I am petitioning in favor of the “Post-Christmas Cookie.” You know, the one that you wanted to try, or that you really, REALLY, love to bake, but never had a chance to make during the season because you were just so darned busy/stressed/frazzled/overscheduled (please select one, or more, what the heck?). Yes, if not for very generous bakers and their skilled offspring bringing me cookies, I wouldn’t have had a one. So, after the day was over, I decided to bake a favorite recipe for bar cookies that dates back to my Home Ec days in high school. They go by many names, Magic Bars, Hello Dollies, and a host of others, but whatever the name, no one is unfamiliar with this rich and chewy bar cookie. I make mine a bit different from the original recipe in that I use both semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips. I also like to make a richer nut mixture by using a mixed nut mix of pecans, cashews, macadamias, almonds, filberts, and Brazil nuts.
Why not join me in my post-holiday baking and give these chewy crowd pleasers a try?
1 stick butter
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
(from about a pack and a half of graham crackers)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped mixed nuts
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Now you have two options: spray a 9” x 13” pan with non-stick cooking spray, OR (as I did) line it with foil so that about 1-1/2” of foil hangs over the short edges, and then spray the foil with the non-stick cooking spray. This will allow you to lift the entire thing out of the pan, slide off the foil (which is why it MUST be sprayed as well) and then make perfect little square cuts.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. If you buy graham cracker crumbs, just empty the correct amount into a medium bowl, drizzle with the butter, and stir until completely coated. If using a food processor, break up a pack and a half of whole graham crackers, pulse until they become crumbs, and then pour the melted butter through the feed tube during the last stages of pulsing, and, Bob’s your uncle!
Press crumbs and butter mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts. Press down firmly with your hands (Sometimes it helps to lightly dampen your hands to keep the ingredients from sticking.).
Bake for 20-25 minutes until just browned. Cool. Firmly grasping foil overhang, carefully lift from pan and place on cutting board. Peel foil away from the edges and slide it out from under the baked bars. Cut in even squares.
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