This is one of Great Grandma’s recipes so we already know it contains graham crackers, coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Obviously.
If you’re been following my journey working through her recipe box, you know as well as I do that these three ingredients made up the crux of Gram’s life. The woman loved her graham crackers. And her butter. She lived a very sweet life indeed. Is it possible to miss someone you never really knew? Because sometimes when I’m making her recipes and squinting my eyes to read her tiny cursive letters, I really miss her and wish she was the one in the kitchen baking away instead of me.
I was just reading Lisa’s latest blog post where she recreated her grandma’s peanut butter crisscross cookies (if you’ve never read Homesick Texan before you’re in for a major treat!). Something she wrote really struck me and that was that there’s just something about your mother’s, and your grandmother’s, cooking that just makes you happy. I love that because it’s so true. There’s a million adaptations of this recipe all over the place, but because this is my great-grandma’s recipe, it will always taste the best to me.
You know what I mean?
These layer bar cookies are an adaption of the classic Southern hello dolly bars. Before yesterday I had never had a hello dolly bar before, and I’m from the South. Go figure. From doing a bit of research though, I learned that the traditional bars have seven layers in them and include butterscotch chips. Well, great-grandma wrote a tiny note at the bottom of her recipe card that said she preferred these bars “without the butterscotch chips and with extra graham cracker crumbs”. Of course she did. The woman lived for graham crackers. This we know.
So instead of seven layers, here we have four layers….that’s if you don’t count the butter and sweetened condensed milk as layers, which I don’t.
Add a long, slooooooow drizzle of Eagle brand milk, pop them in the oven and in half an hour you have these beauties:
Sure, they’re sweet enough to break your teeth, but pretty perfect for any potluck, church picnic or special dessert. I’m sure the bars would have been a bit neater if I would have been patient enough to let them cool completely in the pan before slicing. I’m sure a lot of my desserts would be a lot neater if I had more patience (I’m not a cake decorator for a reason). Thus, my rational advice to you is really to let cool completely before slicing or make the night before and keep them in the fridge.
Or just completely disregard my above recommendation and dive into that warm pan with a butter knife, because who the heck cares anyway?
P.S. I really hope my dentist doesn’t read my blog.
P.P.S. I love you guys.
Hello Dolly Bars
makes about 20 bars, depending on the size
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 stick butter, melted
10 graham crackers, crushed
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 15-oz can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pour the melted butter into a 9 x 13″ pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over melted butter, followed by the walnuts, chocolate chips and coconut. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top.
Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing and serving!
1.5 hours (includes time to cool)