Here was a guy who didn't even live in Austin and he was already invited to a Memorial Day BBQ. We'd been back for two years and were invited to none. Therefore in the laws of entertaining and/or human decency, we would be crashing the BBQ.
For me there is only one way to crash a party - armed with food and booze like you're going to a really fun wake. No one will turn you down when you're drowning in bags from Whole Foods. If it's informal, you're a Godsend, making up for those clueless souls who show up empty handed as if their mere presence is sustenance enough. Or if it is a formal gathering, they'll just assume you're with catering.
Things got even more pressure cooker-y when we realized the people whose BBQ we were crashing were also going to be our new neighbors (as of June 15 when we move to the neighborhood.) Conundrum. Store bought cupcakes weren't going to cut it. Nor were store bought anything. We were going to see these people again.
To top it all off, we had already had a ton planned for Saturday (173 1/2 trips to Goodwill to be exact) and time was short. I turned to my most trusted source for 'accept me into your home' recipes - Southern Living for some 'Hello Dolly Bars.' Only as luck would have it I didn't have all the ingredients for those and had to improvise.
What you see was the outcome, renamed for their powerful friend-making side affects. They are my new 'go to'. They take about 5 seconds to put together and look and taste FANCEE but in a rustic, made with love kind of way.
Sorry I Crashed Your BBQ Bars/Hello Dolly Bars
* Adapted from Southern Living
* Makes 24 bars
9x13 inch glass or pyrex baking dish
parchment paper (optional)
1/4 cup butter (half a stick of butter)
1 heaping cup vanilla wafer crumbs (pound in a ziploc with a rolling pin)
1 (7 oz) package sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds (or any kind of nuts)
1 heaping cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray (optional - makes cleanup a breeze and the bars easier to remove and cut but not mandatory. Otherwise just spray dish with nonstick spray.) To help the paper lay down/adhere to the dish, place 4 cans of soup or vegetables in the corners while you assemble the ingredients.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Remove the cans from the cans and pour over the paper trying to distribute as evenly as possible. As soon as the butter has covered all of the paper, spread the cookie crumbs over, again trying to distribute them as evenly as possible.
Continue to layer over the next ingredients. Spread the coconut evenly over the crumbs, then the white chocolate chips, the almonds, and semi sweet morsels.
Finally, pour the sweetened condensed milk over, again as evenly as possible. DO NOT STIR.
Put in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 30-35 minutes JUST until the top of the nuts get a little golden but not brown. You don't want to burn the chocolate so watch closely at the end.
Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack for one hour. Remove the bars by gently picking up the corners of the parchment paper and set on a cutting board. Let cool another 20 minutes at least before cutting (a pizza cutter works nicely.) Or if you skipped the parchment, cut right in the pan once completely cool (this will help them stay together versus cutting them warm.)