It doesn't matter what you call them, whether its Seven Layer Bars, Magic Bars, or Hello Dolly's, these nostalgic delights are always reason enough to celebrate. To make these classic bars gift-worthy — and even more amazing — I shrunk them down into irresistible chocolate truffle form.
I've probably said it here before, but traditional Christmas cookies just aren't in my bag of tricks. When it comes to homemade holiday gifts, I'd take chocolate cake or fudge sauce over gingersnaps or sugar cookies any day, which is why I am always trying to come up with new ways to put chocolate in shareable form.
When I was brainstorming festive new treats to make for friends, I started by thinking about recipes that I (and everybody else) already love. Seven Layer Bars are a universal favorite, but they just didn't seem "special" enough to give as a gift. Then I started thinking about truffles and how I could get these delicious bars into bite-size form.
After a couple of tests (no-bake or bake? Chocolate coating or none?), I think I nailed them. First you mix all of the ingredients together and press the dough into a pan (as opposed to layering when you make them as bars), then you bake them to bring out all of their ooey-gooey flavors. Finally, you scoop them into balls while they're still warm. After letting the "truffles" cool a bit, you dunk them in a layer of chocolate that forms a soft outer shell.
A sprinkle of coconut or graham cracker crumbs lets the receiver know what yumminess they'll find inside. They are almost too cute to eat, but after one bite they will disappear in an instant!
4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups packed shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits, such as Heath or Skor
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons safflower oil
Graham cracker crumbs and shredded coconut, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8"x8" baking dish and set aside.
Combine the butter and graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl and toss well. Add the condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut, toffee bits, and pecans and stir until completely combined.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and press to distribute evenly. Bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. While the dough is still warm, use a small spring-form ice cream scoop to shape individual balls (straight out of the pan) and place the balls on parchment-lined sheet pans. Refrigerate for thirty minutes until firm.
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a medium saucepan over low to medium-low heat (or in the microwave in 30 second increments) stirring frequently with a silicone spatula to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Stir the oil into the melted chocolate and transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Using one hand, dip the balls in melted chocolate — you don't have to coat the flat bottom surface — and place on a wire rack set over parchment paper. Using your clean hand, sprinkle either graham cracker crumbs or shredded coconut over the truffles. Transfer the truffles to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden the shell. Remove from the refrigerator; truffles can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.