One of my favourite treats that my mom makes are these sweet, sticky, delectable bars of deliciousness called Hello Dolly Squares. They have been a family staple for YEARS, but we only ever have them around the Holidays, for some reason. Why do the Holidays get all the best eats? What’s wrong with the rest of the year?
I remember getting the recipe from my aunt when I was young. In fact, my mom says the recipe card she has is written in my handwriting. Even then, I knew a good thing when I tasted one.
They are so easy and quick to make, but they seem special somehow – I think it must be that layer of tangy, milky caramel that covers it all – thanks to the sweetened condensed milk poured over all the coconut-y chocolaty goodness.
Is your mouth watering yet?
All you need is love. And 5 simple ingredients. The original recipe has walnuts listed, but these are optional, and we have never made them with nuts. We tend to focus on the coconut and chocolate with these. But if you can’t do without nuts in your life, put ’em in.
This recipe is all about the layers. Each ingredient sits on top of the base and adds another layer of YUM to this group hug of a dessert.
First, melt the butter. I like to put mine in the microwave for about 35 seconds. Then, I stir it until it melts completely. I don’t want to cook the butter, just melt it.
When the butter is melted, I mix it into the graham cracker crumbs.
Press the butter and graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 X 8 pan. (Lately, I line the pan with parchment paper. It makes removing and cutting the squares a lot easier later. If you are using parchment paper, you don’t have to spray or grease your pan.)
Sprinkle coconut over the base, making sure to spread it from edge to edge.
Next comes the chocolate chips – spread them around.
Then, la piece de resistance: the sweetened condensed milk. Pour that heavenly nectar all over the top.
Let it seep down and fill every nook and cranny. Being so thick, it takes a while to empty out of the can. Be patient – you want to get every drop of the sweet deliciousness you can. You can even scrape the can to get even more. Not that I do that. (I do.)
So easy, in less than an hour you can have these squares mixed and baked and cooling on your counter.
- 1/2 c butter, melted
- 1 c graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 (heaping) cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Grease 8 X 8 baking dish, or line with parchment paper
- Stir together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs
- Press into the bottom of pan
- Spread coconut over the crust layer, followed by chocolate chips. Spread them out evenly all the way to the edges
- Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over all
- Bake in 325 oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden and bubbly
- Cool, then chill in the fridge to set
- Line the pan with parchment paper for easier cutting and removal. Peel back the sides and slice with a sharp knife. (I use a large chef's knife.) Once the squares are chilled, they are harder to cut but they maintain their shape nicely.
They’re so good, they usually inspire me to sing the old song – with a minor adjustment:
Well hello, Dolly
It’s so good to have you back where you belong….
IN MY BELL-EH!
I know. I’m weird. But I think it’s only natural for baked goods to inspire singing sometimes.
*This post was updated with new photos in December 2017. I had an assistant photographer for this reshoot who works for Hello Dolly Squares. (Plus, he’s cute.)*
What’s your favourite kind of sweet treat?