A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 22, 2007
Hello Dolly Squares (Hello Dolly Bars; Hello Dolly Cookies; Hello Dolly Cake; Hello Dollies)

The Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964, and became one of the longest-running Broadway shows ever.  The musical features a restaurant scene. The origin of foods named “Hello Dolly” requires some explanation.
Clementine Paddleford’s food column in “The Week ” magazine on September 19, 1965 featured a “Hello Dolly Cake” recipe by 11-year-old Alecia Leigh Couch, of Dallas, that she borrowed from her grandmother. The recipe included graham crack crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and condensed milk. However, on July 22, 1965, the Ada (OK) Evening News had published a similar recipe for “Hello Dolly Cookies.”
Pre-1966, the recipe was variously called “Graham Chip Squares,” “Chocolate Graham Squares,” “Washington Cookies,” “Chewy Delights,” “7-Layer Cookies,” and other names. The popularity of “Hello Dolly squares” has lessened since the 1960s, but there are many recipes on the internet.
Wikipedia: Hello, Dolly! (musical)
Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955.
Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1964, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and nine other Tonys. It has become one of the most enduring musical theatre hits, enjoying three Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into a 1969 film that was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
1 stick butter (melted)
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
Mix and spread on bottom of 8 x 11 inch pan. Then sprinkle the following over this mixture: 1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips 1 can shredded coconut 1 c. chopped walnuts
Over this, pour 1 can Eagle Brand milk. Bake at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. cracker crumbs
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate bits
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1 can condensed milk (not evaporated)
Melt butter. Pour in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle crumbs over butter and pat into a crust. Sprinkle in next three ingredients. Pour milk evenly over entire pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut into squares while warm. Yield: 12 squares as a dessert. 24 as tea cookies.
28 January 1962, Atchison (KS) Globe, pg. 10A, col. 1:
Mrs. Jack Knight
315 Mound
1 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 sq. unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
2 tbs. instant vanilla pudding mix powder
3 tbs. milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 sqs. semi-sweet chocolate
Put 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla in top of doudle boiler, cook over boiling water until well blended. Add egg and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring. Add crumbs, nuts, and coconut. Press into 9x9x2 inch pan. Cool and chill 15 minutes. Cream 1/4 cup butter until fluffy; beat in pudding mix and milk. Add conectioners sugar gradually and beat until smooth .Spread over first layer. Chill 15 minutes. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tbs. butter over low heat. Spread over second layer. Chill until firm. Cut in 1-inch squares. Keep in refrigerator. Makes 81.
17 May 1962, Yuma (AZ) Daily Sun, pg. 17, col. 1:
One (6-ounce) package, semi-sweet chocolate morsels; 2-3 cup sweetened condensed milk; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring; 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts; and 1 cup flaked coconut.
Heat chocolate morsels and condensed milk over hot (not boiling) water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cooky sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool and 2 minutes then remove carefully to wire cooling rack. Makes about 3 dozen patties.
18 July 1962, San Mateo (CA) Times, pg. 45, cols. 4-5:
(This recipe is rich and better the next day.)
20 Graham crackers, rolled fine
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut (if desired)
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into buttered pan and bake in 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven and cut into squares when cool.
27 November 1962, Manitowec (WI) Herald-Times, pg. 4M, col. 6:
Chocolate Graham Squares
1 can (15 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups graham cracker crumbs - 24 squares
1 package (6 ounce) or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 7” x 11” x 1 1/2 ” cake pan. Mix all ingredients thoroughly (do not melt chocolate) and spread in cake pan. Bake 30 minutes. Cool or approximately 15 minutes, then cut in squares. Remove from pan when completely cool.
26 January 1964, Atchison (KS) Globe, pg. 11A, col. 1: 
Mrs. J. F. Haines
1208 North 3rd
2 boxes powdered sugar
1 stick margarine
1 box angel flake coconut
1 small can condensed milk
1 bar paraffin
3 cups crushed pecans
1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
Mix together sugar, melted margarine, coconut, nuts and milk. Roll into small balls. Place on waxed paper and put in refrigerator to chill several hours. Melt paraffin and chocolate chips in double boiler. Place tooth picks in each ball and dip in chocolate mixture. Cool on waxed paper. 
