Apple Hello Dollies are the perfect fall cookie bar. Turn up the flavor with roasted apples, brown butter graham cracker crumbs and butterscotch chips.
Apple Hello Dollies are also called magic bars or seven layer bars; all versions start with a cookie crumb base.
Buy ready made plain graham cracker crumbs or for a gluten free version, crush your own favorite gluten free plain cookies.
A typical layer bar is made with chocolate chips, but you can substitute any kind of chip or baking candy, such as butterscotch chips.
Two tips to turn up the flavor in these delicious cookie bars:
Brown the butter
Heat butter until it starts to brown, then pour immediately into a bowl of cookie crumbs and cinnamon sugar.
The result is a nutty, spicy crust that goes really well with apples and butterscotch.
Roast the apples
before adding them to the cookies. (I learned this from my favorite food blogger, Smitten Kitchen.)
The result is a custard-like, almost caramelized apple filling that makes these apple hello dollies so unique.
Bonus: your entire house will smell like apple pie!
Short on time?
Skip roasting the apples (and browning the butter) and the bars will still taste great.
For easier cutting, place cooled, baked cookie bars in the freezer for an hour.
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Serves: 32 squares
- 1 large or 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, cut in half
- 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 6 oz. butterscotch chips
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 3 oz unsweetened shredded coconut
- 10 oz sweetened condensed milk (about ¾s of a small can)
- Preheat oven to 450 F and line an 8 x 8 square baking pan and sides with foil or parchment.
- Roast apples: Place peeled, cored apple halves on a foil lined baking sheet and bake 20 - 30 minutes, until edges start to brown and apples soften. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325 F. Chop cooled apples into bite sized chunks and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker or cookie crumbs, cinnamon and sugar. Place beside stove top.
- In a small skillet, stir butter over medium heat until boiling. Continue stirring another 3 - 4 minutes until butter starts to brown, then remove immediately and pour over cookie mixture. Stir to combine, then pat evenly into the bottom and sides of pan.
- Sprinkle apple chunks over crust, reserving a ¼ inch border all around edges.
- Next, layer on butterscotch chips, nuts and coconut.
- Drizzle condensed milk over top to cover evenly.
- Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, until they turn a light caramel color.
- Let cool completely. Tip: freeze bars for one hour before cutting into 32 squares.
- Store covered in a cool, dry place up to one week.