Have you ever had a Hello Dolly square? I have never seen them available in Ireland, but we used to sell them in a restaurant in Toronto where I once worked. They are extremely popular in Canada. It is likely because of the many different textures and flavours they encompass – for one little square, it does pack a punch.
These squares start with a base of crushed graham crackers (if you're in North America) or, here in Ireland, digestive biscuits mixed with (probably too much) melted butter.
Then, you layer your favourite chocolate (milk, dark or white), pecans and coconut.
Before baking to a golden brown, you drizzle an entire tin of sweetened condensed milk over the top. The condensed milk binds everything together to an almost-fudgy consistency.
The days have been pretty dreary lately, at least here in Tipperary, so we need to find a bit of sweetness wherever we can get it.
For a traybake with a lot going on, these squares are really easy to make and they're great for getting little hands involved in baking. Breaking up chocolate, crushing biscuits and the overall assembly of the bake provides problem solving skills, maths and helps fine motor skills, so why not include these in your next homeschooling lesson (they also provide a nice treat at the end – you deserve it!).
Makes 24 portions
250g melted butter
400g package digestive biscuits, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
250g chocolate, roughly chopped
200g pecans, whole or roughly chopped
150g desiccated coconut or coconut chips
Can of sweetened condensed milk (400ml)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular traybake tin with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a food processor or mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, crushed biscuits, salt and vanilla until well combined. Press this mixture tightly into the bottom of the lined tin.
3. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the top, then add the pecans.
4. Top the pecans/chocolate with the desiccated coconut.
5. Evenly drizzle the top with the sweetened condensed milk.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. It's finished when the coconut starts to toast and turn golden brown and any visible bottom crust has browned. If it's browning too quickly, cover the top with some foil for the remainder of the bake.
7. Cool completely in the tray for a couple of hours. For best results, once the sqaures reach room temperature, refrigerate for a further hour.
8. Remove from the tin and slice into equal portions.
*These delicious squares will keep up to a week in an airtight container.