It’s the most wonderful time of year! I don’t know how this year has gone by so quickly, but I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit again! While most people spend most of their pre-Christmas time shopping for everyone on the list for the absolute perfect gifts, I spend day-in and day-out in the kitchen, whipping up batch after batch of Christmas cookies.
Every year, however, I face the same dilemma when it comes to Christmas cookies. I come from a family with endless Christmas traditions: monkey bread on Christmas morning, Swedish meatballs on Christmas eve and our 20-year run of seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are just a few. Our Christmas cookie list is no different. There is a list of everyone’s cookie favorites that I have to make every single year. But for a baker who loves to experiment and bake different things all the time, this drives me insane!
I have come to learn though, that while these cookies are the usual for me and my family, many people haven’t even heard of them. So, in the next couple posts I am going to share our family’s must-have cookies every holiday season for you to enjoy and maybe mix up your own Christmas cookie recipes!
This first recipe is probably the easiest cookie recipe out there. I guess it’s technically not really a cookie… more of a bar, but let’s just expand the definition of a cookie for the time being. I introduce to you… HELLO DOLLIES! They are the ooiest, gooiest bars of all time. Jam-packed with chocolatey, coconutty goodness, Hello Dollies are one of my favorite cookies to whip up in no-time during the holiday season. So turn up that Christmas music and let’s get started!
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter in an 8×8 pan. You could melt this in a measuring cup and pour it into the pan, or if you are using a glass pan like I did, you can just plop the butter into the pan and put the whole thing into the microwave. Once melted, pour in the graham crackers and mix together until the crumbs are moistened, but not completely wet. You should be able to press down the crumbs to form a crust. Feel free to adjust the amount of butter and or crumbs to get the right consistency. I also sprinkle some dry crumbs just on top to make the crust easier to press down.
I made this recipe gluten-free with Kinnikinnick graham cracker crumbs, but if you’d prefer gluten-full Hello Dollies, just use regular graham cracker crumbs. This may force you to alter the amount of crumbs or butter again as butter doesn’t absorb as well into gluten-free crumbs. Also, if you only have graham cracker crumbs, you can make your own crumbs by either crushing them with a rolling pin or in a food processor.
Once the crust is done, layer the coconut and then the chocolate chips. Pour all of the chocolate chips into the pan and make sure they are spread evenly. Finally, pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the chocolate chips. Use a rubber spatula to spread the condensed milk out evenly, without lifting up the chocolate chips.
Place into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool completely before serving. Cut into 1” squares (or as big as you want!) and enjoy. Make sure you leave one to Santa!