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Hello Dolly Bars (sort of)

March 12, 2012
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One of my favorite blogs is The Bitten Word.  They recently did a Cupboard Cleanout, where they cooked only with food in their cupboards, freezer, and fridge for a week, and I decided that would be a good idea for the Just Eat It household too. Especially since Nate is traveling and I can cook strange (vegetarian) things that he might not be as enthused about eating as I would be.  I looked at what we had in our cupboards, and, let me tell you, there is a lot of random stuff.  We have two different kinds of fancy artichoke tapenade, canned green beans that are over 2 years old, and 3 little boxes of Raisin Bran that I stole from a hotel continental breakfast in October of 2010.

I also found kind-of stale graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk (2 cans, which is odd since I hardly ever use it), coconut flakes, and 5 bags of nuts with just a small amount left.  All of these ingredients are used in Hello Dolly Bars, which are one of my favorite bars to make because they’re so ridiculously easy and everyone loves them.  Usually Hello Dolly Bars have chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans, but I decided to add in dried tart cherries and to use a mix of nuts (mostly slivered almonds) because it was what I had in the cupboard.  I used up the coconut, cherries, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and 2 bags of nuts!

The directions say to let the bars cool for at least an hour before you try to cut them, but I just couldn’t wait.  They smelled so good!  The slivered almonds make the top of the bars extra-crackly, and the tart flavor of the cherries off-sets the sweetness of the condensed milk just a little.  Hurray for cleaning out the cupboard!

Hello Dolly Bars
Adapted from The Homesick Texan

There isn’t really any mixing or skill required to make Hello Dolly Bars– you just have to be able to measure and layer the ingredients!  I’ve also discovered that the order in which you layer the ingredients doesn’t really matter either.

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 8 graham crackers)
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans or other nuts
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

(other add-ins: peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, dried cherries, etc)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix melted butter and crushed graham crackers together and press into the bottom of an 8×8 pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything. Bake in oven for 25 to 35 minutes, top should be light brown. Let cool in pan for at least an hour (they will be crumbly if you don’t wait), cut into bars and serve.

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