Jan 9, 2010

Hello Dolly Bars (Seven Layer Bars)

Do you think it's possible to be friends with a cookie?  Forget those make-em-once flings. I'm talking about a lasting relationship, here. One you wouldn't give up for anything. Well, call me crazy, but I've become bff's with this recipe. And if you've never experienced a heart-warming, always there for you friendship like this,  I'd like to introduce you to my sweet pal Dolly. Maybe the two of you can get together over coffee.

For as long as I can remember, it's been tradition in my family to make these dream bars for the holidays. And even though they compete with stacks of other homemade Christmas confections, they still somehow manage to become nothing but crumbs quicker than anything else. Even the fudge. The fudge.

Here's why they're so amazing:

They only contain seven ingredients, most likely already in your pantry/fridge.
They're beyond simple to make. Just layer everything in a pan and bake.
They're diet-ditching good. One bite and you'll swear one of those layers is crack.

So while vacationing in Florida for Christmas (jealous?), I made a batch. Now, if you're thinking, "Hmm, I've heard of these, and I don't recall them being 'light', so why are they hanging out on your blog?" Well, because it was Christmas. And I felt that Christmas deserved full fat. And I was also a bit worried about toting a low-cal dessert to the house of my Polish in-laws. A move like that was sure to result in disapproving looks, a pierogi timeout, and possibly the end of me as a Sokolewicz as we know it. 

Actually, there is a Cooking Light recipe for a reduced-fat version. The order of the layers is a bit different, and they use parchment paper. All acceptable changes I suppose. But to make it light, they eliminated almost all of the butter, and replaced it with water. WATER. Not cool. So in pure rebellion, I turned to my mom's recipe. But I'll post both below, so you can make the choice for yourself. (Go with your gut. He knows what's best.)

The first step was melting the butter. To save on dirty dishes, I used my mom's technique here, melting it directly in the pan. Watching that entire stick of butter fade into a glistening pool of deliciousness just felt wrong. In a very good way.

Next, I mixed in graham cracker crumbs and patted them down firmly to make the crust. The pan will still be hot, so make sure you use a fork for this step.



Then the layering began. First, chopped nuts. I used pecans, but I'm sure walnuts would be just as tasty.


Next was the chocolate and peanut butter chips. I used jumbo chocolate chips for bigger chunks of melty chocolate in each bite.




Then I sprinkled coconut on top, covered it all with sweetened condensed milk and popped it in the oven.

Around 20 minutes later, I welcomed my good friend home. And good news -- they were a hit with the Poles! At least I think so. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but they were saying it with chocolate and graham cracker crumbs all over their faces, so I'm guessing they approved.

But like all holiday treats, these belong with the holidays, and I must get back to my cooking light goals. So, Hello Dolly Bars, it's time to say goodbye. Shall we meet again, say, next year? Around Christmas? Thought so.

Hello Dolly Bars (Old-fashioned, full fat and highly recommended)
Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 bar)

1/2  cup butter (one stick)
1 1/2  cups graham cracker crumbs
1  cup chopped nuts
1/2  cup chocolate chips (I used jumbo)
1/2  cup peanut butter chips
1 1/2  cups flaked coconut
1 (14 oz.)  can sweetened condensed milk

Heat oven to 350°.

Place butter in a 13 x 9 pan and place in oven just until melted.

Combine graham cracker crumbs with butter and press firmly onto bottom of the pan with a fork.  Sprinkle with layer of nuts, followed by chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and coconut. Pour sweetened condensed milk over coconut. Bake at 350° for 20-30 min or until lightly browned.

Nutritional information: So good, you won't care.

Source: My mother.

Hello Dolly Bars (Lower fat, yet probably still tasty)
Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 bar)

2  tablespoons  butter, melted
1 1/2  cups  graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
1  tablespoon  water
1/3  cup  semisweet chocolate chips
1/3  cup  butterscotch morsels
2/3  cup  flaked sweetened coconut
1/4  cup  chopped pecans, toasted
1  (15-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; cut off excess parchment paper around top edge of pan.

Place crumbs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter and 1 tablespoon water; toss with a fork until moist. Gently pat mixture into an even layer in pan (do not press firmly). Sprinkle chips and morsels over crumb mixture. Top evenly with coconut and pecans. Drizzle milk evenly over top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly around edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 123 (32% from fat), Fat:, 4.4g (sat 2.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.6g), Protein: 2.1g, Carbohydrate: 19.1g, Fiber: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Iron: 0.3mg, Sodium: 64mg, Calcium: 50mg.

Source: Cooking Light, December 2007


Just Breathe said...

Oh yum, I can't wait to make these.

Katie said...

What better way to start a recipe than a big ol' melty stick of butter! My mom used to make these a lot - it's hard to not eat the entire pan in one sitting!

sandy said...

Seriously?! I'm drooling here!

Welcome to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood!

Pam said...

OMG...what a yummy blog you have!

Thanks for stopping by!


greedygrace said...

Genius! I never even thought of melting the butter directly in the pan before! I'm totally trying that the next time I'm baking!

I came by to welcome you to SITS! We're happy to have you with us!

Jamie Cooks It Up! said...

The Dolly is one of my sister friends as well.
Cute post!

Quasi Serendipita said...

Wow, that sounds really good! VIsiting from SITS :) (Btw, love the title of your blog!)

Anonymous said...

My kid's favorite treat!! And you use the same recipe I use! LOVE them! Stopping by from SITS! Thanks for the inspiration

carma said...

only 7 ingredients? now you're talkin' my language :D

carma said...

GAH!! Also wanted to welcome you to SITS.

I know that you will enjoy being a part of this vibrant community of bloggers :-)

Rachel said...

Thanks for the welcomes! Oh and everyone....these are literally as good as they look. Make them! Now!

Holly said...

Quite possibly one of my favorite bars EVER! I used to make two pans because I would eat one by myself. I was younger and the metabolism was better! Yum. I'll stick with the good ole buttery version! It is perfection.
Holly @ 504 Main
PS-Thanks for stopping by my blog. I loved this recipe of course and am off to check out the previous post. I'll be following!

Joy said...

I think I could go far beyond friendship with this kind of deliciousness.

Welcome to the SITS community!

SwizzlestickMama said...

Thanks for visiting me! Funily enough, the recipe I posted for dough I think came from Cooking Light. These look delish!

Aubrey said...

I think Dolly is my new love! YUMmy!

Coming over from SITS! Welcome!

Pam said...

These bars would be my friend! They look amazing.

Jen said...

Now that is some yummy goodness! I wish I had some to go with my coffee this morning.

Stopped by from SITS.

MuseSwings said...

Yes, these are cookies you can truly be friends with. I think you can say BCF when texting about or to them. My favorite too! Happy SITS day!

Anonymous said...

Over from SITS. I LOVE these bars.


Anonymous said...

Wow :) I'm trying the chocolate mint bars first, if I had to guess. But I've only perused a few recipes so far!

Whitney said...

Well HELLO DOLLY!! These are my very favorite when fat is no object!

samsstuff said...

Yum! We used to have these at a cafe/catering company that I worked at, so good.

Stopped by from SITS today & I'm now subscribing!

Susan said...

These are my VERY favorite - I could truly eat the whole pan. Nothing like coconut and chocolate.

I have a new blog - would love for you to come visit. www.ugogrrl.com

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