Mrs. Gilbert Wehking
24 graham crackers, crushed
1 pkg. chocolate chips
2 cups coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. coconut flavoring
1/2 tsp. burnt sugar flavoring
Mix well together and beat with spoon. Pat into 9x13-inch pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
14 May 1964, The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), pg. 20, col. 1:
Melt 2 sticks butter and add:
1/2 lb. graham cracker crumbs
1 can angel flake cocoanut
1 C. chopped nuts
1/2 C. crunchy peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
Mix well. Shape in balls about the size of walnuts and dip in the following. Melt 1/2 cake paraffin, add 1 package semi-sweet chocolate bits. Lay on waxed paper to dry.
10 December 1964, North Adams (MA) Transcript, pg. 10, col. 1:
CHEWY DELIGHTS - 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs, 1 1/4 c. (14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk, 1 c. (6 oz. pkg.) chocolate bits, 1 c. (6 oz. pkg.) chocolate bits, 1 c. ( 6 oz. pkg.) butterscotch bits, 1 c. chopped nuts.
1. Combine all of the ingredients and stir. 2. Press mixture into greased and waxed paper-lined 9-inch square pan. 3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 4. Cool. 5. Cut in 1 1/2 inch squares. Yield: 3 dozen.
22 July 1965, Ada (OK) Evening News, pg. 6, col. 1:
The cookies are Hello Dolly Cookies. To make: melt one cake of butter or oleo in a 9 by 13 cake pan. Sprinkle 1 cup vanilla wafers or graham cracker crumbs distributed evenly over the melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Add one 6 ounce package of chocolate chips, one cup chopped nuts and one cup of angel flake coconut; over this pour one cup canned milk undiluted. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned, cool, then refrigerate before cutting into squares. Keep left-over cookies refrigerated.
5 August 1965, Denton (TX) Record-Chronicle, “7-Layer Cookies Made By Area Homemaker,” section 2, pg. 2, col. 4:
In a 9x13 cake pan, melt one stick of margarine or butter.
Then sprinkle the following ingredients in order over the butter:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1 small package chocolate bits
1 small package butterscotch bits
1 can condensed milk
1 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Bake in oven or 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Cool and eat.

19 September 1965, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, “Clementine Paddleford Recipe Swap,” This Week magazine, pg. 20, col. 2:
“Hello Dolly” Cake: ALECIA LEIGH COUCH OF DALLAS, TEXAS, 11, is today’s youngest. She sends a cake recipe borrowed from her grandmother, who cooks young, too. The “Hello Dolly” name was Alecia’s idea.
“No need even to mess us a bowl,” Alecia writes, “and that’s the big reason why I call this my favorite cake recipe. And of course it’s good!” Alecia attends the David G. Burnet elementary school and among her many interests, aside from cooking, she is studying piano. She is proficient at oil painting, does still life and is starting on landscapes.
It is during the summer vacation that Alecia helps mother in the home kitchen. She often does the family meal. At a recent party for friends she deviled the eggs and made the hamburgers.
1/4 pound butter or margarine
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped nuts
1 can (15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Melt butter in a 9x9x2-inch pan. Sprinkle in a layer each of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate pieces and nuts. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Cool in pan. Yield: 16 squares.
14 October 1965, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, Suburban Living, pg. ?:
1/4 pound butter or margarine
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 6-ounce package of chocolate chips
1 6-ounce package of butterscotch chips
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 can (15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk.

Melt the butter in a 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the melted shortening. Sprinkle over this the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and nuts. Spread the sweetened condensed milk over all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until light brown, watching carefully. Cut into small bars when cool.
(...) (Cols. 4-5—ed.)
Another recipe that is a special favorite of the Walsh family is Jane Walsh’s Quick Bars.
The method for preparing these bars is unbelievably quick and easy; there is no mixing but the flavorful ingredients are simply assembled in layers—first graham cracker crumbs, then butterscotch and chocolate chips, coconut flakes and chopped nuts. Sweetened condensed milk is poured overall and the ingredients are baked for 20 minutes.
