVE to bake! I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen with my family and it gives me a certain kind of satisfaction to know that something I have made brings people happiness and a sugar rush. This is an attempt to chronicle my experiments with my oven, Rosie, and hopefully bring some much needed empty calories into this world. Today in the oven:
I honestly don’t know if they are supposed to be Hello Dollies, which obviously appeals to the teacher in me, or Hello Dollys, which appeals to the musical theatre kid in me. Who doesn’t want a kitchen full of singing dancing Barbara Streisands??
Anywho, this came about because of my wonderful husband, Eric. He works at a post production house in Kansas City where he makes pretty things on computers all day. I often send my confections to work with him so I am not tempted to hoover them at home. While tearing into some banana bread I made, which will hopefully be a later post, a co worker of his suggested I try to master these delightful dessert bars. Naturally, I accepted the challenge! I mean suggestion. 🙂
First thing I always always do is organize my ingredients. It just helps the process move more smoothly. Here we have butter, crushed graham crackers, butterscotch and chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and shredded sweetened coconut. Its the kind with that kind of gritty lovely crunch on the outside. Makes my heart happy.
Let’s take a minute and talk about graham crackers. I love them. They are amazing and very versatile in the baking world. However, they can be feisty little buggers. After years of putting my graham crackers in ziplock bags and taking my rage out on them, I’ve learned that the best way to get a good crust is evenly sized crumbs. The best way to get crumbs that are even is to use a food processor.
Take the graham crackers and break them into the smaller rectangles. Then put them into the food processor. The best method I found after just grinding the spit out of them, is to pulse the crackers until they have all been broken down and then just let the blade run for about 10-12 seconds. This gets them pretty much pulverized, but not so much that they are dust. Remember, they do need to form something that can hold lots of delicious. Once that bit is done, the rest of the ingredients are pretty self explanatory.
Ok. So you’ve got your ingredients. Now. Grab a 9X13 inch baking dish. Mine was glass and it worked beautifully. If you have a metal one, that should work too, just be aware you might shave a minute or two off the baking time.
Melt the butter. I just zapped it in the microwave for about 45 seconds, took the bowl out and swirled it around a bit, then popped it back in for 20 seconds to make sure all the chunks of butter were really most sincerely melted. The melted butter than gets poured into the baking dish.
Next, pour the crushed graham crackers in. This part is fun! Stir them up a bit to get them moist in the butter, then paint with all the colors of the wind and just get your hands in there! I made sure all the crumbs were thoroughly saturated in the butter and spread the mixture out evenly and pressed it into the dish. It is actually really important that you make sure none of the graham cracker is dry. This helps to make sure the crust bakes firmly and won’t crack under the pressure of the rest of the bar.
After that, you open the can of sweetened condensed milk and pour it on top of the graham cracker crust. It won’t spread on its own, so treat it like Kathy Griffin’s mom with a box of wine that is almost empty. TIP IT! Ooze it to the corners as much as you can. Get that gooey gooey goodness all over that crust. Yeah boo, just like that.
Woah. Sorry. That got a bit out of hand.
Next, sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on top. I started with dark chocolate chips, then I did the butterscotch chips, but I saved a little bit of each for the top. After the chips, I sprinkled coconut over the entire dish. Finally, I used the remaining chocolate and butterscotch chips to just add a little extra something to the top.
Now, bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until the coconut is toasted and the edges are golden brown and bubbling.
Here is the tough part. Put the baking dish on a cooling rack and walk away. WALK AWAY! I know. I know. But, when I first tried this recipe, I made the mistake of letting them cool for only 15-20 minutes. When I tried to cut into them, I had a massive, gooey mess on my hands. A delicious, massive, gooey mess, but not what I was hoping for.
Let the dish cool for at least an hour. Then, cover it and put it in the fridge. Let it continue to cool and set up for another hour.
Finally, after they have chilled and set up, take them out and cut them as desired. They will probably still be a bit messy, but they will be much more manageable then if you hadn’t chilled them at all.
I’m happy to report that I sent these to Eric’s office this morning and he told me that by the end of the day, only 3 remained. Yay for sweets! You can also tweak the toppings as you like. Hate coconut? Make that part pecans! Like butterscotch better than chocolate? Swap those quantities and make it butterscotch heavy! Wanna try a different flavor graham cracker? Go for it! Whatever you do, do it with gusto. 🙂
Nosh on, friends!
Hello Dolly Bars
Prep 10 minutes Bake 25 minutes Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (this is about one box)
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a food processor, grind the graham crackers until they are the right consistency.
- Melt the butter and pour it into a 9X13 baking dish
- Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the baking dish and mix them with the butter until you have created a thick and stable crust.
- Spread the sweetened condensed milk over the crust.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips on top saving some chips for the end.
- Spread the coconut on top of the chips.
- Distribute the rest of the chocolate and butterscotch chips on top of the coconut.
- Bake for 25 minutes
- Let cool completely on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting and enjoying.