Alumnae Bars Are an Old Family Favorite

IMG_2053During the holiday season, the amount of desserts I make increases exponentially. Over the past week alone I’ve made an orange cream tart, lemon bars, coconut cream pie, and now these alumnae bars (I haven’t even figured out what kind of Christmas cookies I’m going to make!). Although this recipe has been in my family for longer than I’ve been alive, this is the first time I’ve ever personally made them. My great aunt is the one who introduced the family to these easy to make and oh so delicious bars and my father has kept the tradition alive by passing the recipe on to me. If you have a food processor, it takes about ten minutes to make these very adaptable bars. You can substitute whatever nuts or chocolate you have on hand. I’m not sure why my relatives call them alumnae bars, but I believe some people know them as hello dollies.

Alumnae Bars

1 stick butter, melted
18 graham crackers, from two sleeves, crushed
1 7-ounce bag shredded coconut
1 12-ounce bag butterscotch morsels
1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips (use whatever you have on hand: semisweet, milk chocolate, etc.)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray, if desired to prevent the bars from sticking.
  2. Stir the graham crackers and the melted butter in the pan until all of the crumbs are moistened with butter. Press into the pan covering the entire bottom of the baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle the coconut over the top of the graham cracker layer evenly. Cover with the butterscotch morsels and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top and spread it out with a spatula evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the walnuts evenly over the pan covering everything.
  6. Use your hands to press down on the walnuts, compacting the layers together.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Chill until ready to serve. Once cooled, cut into small 1 to 2-inch square bars. It’s much easier to cut the bars when they are cold.

Makes about 24 bars depending on how you slice them.

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