“Not only are they simple to make,” said Mrs. Walsh, “but they can’t fail!”
Cut into small bars when cool, these confections are rich slightly chewy and easy to hold. Adults enjoy them as much as children, and they make an especially nice dessert for buffet dinners.
5 December 1965, Victoria (TX) Advocate, pg. 6B, col. 2:
1 stick margarine
1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Melt the margarine in an 8x8x2 inch pan. Next sprinkle in layers the Graham crackers, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over all. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Let completely cool and then cut in bars.
7 December 1965, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 8B, cols 4-5:
Another recipe to put in the files of things that are good to eat but terribly caloric is the “Hello Dolly” cake. It takes a stick of melted margarine, a cup of crushed vanilla wafers, a cup of coconut, a cup of chocolate chips, a cup of nuts and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Melt the margarine in the baking pan then put in the crumbs and cover them with the chips, then the nuts and the coconut.
Drizzle the condensed milk over the concoction and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
30 December 1965, Lawton (OK) Constitution, pg. 11, col. 1:
Vivian Kemper has concocted a delightful confection she calls “Hello Dolly Cookies.”
19 May 1966, Hubbard (OH) Daily Times, Cook Book and Home Planning Edition, pg. 11, col. 1:
1 stick butter, 1 c. graham cracker crumbs, 1 c. flaked coconut ,1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 c. chopped nuts, 1 can sweetened condensed milk.
Melt butter in 9x9x2 inch pan. Sprinkle in a layer each of crumbs, cocoanut, chocolate chips and nuts. Pour milk over nuts. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Cool in pan. Makes 16 servings.
267 Raymond Dr.
16 June 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “‘Hello Dolly’ Project To Benefit Goodwill,” section E, pg. 6:
(Photo Caption: Alecia Leigh Couch cuts a piece of her “Hello Dolly” Cake for LaDonna Tanner of the Wi-Ka-Ca group of Camp Fire Girls. This cake is being used as a symbol of “Hello Dolly” drive to be conducted by the Dallas County Camp Fire Girls on June 19.)
This is the second year that the Camp Fire Girls of Dallas County are conducting a “Hello Dolly” project for the benefit of Goodwill Industries.
Alecia Leigh Couch of Dallas, who won national fame with her “Hello Dolly” cake, has been kind enough to share her recipe with us. It was first published in This Week magazine by Clementine Paddleford.
1/4 pound butter or margarine.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs.
1 cup flaked coconut.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces.
1 cup chopped nuts.
1 can (15 ounces) condensed milk.
Melt butter in a 9x9x2-inch pan. Sprinkle in a layer each of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate pieces and nuts. Bake at 350 F. (moderate oven) for 30 minutes. Cool in pan. Yield: 16 squares.
Alecia Leigh Couch is eleven years old, and this cake recipe is one that she borrowed from her grandmother. She attend David G. Burnet elementary School and in addition to cooking she is studying piano and is proficient at oil painting. She is donating her time and efforts to the Camp Fire Girls’ Hello Dolly drive.—JULIE BENNELL.
13 July 1966, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, pg. 17, col. 1:
(“a sweet little cookie”)
1 stick butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup angel flake coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup nutmeats
1 can condensed milk
In a square cake tin melt the stick of butter; when melted let it run around the edges. Add remaining ingredients, layer on layer, as listed—pouring the condensed milk over all. Bake at 400 for 1/2 hour. Cut—when cool.
13 December 1966, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “‘Hello Dollies’ Recipe Given,” pg. 6B, col. 1:
Among sweets served at the Harmony Club’s Christmas coffee were cookies made by Mrs. Walter Ford.
Mrs. Ford used a recipe sent her by Mrs. Roy Hildebrand of Oklahoma City, Okla., for “Hello Dollies,” the cookies Carol Channing was supposed to be eating in the hit show, “Hello Dolly.”
“Hello Dollies”
Melt 3/4 c. margarine in 8x8 baking dish or pan.
Sprinkle 1 1/2 to 2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs over margarine.
Over crumbs and margarine add in separate layers:
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 small can Angel Flake coconut
1 c. chopped nuts
Bake 30 min. at 350 degrees. Cool and cut in small squares.
