Cookie Exchange….crazy or cool?

Alright, I’ve already blown off one “cookie exchange” this December, with the excuse…I don’t bake cookies…I’m NOT a cookie baker…I’m a cookie buyer, blah, blah, blah. And hey, I was pretty happy with my decision.

But when a group of neighbors held a cookie exchange, which is what you see here…women grabbing for cookies…I decided that I would make an effort. One thing I knew I could do is what my Mom calls Hello Dolly bars(recipe below)…others refer to them as 7-layer bars. All I know is they are sin in a 13 X 9 pan. Graham cracker crumbs and butter for the crust, topped with coconut, chocolate chips, walnuts and sweetened condensed milk. Bake and voila…deliciousity. Yes, I know that’s not a word.

The idea of the cookie exchange for those of you like me who have never attended on….you make, let’s say 36 cookies(this if for 12 participants), and so does everyone else.

You bring an extra tray or platter, and go around the table and get 3 of each cookie, so you take home a delightful(presumably) assortment of cookies for the holidays.
I have to say…it was fun. OK, there was also soup eating and wine drinking, but even without this, it would have been fun. And the cookies are good, at least the ones I’ve tried.

Some are fancier than others, true….like the little decorated gingerbread stockings….they must have taken some serious time. Here’s A recipe for Hello Dolly bars…though there are quite a few variations….

Hello Dolly Bars
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts or pecans
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Pour melted butter into an 11×7 or 8×8 cake pan.
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs into pan, and mix well with melted butter to form a crust.
Layer on top of graham-cracker crust chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.
Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, top should be light brown.
Let cool in pan for at least half an hour, cut into bars and serve to delighted fans.

Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk-totally different!


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