American Classics: Holiday Hello Dolly Bars
Call them Hello Dollies, Magic Squares, 7-Layer Bars or just plain goooood. I first discovered these quick and easy cookie bars in college, and they quickly became a favored late night studying treat. I've tricked them out as Kitchen Sink Bars with potato chips and pretzel pieces for a sweet and salty treat, but the beauty of these sweet and chewy, utterly ooey-gooey bars is that you don't need to be bound to tradition. While the standard recipe typically includes a butter and graham cracker crumb crust, topped with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and nuts, the form is perfect for customization. With a holiday party on my calendar, and little time to whip up a labor intensive dessert, I decided to see if I could rework these classic bars with some seasonal flavoring. Bring on the ginger snaps!
Instead of a graham cracker crust, these bars are made with crushed ginger snaps and topped with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and crystallized ginger pieces. Feel free to add chopped nuts if desired or mix it up entirely using another seasonal cookie as your base.
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About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.