Holiday Hello Dolly Bars Recipe

American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

Holiday Hello Dolly Bars Recipe

[Photograph: Pam Parrella]

This recipe is based on the classic Hello Dolly/7-Layer Bar/Magic Square recipe which traditionally includes a butter and graham cracker crumb crust topped with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and nuts. But play around—the form is perfect for customization.

Most recipes use semi-sweet chocolate chips and sweetened flake or shredded coconut, but if you have access to really good dark chocolate chips and unsweetened shredded coconut, it will cut the sweetness factor substantially. Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts if you'd like, or make them your own by subbing your favorite holiday cookie for the base.

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  • Yield:serves 20
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. 1.

    Move oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Pour melted butter into 8- by 12-inch baking dish. Swirl around to evenly distributed the butter. Add ginger snap crumbs and toss until crumbs are thoroughly coated. Distribute crumbs and press into pan.

  2. 2.

    Pour sweetened condensed milk over the ginger snap crust and gently spread with a spatula to evenly distribute it. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips, coconut, crystallized ginger, and salt.

  3. 3.

    Bake until crust and edges begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes then cut into squares to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.