Some things are obviously going to be popular. Pictures of animals holding hands/playing sports/wearing clothes. Movies with George Clooney/Brad Pitt/Matt Damon and restaurants with Keith McNally/cocktails/bright young things. Sweets involving salt/caramel/nuts are also a surefire win, and I decided to play to the crowd.
'cookie bars' on Serious Eats
It will be a good long while before I'm in front of a fire pit armed with marshmallow for roasting, but my desire for hibernation doesn't necessarily need to conflict with my yearning for s'mores—especially when I can make s'mores bars easily at home.
Call them Hello Dollies, Magic Squares, 7-Layer Bars or just plain goooood. 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 the classic Hello Dolly dessert bars with some seasonal flavors. Bring on the ginger snaps!
This year, instead of buying tschotskes that my friends and family will have to dust until they end up in a yard sale or on eBay, I'm trying to make as made homemade gifts as I can. One of the first recipes that came to mind for holiday gift giving was my beloved Chocolate 'Crack'—it's easy, it's inexpensive, and it's absolutely impossible to pass up. But it's even better with a winter-appropriate peppermint spin.
Just before I started kindergarten, I accompanied my dad to a new student reception in the cafeteria of what would soon be my elementary school. What I remember most vividly about this introduction to primary education was the giant platter of Rice Krispies Treats. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that in addition to those gloriously buttery and marshmallowy bars, Kelloggs had gifted the world with another bar-like treat: the Scotcheroo.
With the oven-to-mouth time on this recipe clocking in at around 30 minutes, these quick and easy cookie bars enjoyed the height of their popularity in the 60s and 70s when convenience cooking first began to take hold. Variations abound, but the standard recipe typically includes a butter and graham cracker crumb crust, topped with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and nuts. The sweetened condensed milk binds the bar together, bubbling up in the oven and lending a caramelized quality to the shredded coconut.
With just five ingredients: saltine crackers, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate, this sweet and salty dessert couldn't be easier or more addictive. But beware, it's one of those low effort, high reward recipes that will have your friends, family and co-workers coming back for thirds.