goodbye dollies

Yesterday was my last day at a particularly wonderful hospital with particularly wonderful people. I left because of the less-than-wonderful commute. I get 6 hours of my life back per week now. I’ll be working at a hospital that I could see from my bedroom window, were there a forest fire.

That’s hyperbole, but just barely.

So I brought in a treat for each of my last three shifts. I have been informed that I really nailed it with the treats I brought in yesterday, so I’m going to tell you about them.

I don’t do a lot of baking–I’m by no means a bad baker, but sometimes I just choose the wrong recipe or sub in the wrong gluten-free flour, and I end up haunted by some funny aftertaste. This time, I wanted there to be no potential for misunderstanding: these treats needed to say “I like you guys and am going to miss you so much that I want to give you diabetes.” So a treat that I could assemble from ingredients that already were delicious on their own was the way to go.

Enter the Hello Dolly.

The song was stuck in my head. That’s why I thought of them. It’s a little ironic. “Dolly will never go away again!” goes the lyric.

JUST KIDDING! DOLLY AIN’T NEVER COMIN’ BACK!

Anyway. The bars. Inspiration came from these two, and then I made them my own a little bit. Here we go:

Goodbye Dollies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups coarsely crushed GF cookies–I used a cup of Mi-Del Oreo knockoffs, a cup of Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Chunk cookies, and a cup of homemade gingersnaps that I found in the back of the freezer. Mi-Del gingersnaps would work here, too. Yes, you just spent $15 on GF cookies. I didn’t say this was cheap. Your coworkers are worth it, and you’ll have some left over. It’s your last day. (To crush, I threw whole cookies in a plastic bag and wailed on them with the bottom of a saucepan for a while.)
  • 1.25 cups of softened butter (don’t cry)
  • 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 12 oz bag white chocolate chips (mine was actually 11 ounces and it didn’t matter)
  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, almonds, peanuts, or other tasty nuts (or a mix!!), roasted–roasted and salted would be AWESOME
  • 2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Line it with two strips of parchment paper and let the ends hang over the sides. Grease the paper, too. Cooking spray is fine for this. Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the crushed cookies with the softened butter in a large bowl. Spread this mixture on the bottom of the baking pan–it’s your base layer. Cover every square millimeter or you’ll have a hell of a time getting these off the parchment.

Next, throw down all the chocolate chips. Then the white chocolate chips. Then the coconut. Then the nuts.

THEN, POUR BOTH CANS OF SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK EVENLY ALL OVER THE TOP.

Pop the pan into the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sweetened condensed milk is bubbling and caramelizing all over. While you’re waiting, score yourself some insulin.

Here’s the hard part: bring the pan out of the oven and let the whole mess cool COMPLETELY. Trying to cut this slab into bars before it’s completely cool will result in molten ooze and the stickiest mess you can imagine. After the mass had mostly cooled, Jesse helped me pull it out of the pan using the parchment paper overhangs and placed the beast on a cooling rack, which I managed to fit into the refrigerator. After 45 minutes or so, the mega-bar had cooled enough that we could cut into it just enough to test a corner, but it still wasn’t cool enough to cut into squares. I left it in the fridge overnight and by morning, it was ready.

thing of beauty

I cut the treats into squares and replaced the whole mess (minus several for Jesse) into the pan. Discussing it with my coworkers later, I realized that this is technically a “no-sugar-added” dessert. Very wholesome.

layers of goodness

As for my last day? It was pretty sweet, too. Everyone was very, very nice to me. I had relatively stable patients. Nothing terrible happened. I had time to say goodbye. I have lots and lots of gratitude.

It’ll take a while to sink in. Change always does, for me.

I might need to make another batch.

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