Hello Dolly cookies have been a Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember in my home. These cookies are also known as seven layer bar cookies have butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, pecans, graham crackers, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.
The tradition of Hello Dolly Cookies
We all grow up with different holiday traditions. In my home, Hello Dolly cookies have been a
Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember. These cookies are also known as seven layer bars or magic bars. Whatever they are called, they are deliciously made with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, pecans, graham crackers, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.
Not Your Everyday Cookies
I think these cookies are a real treat because normally we would have never have made something so fancy when doing everyday baking. I can always remember the holidays as the times to cook as fancy as we could, and these cookies were a staple in our cookie gift boxes. Along with chocolate peanut butter balls, pecan sandies, and Chex party mix, Hello Dolly cookies meant it was getting close to Christmas in my house when I was growing up.
Why are they Called Hello Dolly Cookies?
These rich cookies deserve a rich history, which is all bound up with the history of condensed milk. In 1853, Gail Borden began to market condensed milk as a baby formula – it didn’t need refrigeration. In 1856, he began selling a cookie creation of his from a street cart in New York City – it was made with condensed milk. During the Civil War (1861-1865), enormous quantities of Borden's condensed milk were handed out to soldiers as field rations – each 14ounce can packed a walloping 1,300calories! The soldiers told everyone at home how tasty it was, and condensed milk
became a home kitchen staple.
What Happened After Refrigeration Appeared on the Scene?
After refrigerators began appearing in every home, a way was needed to keep condensed milk selling. So Borden offered money for dessert recipes using his sweet concoction. It worked, and condensed milk has remained a home staple ever since. It’s believed that a recipe called Hello Dolly was combined with Borden’s original street cart recipe and marketed as the magic cookie bar recipe on the Eagle brand label in the 1960’s. Read more about Borden’s story by clicking here.
Hello Dolly on Broadway
Borden’s recipe became famous during the 60′s when Hello Dolly was on the Great White Way. The show featured a restaurant scene that inspired Clementine Paddleford – an amazing name and our country’s first food journalist – the original foodie!. She featured a recipe for a Hello Dolly cake in her food column. The recipe included graham cracker crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped
nuts, and condensed milk. Read more about the story of Hello Dolly cookies by clicking here.
Variation on Hello Dolly Cookies
Hello Dolly Cookies
If you want to be more adventurous with your cookie making, you could change the nuts to hazelnuts or perhaps even swap out the butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips. Another idea is to use crushed vanilla wafers instead of graham cracker crumbs – they add a nice extra
Love Cookies? Click here for enough cookie recipes to keep you busy forever – and not just during the holidays!
Hello Dolly Cookies
Hello Dolly cookies are also known as seven layer bars, no matter what you call them, they are still completely delicious.
- 4 ounces melted butter
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 6 ounces butterscotch chips
- 1 cup coconut
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- Melt butter in large pan and sprinkle with the rest of above in order as written. Sprinkle evenly in pan. Pour Borden's Milk over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After it has cooled cut into squares.
Source Virginia McDowell. Jefferson City, Mo. 1966. This is a favorite of mine; we generally make this around X-mas.