Coconut desserts are commonly served on Easter in the South.  Coconut desserts are also popular around Christmastime.  I’m not too sure why some desserts are associated with certain times of the year in the South, but all I know is: don’t mess with it.  If you make a fruit pie at Christmas, we’re gonna look at you funny and assume you’re from up north.  Along those same lines, it’s a sin if your 4th of July dessert doesn’t involve blueberries and strawberries (most commonly in the form of a flag cake).  This unspoken tradition of food pairing goes for meals, too.  If you really want to make my Mom raise her eyebrow, serve unconventional sides with barbecue.  Peas and brisket?  No thanks!  “Where’s the potato salad?,” she’ll ask.  Of course, my Mom is a true Southern belle and would never say a bad word about anybody, but she just might question your upbringing silently to herself.

Hello Dolly bars are great for Easter because they’re quick and easy to make.  It might seem odd to pour ingredients on top of a crust and bake without stirring, but go with it—you’ll be rewarded with rich cookie bars that will soon become your new favorite dessert.

Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly Bars
Yields 2 bars about 4.5" x 2.5" each. Scaled down from Southern Living.

Ingredients

  • 4 graham cracker sheets (or ½ cup crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease a 9” x 5” x 3” bread loaf pan.
  2. Pulverize graham cracker sheets (if they aren’t already) and stir together with butter and sugar. Press this mixture into the bread loaf pan, packing firmly to create a flat crust. Bake for 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, sprinkle over pecans, chocolate and coconut. Slowly drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over top, return to the oven and bake for another 18-21 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and bubbling. Let cool completely before cutting.


*Tip:  To use up left-over sweetened condensed milk, see these recipes: Fantasy fudge, Tres Leches Cake, Blackberry Buttermilk Ice Cream Pie