I’m happy to introduce to you, Hello Dolly Bars!
This recipe (typically a 7-layer sort of bar) has been given a Southwestern touch. The crust is chocolatey, and the body of the bar is full of nuts and coconut and butterscotch chips. It reminds me of a “Kitchen Sink” bar, utilizing bits and pieces of what you have in your pantry. And it’s unlike any recipe I’ve made before!
The Crust: It’s made up of graham crackers, Mexican chocolate, butter and ancho chile powder. I looked all over the place for Mexican chocolate, and I couldn’t find any. So I opted for a 3.5-ounce bar of Belgian Dark Chocolate that I found at Whole Foods. Because… you know, Belgium is right next to Mexico, isn’t it? haha — It turned out totally fine with my substitution, by the way. Ancho Chile Powder can be found in your regular spice aisle.
The body of the bar is a mass mixture of pecans, pepitas (you can usually grab a few of those from a bulk bin at Whole Foods or other health-focused stores), butterscotch chips, coconut and sweetened condensed milk. I must admit… that sounded like a big, hot mess to me. And I’m not super into coconut. But trust me… it works!
It bakes up all golden and pretty like this.
If you’re a serious dessert-person, you’re gonna want to cut this into 9-pieces. Those’ll be 9 very generous pieces of dessert. If you’re more inclined to eat a smaller portion, these generous pieces can be cut in half.
Here’s what a Southwestern Hello Dolly Bar looks like up close. It’s sweet and chocolatey and butterscotchy and full of crunchy texture. I loved it! And YES… I did actually eat one of those generous cuts… the whole thing… all by myself. It was tasty, and it was worth every…single… calorie. But then I put the rest in the freezer, I promise. And it’s a good thing I did because I can now tell you that they freeze well! Just keep them in a covered container and take them out when you’re craving one. I might have done that the next day.
This recipe comes directly from this cookbook: The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi. Meagan is the author of Scarletta Bakes, a blog devoted to recipes with Southwestern flavors. Since I lived in San Diego for 28 years, this is totally my kind of food! Her cookbook includes more than 80 recipes, and there is a photo for every single recipe!! What makes it different is that Micozzi gives Southwestern cuisine a modern twist.
I can’t wait to try these recipes: Navajo Fry Bread, Homemade Chorizo, Roasted Garlic Guacamole, Sweet Glazed Avocado Doughnuts, Skillet-Baked Corn Pudding, Fried Sage Smashed Potatoes, Drunken Black Beans, Fancified Frito Pie, Pomegranate and Lime Chicken Thighs, Peanut Butter and Jelly Empanadas and Grilled Apple Pie. But the recipe I’m MOST EXCITED to try is the Sage & Honey Skillet Biscuits. They sound sooooooo good.
This is a great cookbook for anyone who loves the flavors of the American Southwest!
Hello Dolly Bars
Yield: 9 large pieces
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40min
1 sleeve graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into pieces
1 disk (3.15-ounces) Mexican chocolate, chopped
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile (powder)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) hulled
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup butterscotch chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a large food processor, place the graham crackers, chocolate and butter. Process until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. Coarsely chop the pecans, pepitas and coconut and place in a large bowl. Add the chips and the condensed milk, stirring all ingredients to coat evenly. Spread the mixture in an even layer over the crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Finished bars will be deep golden brown and crisp at the edges. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Note: If you are unable to find pepitas, just increase pecans to 1 1/2 cups. And yes, you can always leave out the Ancho Chile Powder if you don't want that.
Source: RecipeGirl.com (reprinted with permission from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi- Copyright 2013, Hippocrene Books, Inc.