Hello Dollys

You’re lookin’ swell, Dollys.

Hello Dolly Bars by alanagkelly, on Flickr (CC License). See Alana’s recipe and process over at her blog, Sunshine and Bones.

These have caused a bit of confusion in that they also travel under the name “magic bars.” It’d be tempting to believe that magic bars was the original name and that the name of the 1964 musical hit “Hello, Dolly!” was adopted at some point thereafter, but as far as I can figure, the recipe shows up one year after the musical in under the name “Hello Dolly cookies” and doesn’t show up under the name magic bars until a 1968 advertisement for Eagle brand condensed milk.

Here’s a version from the February 28, 1973 edition of the Jefferson City, Missouri Daily Capital News:

Hello Dolly’s
Mrs. Terry Bradshaw
301 W. Ashley St.


1 stick butter
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 pkg. coconut flakes
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Melt butter in 8 inch cake pan. Sprinkle crumbs over it and stir to make a bottom crust. Sprinkle coconut over crust. Then add chocolate chips and pecans in separate lawyers. Drizzle milk over all and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool and cut into pieces.

Or if you prefer a recipe that doesn’t abuse apostrophes to imply possession where it isn’t intended (probably…) here’s a version from the March 20, 1968 edition of the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Herald:

Hello Dollies

Melt 1/4 lb. butter in baking pan in the oven and then mix in 1 cup crushed graham crackers and pat down firmly. Add 1 cup coconut, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup pecans, whole or chopped. Pour over 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Bake in an 8 x 9 inch pan and in a 340 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting.

So far, the earliest mention I’ve found is under the name “Hello Dolly” cookies, in the July 6, 1965 edition of The Hutchinson (Kansas) News:

Favorite Recipe
“Hello Dolly” Cookies

1 stick margarine, melted
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. walnuts
1 c. coconut
1 can heavy condensed milk

Mix melted margarine and graham cracker crumbs and shape into a 9×9 inch pan. Put in layers on top the chocolate, walnuts, coconut and finally the condensed milk. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cut only when cold.

Mrs. Don P. Miller
1307 North Forrest, Hutchinson


Send your best recipes to Favorite Recipe. The Hutchinson News, Hutchinson, Kan. The recipes are judged by Jane Savage, home service director of the Gas Service Company. Each one chosen for publication wins a $1 award.


From a box sold in River Forest, Illinois.

Hello Dollys

1/4 lb. butter
1 to 1-1/4 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecans chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed milk

Melt butter in 11″ by 7″ or 13″ by 9″ baking pan.

Sprinkle crumbs over surface; follow with layers of coconut, nuts, chips. Finish by pouring milk over entire top. Bake 25-30 minutes in 350 deg. oven.

One Comment

  1. Tony

    My Mother passed away 2 years ago, these cookies were a Christmas tradition of her’s
    Because she lived 1000 miles away, she would mail these to us for Christmas up until her last Christmas when she was 91. We were never able to find her recipe. I was surfing the internet a few nights ago and found your website with the hand written recipe, I showed it to my wife and she exclaimed. “OMG that looks like your Mother’s hand writing!”. It’s not, but as soon as I finish this reply I am going to make them. Thanks for finding the history of these, I think I was in high school when she first made the (in the late 60’s). Thank you and Merry Christmas.

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