A few weeks ago my brother had a little party at his house. Even though I wasn’t asked to bring anything, I always follow the rule of “never arrive at someone’s home empty handed.” Earlier that week I had stumbled across a recipe for chocolate-coconut bars (I was later informed they were also known as Hello Dollies) and thought they would be perfect. I can’t say I ever really had these growing up, so while they are a popular dessert down South, they were totally new me. I’m so glad I gave them a try! They turned out to be quite delicious and pretty simple to put together.
First, take out some aggression by smashing graham crackers into finely ground pieces in a plastic bag. (Full ingredient list and recipe below). Then mix in sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter.
Pour the crust mixture into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Do as I say, not as I do. I’m clearly using a silicone mat in my pictures because I was completely out of parchment paper. It worked, but wasn’t ideal.)
Then, bake the crust.
After the crust has cooled, top it with some yummy chocolate chips, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut.
Then, place it back in the oven to melt and toast all of that goodness.
Once it’s cooled, remove it from the pan.
This step isn’t necessary, but I wanted to make my Hello Dollies extra decadent and beautiful so I simply melted about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and added a chocolate drizzle to top things off.
And that’s it. Once everything is cool and firm, slice them up, stack them, and serve them.
I can see why these are a Southern favorite! They are a “Michael favorite” now! I just love the combination of toasted coconut and chocolate! If you have yet to make these, stop what you are doing and get baking!
Here’s what you’ll need:
3 cups finely ground graham crackers (12 ounces)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed mik
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Optional: 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (melted) for drizzling at the end
Let’s get baking:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly splash a 10-by-15″ rimmed baking sheet evenly with water, then line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter until combined. Press evenly onto bottom and up sides of prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until firm (about 10 minutes). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle cooled crust evenly with pecans and chocolate. Pour condensed milk over the top, spreading to cover completely (Do not let it drip over the edges.). Sprinkle with coconut.
Bake until coconut is toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Place on wire rack and let cool completely.
If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate. Allow to cool and harden.
Trim edges, if needed, and cut into equal-size bars.
Have you ever made Hello Dollies? How does your recipe compare to this one? Any special tips?