“These are not State-of-Mainish in any way,” wrote Marjorie Standish in Cooking Down East, 1969, “except just about everyone in Maine makes them.” Back the ‘60s, when I was busy being an awkward teenager, the whole darn country was apparently making these. And humming along with Carol Channing in the Broadway musical. Is that why they are called Hello Dolly Squares? Maybe. They are also called Magic Squares and there is a version with seven ingredients called Seven Layer Squares.
I bumped into these while working on a compilation of Marjorie Standish recipes which appeared in print this spring. While Mrs. Standish included lots of truly traditional Maine recipes in her columns and books, this one is a thoroughly Modern Millie recipe. Icky-sticky tooth-achingly sweet and an absolute snap to put together. Plus you can memorize this recipe easily because it is one cup of everything except butter which is one stick. It leaves you with a part of a can of sweetened condensed milk which you can use in your coffee or tea if you like milk and sugar added.
You can dial back some of the sweetness by using unsweetened coconut flakes and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. Mrs. Standish said to cut them into “very small squares,” good advice because a little goes a long way.
Now, on Friday this week, at Rooster Brother in Ellsworth, you will find me and the book of Marge’s recipes I mentioned above entitled Cooking Maine Style. I hope you can make time to stop by and say hello. I’ll be there between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 along with something from the book for you to taste. Maybe blueberry cake or how about Hello Dolly Squares?
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup graham crumbs
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 cup chocolate bits
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- Heat an oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter in a 9-by-9-inch pan.
- Sprinkle in the graham crackers and mix them around a bit until the butter has soaked into the crumbs.
- Then sprinkle on coconut, unmelted chocolate bits and nuts., making sure you have ingredients in each corner.
- Pour condensed milk on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool in pan and cut in very small squares.