Photo credits to Ann Levesque from RIMag who was kind enough to
feature this recipe in the December issue
Have you ever been invited to a cookie swap and just got so overwhelmed by the idea of baking for hours on end? Well, here is the perfect cookie swap recipe! It requires no bowls, at all! I promise. And no standing by the oven waiting for the next batch to bake. Some people call them Magic Bars but in my family we call them Hello Dollies.
My grandfather, Americo always loved these cookies, especially at Christmas time. And every time he saw me he'd say, "Hello Dolly!" Grampa was about 5 feet tall and always wore baby blue shirts and white pleather shoes. Every year, no matter how busy and stressed I get around Christmas, I still make time for Dolly because it's the easiest cookie to make and it connects me back to my Grampa Rico! My nieces and nephews love these cookies too and I hope, one day they make them for their kids and pass on the tradition.
Last year I was invited to a cookie swap and made 6 dozen Dollies and froze them in Ziploc bags. Then we had a blizzard. Cookie swap was cancelled and I was "stuck" with all these cookies. If you must know, they taste just as good frozen (if not better) and somehow I worked my way through a few dozen, enjoying my own little cookie swap with myself, every day.
1 stick butter (or 1 stick Smart Balance 50/50 blend)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut flakes
1 (14 oz) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
Melt butter and pour in a 9x13 inch pan. Evenly coat the butter with the graham cracker crumbs to form a crust. Evenly sprinkle the nuts, then chocolate chips, then the coconut. Pour the condensed milk evenly to cover the entire surface of coconut. That's it!
Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown, being careful not to burn as the edges tend to get darker. Cool slightly and cut into bars. Makes approx 24 bars.
1. Use pecans or chopped peanuts
2. Change the chips you use (butterscotch, milk chocolate,white, or a mixture of a few kinds).
Note, I am not a big believer in "lightening up" a cookie recipe. But if I can cut some fat somewhere without sacrificing flavor, I will. There is no difference in using fat-free condensed milk or the regular kind. And the Smart Balance butter blend provides the buttery taste you're looking for but also cuts some fat.
I hope you all enjoy these cookies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!