One of my favorite memories from childhood was coming home from school to find that my mom had whipped up some tasty treats for me and my sister. Sometimes she’d be busy and only have time to whip up some Mrs. GoodCookie cookies or some brownies from a mix. Sometimes we’d get lucky and she’d make some cookies or a cake from scratch. But if we were really lucky, she’d make Hello Dolly Squares.
She got the recipe from a Betty Crocker “Cookbook for Girls” she had as a little kid. It was one of her favorite cookbooks, and Hello Dolly Squares were her favorite recipe from the book. Years passed, and I found the cookbook one day at my grandmother’s house. I liked to cook when I was a kid, so I eagerly took the cookbook home and made all kinds of tasty treats… but none left the impression on me that the Hello Dolly Squares did. It’s a recipe that automatically makes me think of Mom and home!
This recipe is a shortcut adaptation of the original. It uses a pre-made graham cracker crust. To be completely authentic, buy a box of graham cracker crumbs, mix them with a stick of melted butter, and press into an 8×8″ baking dish. But since I’m lazy, I came up with the following instead:
1 graham cracker crust
1 11oz. bag of milk chocolate chips (not semi-sweet chips!)
1 11oz. bag of shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can opener or church key
1 cookie sheet (optional, see below)
1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Open pie crust (tip: keep the crust’s plastic cover. After a quick wash, you can flip it upside down to use as a cover!)
3) Put a layer of chocolate chips on the bottom of the crust, then top with a layer of coconut. You want roughly equal layers that almost come to the top of the crust, but not quite.
4) Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the coconut.
5) Optional: it’s a really good idea to put the pie crust on a cookie sheet as the condensed milk might spill over the sides when cooking.
6) Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. You might want to put the squares under the broiler for a minute or two to make the top golden brown and delicious.
7) Remove from oven when done, then allow to cool completely.
8) Place squares in refrigerator for several hours (to allow the chocolate to harden).
9) Remove from fridge several hours before serving.
Note: You will have plenty of leftover chocolate chips and coconut. In fact, the smallest bags that I could find of either ingredient (11oz.) were enough to make three “batches” of this recipe. So if you want to double (or triple) this recipe, you only need to buy additional crusts and cans of milk.