This past weekend we hosted a memorial party celebrating the life of my husband’s late mother, Carol. It was a lovely event and we were surrounded by many family members and friends. Those of you who follow me may remember that she passed away the afternoon before I was scheduled for surgery on my broken wrist this past summer. As a tribute to my mother-in-law, I made and brought her recipe for Hello Dolly bars to the party. She made them every holiday season for as long as she was able. She was 94 when she passed away.
~Hello Dolly, Goodbye Dearie (my husband’s nickname for his mom)~
The celebration was held in the lovely Victorian home, above, which was built in 1892. The beautiful private home and surrounding land was purchased in the early 1900’s by Milwaukee County and became the Grant Park Golf Course and Clubhouse. It was the county’s very first public golf course with beautiful views overlooking Lake Michigan.
The reason we chose this venue was my mother-in-law was a golfer and member of the ladies’ golf club at Grant Park for over 20 years. My husband grew up playing golf there. The clubhouse is available to rent during the off-season for golf which begins in November so we booked November 5th. This was perfect timing for me as it gave my broken wrist time to heal so I could help plan and enjoy the celebration.
You may already have a Hello Dolly recipe in your family. They are oldies but goodies! I’ve read that the name Hello Dolly cake or bars came from an 11 year old Texas girl who borrowed a recipe from her grandmother in the 1960s and named them for the Broadway musical which was very popular at the time. The recipe had many other names prior to that.
There are many recipes for these bars but my mother-in-law’s recipe was slightly different in that it has butterscotch chips as well as chocolate chips. I’ve even seen a chocolate graham cracker crust version which is a such a great idea. With a buttery graham cracker crust, flaked coconut, chopped walnuts and flavorful blend of chocolate and butterscotch morsels they are almost like eating a candy bar – so delicious!
My mother-in-law would serve Hello Dolly bars to her bridge club when it was her turn to host during the holidays using her favorite china, which my husband and I will use on our table this Thanksgiving.
This holiday season, why not try a great old recipe and make some Hello Dolly bars for your dessert platter? Happiness is making new and preserving old family memories.
So simple and delicious. For variety, try substituting different kinds of nuts, flavored graham crackers or different types of baking chips.
Note: This recipe calls for a 9 x 13 inch metal baking pan (I doubled the recipe and used a 10 x 15 inch baking pan).
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1-1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1-1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chocolate chips ( I used bittersweet chocolate chips)
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix together melted butter and crushed graham crackers. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of a baking pan.
Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the graham crackers, then add the chocolate and butterscotch chips.
Drizzle the entire can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.
May be frozen.
Adapted from the original recipe printed on the label of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk years ago.