Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shreveport/ Austin Christmas Invasion '08

My mother-in-law is a very patient, kind woman.

You see, not only did she let me invade her kitchen, but she let me make these.

Grace calls them Hello, Jollies. Folks in the South call them Hello Dollies. My mom calls them magic cookie bars. Others call them Texas brownies. (Recipe at bottom of post.)

I call them delicious.

I made traditional ones--pecans, coconut, chocolate chips and a graham cracker crust soaked in condensed milk goodness and Blond Duck friendly ones (since I'm allergic to chocolate) with peanut butter chips.

They're gone now, just in case you were wondering.

I also made an entire pile of my mom's pumpkin bread for everyone down there.

They're also almost gone.

And just in case I have eaten enough, with the hello dollies, pumpkin bread and peanut butter pie, but our Shreveport Christmas dinner consisted of beef tenderloin, boursin potatoes, bbq green beans, Mandarin orange salad and dinner rolls. And grilled catfish, macaroni and cheese and banana pudding from the Southfield Grill, my father in law's restaurant.

Yoga pants, Chihuahuas and apron chic.

I've spent the rest of my time on the treadmill, just in case you were curious.

In the Pond, it rarely gets below 70. But here in Shreveport, it's been 30 degrees.

The Babies were not amused when I tried to drag them on a walk. My logic was if they had lots of exercises, they'd have less time to pee on the carpet, terrorize Ace the Dog and get up in everyone's business.

It was a lovely Christmas.

I might even sneak another dolly. Or two. Or three.

Today, we're on the road to Austin to go terrorize my parents. The car is loaded almost to the ceiling with gifts received and to be given and the Babies are full of nervous energy.

My parents aren't going to know what hit them.

Stay tuned Friday for the recap of the Austin invasion! And Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Magic Cookie Bars/ Hello Dollies (from

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or butter, peanut butter or white chocolate. Or both or a mixture!)
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.


  • 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars: Substitute 1 cup (6-ounces) butterscotch flavored chips* for 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and proceed as directed above.
  • Peanut butter flavored chips or white chocolate chips may be substituted for butterscotch flavored chips.
  • Magic Peanut Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups (about 3/4 pound) chocolate-covered peanuts for semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
  • Magic Rainbow Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups plain candy-coated chocolate candies for semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We'll have a fun Christmas post, a recap of the Blond Duck's Austin Christmas, a new Twirl, the end of Kitchen Magic and the reveal of what is in Samantha's box...Merry Christmas!


doggybloggy said...

hello jolly dolly those treats look great....MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

K. said...

My oh my... 3:00am post! This is an early one! So glad you posted pictures of the ILs! :) Have a safe trip... can't wait for Friday's post!

kels said...

all of those treats look absolutely delicious!!!!
It looks like you had a great time! :)

Marie said...

Have a safe and wonderful trip up to your parents! Loved reading about all you got up to at the inlaws! What a lot of delicious looking food, especially the Hello Dollies, which is what I call them as well! Merry Christmas Duckie Doodle! Love you loads!! XXOO

The Food Librarian said...

What a fun time you are having!! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Yummy yummy treats!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Yum! That looks like some really good eating to me.

Stephanie said...

Those look delicious!! I love those-we call them Magic Cookie Bars. I love your blog. Thanks for visiting my blog and Merry Christmas to you too!!

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing you posted the recipe after tempting us with the photos or I would have had to stalk you until you coughed it up...LOL!

Making chihuahuas go out in 30 degree weather is just plain cruel! No wonder they gave you those looks. ;D

Have a wonderful Christmas at your parents' place!!

Pam said...

I didn't know you were allergic to chocolate. What a bummer. Anyway, the magic cookie bars look amazing! I love anything with coconut. Have a safe trip to your parents house. Merry Christmas!!!

Heather said...

very excited to see what's in the box! glad you've had a good start to the holiday season :) your apron is cute :)

Jan said...

It looks like y'all had a wonderful time. Your Dollies/Jollies sound fab.

Merry Christmas, Ducky.

Tiffany said...

All of that food looks so good, especially the Hello Dollys! Yum!

Grace said...

yes indeedly, you can call these poop-on-a-plate and they'd still be delicious. :)
merry christmas, bunny!

noble pig said...

I licked the screen! What a wonderful family you have! Enjoy your time together!

Mrs. L said...

I haven't made Magic Cookie Bars in ages, might have to do that soon.

Merry Christmas!

~~louise~~ said...

Wishing you and yours Delicious Christmas Duckie!

Bunny said...

Merry Christmas Miranda!! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day!!

alexandra's kitchen said...

I imagine that your mother-in-law is indeed patient, but you would be a joy to have in anyone's kitchen! These dollies look delectable. as does the peanut butter pie. as does the pumpkin bread. yummy! Merry Christmas!!

jenjen said...

Merry Christmas Duckie! Your dinner sounds like it was fabulous!!! And the treats too -- good job! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Thanks for being such a great blogging friend. I just think you are the best -- so talented, beautiful, sweet and funny.


Tiaras and Tantrums said...

oh you are killing me - I am not gong to have a snack now!!!!!!! I swear - it is too late!

Anonymous said...

Yum, I have not had those in I was missing my favorite hometown treats, I have to eat what the hubby's family has each year...Chinese and Italian food...hummmm I need to come home for Christmas next year!

Chef E

Debra said...

Hi - "found" you on Chef E's blog and enjoyed your posts so much I decided to become a follower! This one post caught my attention in particular. I was born, raised, and lived in Shreveport for 37 years. Do you live there? I have been in Ohio for 7 years. Love it here but I will always be a G.R.I.T.S. as my mom calls me. (Girl Raised In The South) The thing I miss the most is the food. And my local favorites of Superior Bar and Grill, Strawn's, and Southern Maid Donuts. My mom used to make these. She called them Hello Dollies. good memories! Thanks for sharing.

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