Hello Dolly Bars (also known as Seven-Layer Bars, or Magic Cookie Bars) are one of my favorite things ever. When my gentleman and I went on vacation to Vegas last year, I had a tester sample Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream with pieces of Hello Dolly crumbled up in it. SO AMAZING. So! The bars always are a small batch with a lot of work and they are messy and sticky and would be terrible for a Cookie Monday treat.
BUT THEN I FOUND THIS RECIPE. On Pinterest, of course. It's a standard cookie (with some cornstarch for a nice soft texture) with all the ingredients of a Hello Dolly Bar - coconut, crushed graham crackers, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips. You get all the magical wonder of the cookie bar without the messy sweetened condensed milk (and without the pecans, but you could probably add those in).
Everyone loved these. Even the people who said they hate coconut (an ingredient I've avoided thus far since people have such strong feelings about it). Even THEY loved them. This is probably one of my favorite cookies I've ever made for a Monday and I certainly will make them again.
Maybe next time I'll underbake them by about a minute and then mix them in with some vanilla ice cream. Just like Vegas!
Soft and Chewy Seven Layer Magic Bar Cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers (about 4 whole sheets)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Add the graham crackers (include the fine crumbs too, they act as flour here and are important), chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.
(NOTE: I didn't do this. I stuck the whole mixer bowl in the refrigerator and rolled dough-balls with my hands, then put them directly onto the pan and flattened them. I stuck the bowl back in the refrigerator between batches.)
Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Yield: 22 medium-large cookies