Friday, January 31, 2014

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bars

This could end up being a real problem. Just being honest.

Lots of desserts could philosophically be called "a problem", but lots of desserts don't taste *quite* this good & gooey and lots of desserts involve complicated measuring and blending and multiple bowls and spatulas and careful monitoring and the mortal fear of "over-mixing", whatever the heck that is.

Here's what these involve:
Graham crackers, butter, chocolate chips, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk.

Also these:
9x13, spoon, oven.

The ingredient list may seem on the long side for all this yammering, but that's because you don't know the really good news yet.  

There's no measuring.

Also, no extra bowls that have to be hand washed because they take up too much space in the dishwasher and who needs that?

Take one of the paper packages of graham crackers out of the box, rough-crumble them into a ziploc bag, then beat them about the face and head with the flat side of a meat tenderizer. Or give the bag to your rogue 5-year old and let him unleash his pent-up 5-ishness. Or jump on the bag with your own stocking feet because you can and it's already been a long winter.

Pour the crumbs (1.5-2 cups) into your baking dish and stir in one stick of melted butter. Press into the pan.

Cover the top with a layer of chocolate chips (about half a bag, but who's to say you won't want more?)

Add the pecans (I tossed my pecan halves into the same ziploc and broke them up with my hands then pounded them a bit, but I wanted some pretty large pieces so I still have a bit of snow-rage cooped up inside my frozen heart.)

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. This will give it that zippy Mexican Hot Chocolate flavor, delighting your people and especially yourself.

Toss around most of a bag of flaked, sweetened coconut (about 1.5 cups total)

Drizzle one can of sweetened condensed milk over everything.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until everything is golden and the house is filled with the kind of scent that renders your children manic.

Cool. Slice. Eat.

All of the measurements are subject to tweaking, the possibilities for extra ingredients or modifications are endless, and it could pretty easily be made gluten-free, by replacing the graham crackers with a different base layer (crushed Chex cereal!)

Listen, I don't know everything about these bars, but I do know they make an oddly decadent, adult-approved dessert. They're a great chaser to pasta and chopped salad. They've proven to be the perfect ending to staying up until 2 a.m. with a soul-mate. And they'll convince you in your weakened state of exhaustion that even breakfast deserves a dessert course.

Happy weekending, Pals!


  1. I LOVE dessert after breakfast! As a matter of fact, I love dessert BEFORE breakfast. Even better, I love dessert FOR breakfast! :-)

  2. My husband loves German chocolate cake with the coconut frosting so these bars will be a hit with him and the no measuring sounds like a treat to me! Happy (hopefully warmer) weekend.

  3. Any good ideas for substitutes for the coconut? My hubby won't eat coconut. But without it the dish might not be moist enough? Ideas?

  4. Beth Hertz - make it with coconut for yourself! Let him eat something else!

  5. My mom used to make these and she called them "Hip Hugger Bars".
    I wonder why?

  6. Three things:
    1. My teeth hurt just looking at these
    2. I love sweets that make my teeth hurt
    3. I want to be snowed in at your house.

  7. You do know that you can buy graham cracker crumbs already all boxed up, right? Or is that a canadian thing? But that wouldn't make sense since technically we should have much more snow-rage than you south-of-the-borderers, so we should need the bashing more than you. Anyhoo, looks DELISH and I must go and try it.

    1. Bashing the crackers is half the fun of this dessert! :)

  8. I think the pan accompanied simply by a fork would be nice. :-)

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  10. Now you're speaking my love language.

  11. We call these 7 layer bars and put butterscotch chips in them, and no pecans. I think.

  12. These are yummy! We call them Hello Dollies.

  13. Very much a "mummy treat' these. In New Zealand we call this magic slice.

  14. We call these "six layer bars" at our house! They are especially good with half chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips! Yum-O!!

  15. Baked goods can change the word... just sayin'! :-)

    Will definitely be trying these out for our next gathering (aka dinner on a tuesday)! Thanks so much! YUM-O!