Saturday, July 17, 2010

7 Layer Bars

One of my favorite desserts from childhood is 7 Layer Bars. I was first introduced to these by Cindy Soukup, in either 4th or 6th grade. We had the same teacher both years, and she had a fabulous long-term assignment related to the local newspaper. One possible assignment was to take a newspaper recipe, make it, and bring it to share. Cindy brought 7 Layer Bars. I think my Mom still has the original recipe card Cindy or I made. I had been thinking about these anyway, but with the fresh coconut, it was an even easier choice.

7 Layer Bars
  • 1/2 c butter, melted in a 13x9 pan (put in preheating oven)
  • 1 c crushed graham cracker crumbs (9 large crackers) mixed into butter and spread evenly
  • 1 c coconut
  • 1 c butterscotch chips
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Layer. Bake at 350 for 30 mins (or less; mine burned).

I didn't have SCM, and instead of buying some, I decided to try a powdered milk recipe I came across a while back (see below). I think it worked okay. I'm not sure if the problems I'm having are due to the SCM variation or overcooking: I can't get them out of the pan in one piece. The butter/crumbs tends to stay behind. I tried while they were warm, I tried after cooling them down then letting them sit out (although they might have gotten too warm again; it was warmed than I thought in the evening). I tried straight out of the fridge. Will also try setting them out in the morning for only 15 minutes. In the picture, what looks like two bars to the right of the knife? That's one that looked perfect until I tried to pick it up and it split into two. The coconut layer split in half (was it the coconut?)

The bottom also seems stickier than I recall these bars being; again is this due to the overcooking, the SCM, or something else?

I used some special chocolate. As a treat for baking this week while Eric and Nutmeg are gone, I picked up some Icelandic chocolate bars at Whole Foods. I put almost $3 of chocolate in these, so I'm extra disappointed that I burned them. They still taste good, but the edges and corners aren't so great. And I don't think I can share them with anyone. And they might end up in tiny pieces eatable only with a fork or spoon!

Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup hot water
 Blend very well in a blender. Or, mix milk and sugar, put soft butter on top, pour on hot water, and blend very well with a stick blender. It was grainier than from a can, but I think it would be fine in baking where that doesn't matter.

Food Storage Made Easy has a handy chart with this recipe (PDF) as well as others with powdered milk. I keep mine on the inside of a cupboard door.

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