Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hello Dolly Bars


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.



Hello Dolly Bars

Printable Recipe

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.

43 comments:

  1. What a sweet memorial to your mother-in-law. You had such a crazy summer, I'm happy you were able to enjoy such a precious time with family. The Hello Dolly Bars sound wonderful!

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    1. It was a crazy summer, Chris! One I hope not to repeat :) Thanks so much for your kind thoughts.

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  2. I am going to make these and think of you:) I will find butterscotch chips..you were wonderful in orchestrating the event w/ your family..♥
    What a gorgeous clubhouse..and the bridge tally?That was my parents game of choice..
    The boys♥

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    1. Thank you, Monique, I think you will love them ♥ I'm sorry I've waited so long to make them myself. The girls thought they were a perfect way to remember her through their taste buds :) Isn't it a pretty place? It's a little run down being a county-run building but the inside is so charming! Everyone said Carol would have loved the party there :) I wish we knew more people that still played bridge. It's a great game.

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    2. I think they are our vesion of Magic Bars too..but I want to try w/ butterscotch..the clubhouse looks like homes I love at the Cape:)

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    3. Magic Bars is one of the names I've seen :) I love the combination of butterscotch and chocolate and I'm in love with that old clubhouse!

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  3. They are also called Magic Bars in my family, but I like the Hello Dolly name better! They really are marvelous. It is good for family to get together and share happy memories...94 years worth of them.

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    1. Thank you, Vee. They are delicious :) We were so happy so many people were able to join us to remember her.

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  4. Thank you for sharing with us your sweet memories Susan, your mother in law was a smart woman. These bars sound delicious and the smile of your nephew is very charming!Warm hugs

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  5. I started making variations of these the last few years-I love them! Sounds like a nice tribute to your mother in law.

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    1. There are so many possibilities with these, Lynn! Thanks!

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  6. Hi Susan - this is such a lovely post with a wonderful heartfelt tribute to your mother-in-law. I love these cookie bars too - they look amazing! Have a beautiful Sunday :)

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    1. Thank you, Tricia! It is a beautiful Sunday and a beautiful November so far.

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  7. That's a sweet tribute to your late mother-in-law, Susan. And these bars look rich and awesome!

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    1. Thanks so much, Angie! Yes, they are rich and totally indulgent. Perfect for the holidays :)

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  8. Susan what a beautiful tribute to Carol. My mom made these bars for every event and added nuts. and they were called Seven Layer Cookies. I love them! Hope your November weather is as beautiful as ours.

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    1. Sever Layer Bars is another name I found when I was doing my research, Debbie. I love the walnuts in these but I think pecans would taste wonderful too. Yes, we are having a wonderful November so far. Sunny, dry and fairly mild. Wonder how long that will last? :)

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    2. I remember when our weather was cold enough that I could use my breezeway to store food for our Thanksgiving dinner. That won't be happening this year :-)

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  9. What a wonderful way to honor your mother-in-law Susan, so thoughtful and what a beautiful place.

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  10. Whatever you call them, they are one of my faves. What a wonderful memory! I remember that china, too! So nice you have something so sweet to be grateful for! And I'm glad you are feeling better!

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    1. With Thanksgiving just a week away, it is nice to be grateful for many happy memories too. Thank you, Abbe!

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  11. I've not heard of them but I certainly am happy that you shared your sweet MIL's recipe with us…I'm sure it would make her happy.

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    1. That is what many of our guests mentioned - how much she would have loved the party ;) Thank you, Karen!

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  12. What a lovely tribute to your mother in law. Sounds like you were both lucky to have one another. I love Hello Dollies but I bet they'll never taste as good as when your MIL made them, at least not to your hubby. So sorry for your loss!

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  13. They're new to me but look very delicious! Happy sweet memories for your MIL for sure. Beautiful Victorian home. Hope your doing well. Take care

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    1. They are known by many different names. Thanks so much, Pam!

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  14. So sorry about your mother-in-law. These bars are what I used to call "miracle bars" and I always loved them. Hope your wrist is healing ok.

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  15. I'm sorry for your loss, I was devastated when my mother in law passed away. These bars do look amazing, I can't wait to try them!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sue! They are delicious and a great memory of her :)

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  16. What a nice way to remember your mother in law, Susan. These look like what I've always called magic cookie bars. Whatever you call them, they're delicious, and that china is so beautiful! :)

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  17. What a lovely story about your MIL. I adored mine too. Weren't we the lucky ones? Hello Dolly bars are kid friendly...and disastrous to my diet. Luckily, I don't have kids coming Thanksgiving, but my daughter only and I made her some chocolate sparkle cookies. You know me and chocolate...I won't eat those! :)
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL!

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  18. Your Mother-in-Law sounds like one special lady and what a beautiful setting for her memorial! The Hello Dolly bars also sound like the perfect culinary tribute and I look forward to trying them myself. I especially love the sound of butterscotch AND chocolate chips - YUM! So glad to hear your wrist is healing and you were able to participate in the planning of the special event. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe and I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving as well!

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  19. My condolence son the loss of your Mother-in-law, Susan. Her Memorial service setting looked lovely and it was so nice you made her special treat for all to share in her memory. The Hello Dolly bars look fabulous! I know they would also be enjoyed by my family. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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  20. A lovey tribute to the memories of your mother-in-law. The Victorian Home is beautiful!
    The bars looks divine and I'm sure very delicious! Preserving family recipes is a wonderful gift to pass on to the next generation!
    Glad to know that your wrist is healing well. You have a very cute grandson!

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  21. So glad to see you are doing better! What a lovely tribute to your mother in law. We love those bars and love the butterscotch chips addition. Have a great Sunday!
    Xo

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  22. What a beautiful tribute to your MIL. As long as people who left us stay in our hearts and thoughts they are never forgotten. These bars are killers haha! Perfect for my sweet tooth and so bad for my diet!

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  23. Great way to honor your MIL. I still make many of my Mother's recipes to the delight of her Grandkids. Katerina is right, it is a way to keep them alive in our memories.

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  24. These bars look like a wonderful treat, Susan! Making one of her signature dishes is a perfect way to honor her memory. That old home is beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  25. The celebration of your mother-in-law sounds like a lovely way to remember her and making the Dolly bars was a perfect idea. They do look delicious and I'm sure they are enjoyed by everyone.

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