Just as many of my husband’s Middle Eastern cooking traditions have infiltrated my Midwestern family, some of my Midwestern baking traditions have circulated through my husband’s family. While I was visiting my sister-in-law recently, she asked me for a recipe I had taught my husband’s aunt a few years before. In my family we call these Santa Snacks. My bestie refers to them as “Hello Dollies”. They are eggless, as easy as possible to make, and are open to some variations. They also effortly serve as the missing link between cookie and candy bar.
What you’ll need to make them:
a 9×12 baking dish or jelly roll pan
a one cup measuring cup or; in a pinch, a standard size coffee mug
To start, melt 1 stick of butter in the pan/dish over low heat on top of the stove. (You can melt the butter in the microwave but I like the bit of browned butter taste it adds to the cookies to melt it in the pan.)
Add one cup/mug of shredded coconut and one cup/mug of graham cracker crumbs. If the holidays are stressing you out, feel free to buy whole graham crackers and beat them to a pulp with a rolling pin to get the crumbs. If you’re more mellow, the food processor works just fine.
Mix these together and spread them out to cover the bottom of the pan. This will end up being the bottom crust.
After you spread out the butter/crumb/coconut mixture, scatter over the top:
1 cup/mug semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup/mug of chopped pecans
Finally pop open one can of sweetened condensed milk and slowly drizzle it over the entire cookie mixture more or less evenly.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, just until the milky topping has turned golden. Let rest about 10 minutes, then cut into squares while still warm.
Walnuts work fine with this recipe. If you prefer almonds, use the slivered kind to get the right crunchy counterpoint to the oozy chocolate. I find white chocolate and milk chocolate a little cloying for this, but if you like things super sweet or want to mix a few kinds of chocolate together, knock yourself out.
Whole wheat digestive biscuits or vanilla wafers can be used in place of the graham cracker crumbs.