Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rain and Gooey Cookies

We have been having a severe drought. Really bad. Winter is the time when Mother Nature usually gives our area of the country lots of water since once spring comes we usually don't see rain again until October.This year there has been virtually no rain, until this past weekend. Oh, there may have been a drizzle here and a brief shower there, but no rain to soak into the ground and replenish the water table and give the plants and trees and shrubs a drink. Then we had about 9 inches from Friday through Sunday. Yay!

Sweetie and I went for a walk yesterday to see the changes. At the Laguna the frogs were singing loudly, the red wing blackbirds were calling to each other, and the lumpy birds that we think are a kind of heron were back in the trees. They are usually here all December and January, but this is the first we have seen them. The Laguna itself was well past its banks, flooding the path we usually take

 and the nearby fields, too.


Today I made an early Valentine's gift for some friends. I used to call these seven-layer bars, but an even older name is Hello Dolly or Hey There Doll Face bars, an easy and quick layering of buttery graham cracker crumb crust, sweetened condensed milk, nuts, chocolate chips and coconut. I think that for seven layers there were also white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, but I like this version better. It is still pretty ooey gooey and sweet, so your really only need small portions.

I got this version from a cookbook that Sweetie gave me for Christmas, Butter Baked Goods, by Rosie Daykin. She owns and operates a bake shop. By the looks of her recipes, I wish she had one near by. Recipes for lovely cakes, cookies, treats and breakfast goodies can be found in the book. Yay!

"Hey There, Doll Face" Bars
from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin

These quick to put together bar cookies are ooey, gooey, and a classic, combining graham crackers, pecans, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk.

3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup condensed milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened fancy long shred coconut

Makes 16 bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 9-inch baking pan by buttering it and lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Stir the nuts after about 5 minutes to ensure even toasting. Remove from the oven and cool. Chop lightly and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl and pour the melted butter over the crumbs. Mix well to combine. Press the crumb mixture in the prepared 9 x 9-inch pan and press down firmly and evenly to make a crust. Spread the condensed milk over the crumb crust with the back of a spoon.

In another bowl, mix together the toasted pecans, chocolate chips and coconut. Sprinkle the mixture over the condensed milk in the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 17 minutes, or until the coconut is just lightly browned.
Removed from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan.

Run a small knife along the edges of the pan. Carefully remove the slab from the pan and cut into approximately 2 x 2-inch bars. Make sure to use at least a 10-inch knife to avoid cutting and dragging the knife across the bars (instead press the sharp, long knife down through the bars to cut them).

Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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