3 December 1968, Long Beach (CA) Independent Press-Telegram, pg. B6, cols. 3-4:
There is a cookie recipe going the rounds that is so easy you wonder why it’s good. I know it must have made its debut on the back panel of a package of something but it combines so many things I would be hard put to guess the company.
Anyway, the cookie recipe was given me by a friend and I found it quite delightful.
1 cube butter melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 pkg. angel flake coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 8-oz. pkg. chocolate bits
1 can condensed milk
Melt the butter in an 8-by-8-inch pan (or a reasonable size), put in the graham crumbs, they will absorb the butter.
Layer the chocolate bits, butterscotch bits, coconut and nuts. When you have finished, pat down and over all the condensed milk. Let it drip through and bake for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Cool and cut into small squares. They may be refrigerated but it’s not necessary…depends on how long you keep them.

29 March 1970, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section E, pg. 6 ad:
News at the Cakery are the new black walnut bar cookies…these are drizzled with black walnut icing and at 15 cents each or two for 25 cents. Also in favorite bars at the same price are their Hello Dolly cookies that are in a most unusual combination of chocolate, butterscotch, chopped nuts, coconut, etc. and goodie to hold it all together. (...) The Cakery, The Quadrangle, 3800 Routh.
12 November 1970 Delta Democrat-Times, pg. 13, col. 2:
Melt 1 stick oleo in 8x10 inch pan. Add 1 cup graham cracker crumb mix and smoothe. Put in 1 pkg. chocolate chips (semi-sweet) and do not spread. Top with 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup coconut and 1 can condensed milk. Cook 30 to 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Cut in 1 inch squares to serve.
5 September 1973, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Bake Shop a Family Interest” by Connie Hershorn, section C, pg. 4:
GINGERBREAD BOYS, Scottish Shortbread, Rum Brownies, Apricot Bars, Macaroons, Hello Dollies, chocolate-cake beer cans, spice-cake cowboy hats, white-cake rocket ships, castles are all offered for eating by The Cakery, a bewitching bakery nestled in the heart of the Quadrangle.
6 February 1977, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Weddings, section E, pg. 8:
Miss Alecia Leigh Couch and Douglas Edward Petty were married in a Feb. 5 ceremony in East Dallas Christian Church, the Rev. Dr. James K. Hempstead officiating. (...) The bride, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Foy Couch Jr., 3342 Kinkaid, is a graduate of Texas Christian University.
Homesick Texan
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Well hello, dolly bars!
Hello Dolly bars are probably the first dessert I ever baked. When I was nine, I had a super-cool grown-up babysitter named Sarah, and when she was in charge of me, fun things always happened. Whether it was ice skating at the Houston Galleria, taking me to see silly movies such as Donny and Marie Osmond’s “Goin’ Coconuts,” or just baking in her kitchen, she was always a blast.
Her specialty was Hello Dolly bars (also known as magic bars or seven-layer bars, but does anyone know how they gained the musical moniker?), and almost every time she babysat me, we’d whip up a batch of these simple yet delicious treats.
Smitten Kitchen
Monday, October 8, 2007
lookin’ swell, dolly
Hello Dolly Bars
Adapted from Homesick Texan, and memory
These are sticky, gooey and both chewy and crunchy and seriously, intensely sweet, but you won’t mind, especially when you find out they take 30 minutes to make.
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into large pieces
1½ cups graham crackers crumbs (about 8 graham crackers, pulsed in a food processor)
1½ cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (just under half a small can)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in microwave in heatproof bowl until just melted when stirred. Add graham cracker crumbs. Mix and then press evenly into the bottom of 8×8 baking pan.
Layer coconut, pecans, butterscotch and chocolate chips on top of graham cracker base. Pour sweetened condensed milk over whole mixture.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is light brown.
Like all brownie and cookie bars, I find them easier to cut cleanly once they’ve been thoroughly cooled in the fridge, but I also don’t expect you to be able to wait that long.
Because they’re so sweet, I like to cut them into really tiny squares. Those mini-cupcake liners come in handy as well, too, so they don’t all cluster together, not that anyone would mind.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Saturday, December 22, 2007 • Permalink

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