Friday, March 9, 2012

Hello Dolly and a little history

When I was younger I worked at a bakery counter and they had these delicious treats called "Hello Dollies". I never questioned the name, they were delicious and that is really all that mattered. I had forgotten about them until I came across a recipe while looking for something else entirely. I knew I needed to make them,  now they were back in my head and would not get out. I even made a special trip to the store to get coconut.

Then I started to wonder, why Hello Dolly? Apparently alot of other people out in blog land wondered too, I found a ton of variations and speculation. I wanted answers! I kept digging. I finally found the answer I was looking for on She had a picture of a recipe card written by her grandmother, I knew I was on to something. She had the same information I had read on others blogs but she took it a step further. Here is what she found.
"The recipe became famous during the 60′s when Hello Dolly was on Broadway. During the show, there is a restaurant scene. Clementine Paddleford’s (our countries first food journalist, the original foodie!) food column in “The Week “ magazine on September 19, 1965 featured a “Hello Dolly Cake” which an 11 year old girl borrowed from her grandmother. The recipe included graham crack crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and condensed milk.

Here is the article, love that she had this on her blog, this is what I was looking for:

19 September 1965, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “Clementine Paddleford Recipe Swap,” This Week magazine, pg. 20, col. 2: “Hello Dolly” Cake: ALECIA LEIGH COUCH OF DALLAS, TEXAS, 11, is today’s youngest. She sends a cake recipe borrowed from her grandmother, who cooks young, too. The “Hello Dolly” name was Alecia’s idea. “No need even to mess us a bowl,” Alecia writes, “and that’s the big reason why I call this my favorite cake recipe. And of course it’s good!”

However, I also found that on July 22, 1965, the Ada (OK) Evening News had published a similar recipe for “Hello Dolly Cookies.” So no one knows where the original recipe came from, maybe the back of a sweetened condensed milk can. It also has many different names.... Magic bars, 7-layer bars.... on and on. I've never seen one cookie have so many different names. One thing remains the same, they are delicious and you must try them!

Mystery solved... we may not know the origin of the bar, but at least we figured out how they came by the "Hello Dolly" name.

Here is how I made mine:

You will need:
3 cups Chocolate Graham Crackers
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 can (14oz) of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Crush the graham crackers I and melt the butter. Mix together.

Line a 9x13 pan with parchment and press the graham cracker butter mix onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating once. Let cool.

Once cooled sprinkle on the nuts.

Add the chocolate chips.

Next, pour on the sweetened condensed milk.

Lastly, sprinkle on the coconut.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until coconut is toasted.

Let cool, or if your like me, grab a knife and fork and dig in.


Baking from my heart to your kitchen,


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I love you for reading and posting on my blog! It makes me Happy, A great big Thank You!

  2. Oh my word, the coconut on top makes my mouth water! These look amazing.

  3. These are some of my favorite, bars/cookies. I never thought of changing the type of graham crackers, how smart you are! Now the possibilities are endless.

  4. More to the story, sometime in the late 60's the recipe was submitted by Carol Channing for an interview she did for one of the Summer Weekly Reader issues (if anyone remembers the Weekly Readers, a newspaper for kids printed by Scholastic I believe). Carol was then starring in the play Hello Dolly when it was playing on Broadway. I was 8 years old at the time and Hello Dolly bars were one of the first dishes that I learned to make by myself.


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  6. My family uses vanilla wafers instead of Graham crackers

  7. i use a shortbread base and it is great. also add some butterscotch chips yum.

  8. I wonder what bakery it was that sold these. I worked the counter at the Mesa Store Bakery in Aspen 1975-1976 selling Hello Dollies.

  9. My wife makes these same cookies for Christmas baking. Her twist is to use crushed ‘Nilla wafers rather than graham crackers. Delicious!

  10. I have a blue bakery rack that is in good shape, a round one that is in bad shape like yours. Both belonged to my grandmother. Another one like yours I got from the neighbor. But it is missing a wheel.