Feb 14, 2011

Ellen's Bar Cookies

I have no idea who Ellen is. All I know is that I associate these tasty cookies with my mom. She calls these "Ellen's Things" and has served them for years, particularly around the holidays. I don't know anyone else who makes them, or anything quite like them.

Because I'm not sure that anyone would be tempted to make "things" (Ellen's or anyone else's), I've changed the title to something a bit more descriptive. In any case, I do highly recommend these treats. They have a rich, dense, chocolatey layer on the bottom. On top of that is a creamy, pudding-like layer, which can be colored to suit your mood. And on top of that are swirls of chocolate, which you create by drizzling melted chocolate on the middle layer and then running a fork through the chocolate to make visually interesting swirls and lines. These cookies can be quite attractive.

Bottom layer:
1/2 cup butter
5 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Middle layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons milk

Top layer:
2 squares semisweet baking chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons butter

Melt 1/2 cup butter in heavy pan. Add sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Stir till dissolved. Cool slightly, then beat in egg. Set aside. Mix crumbs, coconut, and nuts together and stir in chocolate butter mixture; press into an ungreased 9" x 13" x 2" pan. In a bowl beat sugar, pudding powder, 1/2 cup butter, and milk (add food coloring, if desired). Beat until creamy. Spread over crumb mixture and chill. Melt chocolate and 1 1/2 teaspoons butter and drizzle on top with a fork; then lightly draw the fork through the chocolate to create decorative lines. Cool and cut into 1 1/2" squares.

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