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The Best Gluten-Free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar Recipe Ever

Week 2 of our Gluten-Free Holiday Dessert Recipes

by Elyse the Gluten-Free Foodee
best Gluten-free hello dolly dessert bar recipe

Welcome to week 2 of our gluten-free holiday dessert recipe share. Today’s recipe is for a gluten-free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar.

You may know Hello Dolly dessert bars as angel bars, magic bars, or seven layer bars. Regardless of what they are called, they are always a delicious, crowd pleasing favourite on every dessert tray. They have a sweet graham cracker base topped with chewy coconut, crunchy nuts, and decadent chocolate, enrobed with sweetened condensed milk. I mean, come on. My mouth is watering just typing this. They are like where a dessert bar meets an actual chocolate bar. Just yum.

During my first gluten-free holiday season, I knew I had to figure out how to make a gluten-free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar, and fast. I also knew, they had to be just as good as the traditional because I didn’t want to lose this tasty treat that I looked forward to every Christmas. After some trial and error, I have come up with the perfect Gluten-Free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar recipe that no one even asks if its gluten free. They either can’t tell and/or don’t care!

Our thanks to grain changer for the graham cracker recipe. We made small changes to the original recipe to suit this Hello Dolly recipe, but other than that it’s perfection.

This is the second recipe in our Gluten-Free Holiday Dessert Recipe series. Previously we shared a gluten-free chocolate caramel cookie bar recipe, which is also a holiday baking tray favourite. Every Tuesday, we’ll be sharing a new gluten-free holiday recipe until December 21st, 2021.

Without further ado, here is our easy-to-make, super-delicious, gluten-free Hello Dolly recipe.

Gluten-Free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar Recipe

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Base:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour- I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 Tablespoons COLD butter
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (gluten-free)
 This graham cracker base recipe will yield two thin crusts that each fit a 9”x13” glass baking dish. You can either make a second graham cracker base or make actual graham crackers. Or, you can also make half the recipe.

Hello Dolly Toppings:

  • 1 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts (or your choice of nut – almonds, pecans and walnuts work just as well)
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 200g package (or 2 cups) of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cans of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. One or both cans should be low-fat, as it spreads better than 2 regular cans

Directions:

> Preheat your oven to 325° and spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  1. Measure a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and up the sides of a 9”x13” glass baking dish. Ensure there is some overhang, so you can maneuver it out of the pan afterwards. 
  2. Using your thumb mark/score the bottom of the parchment lightly (you don’t want to cut the paper) so that you can see where your crust needs to fit. Remove parchment and set aside.
Graham Cracker Base:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, xanthan gum, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
  2. Cut the butter into very small cubes (or grate) and then cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two forks. Combine until the mixture has a coarse, uniform consistency (no lumps!)
  3. In a separate, small bowl, combine honey, water, and vanilla, stirring well. Then add the honey mixture to the large bowl, and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Once combined, separate into two balls of dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator, and place on the parchment. Cover the dough with one large piece of plastic wrap (helps to prevent the dough from sticking) and roll the dough out to an even thickness that covers your 9” x 13” rectangle.
  6. Lift the parchment gently into the greased 9”x13” glass baking dish. Make any adjustment needed for an even base. You don’t want cookie up the sides so cut any extra dough away with a butter knife and patch any areas that require it, or add it back to the other ball of dough.
  7. Gently dock the base, by making indents with a fork. Do not poke through the dough.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
Hello Dolly topping:
  1. Remove graham cracker base from the oven and increase oven temperature to 350°.
  2. Sprinkle the toasted chopped nuts of your choice in an even layer over the base.
  3. Place chocolate chips over nuts in an even layer.
  4. Sprinkle coconut over nuts and chocolate layers.
  5. Evenly pour the cans of sweetened condensed milk over the entire tray. Using a spatula, gently spread any of the sweetened condensed milk that has pooled in some areas to other areas that may require more- if necessary.
  6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the top is bubbling and slightly brown. Check at the 20-minute mark, as ovens vary. This may take longer in some ovens. The even bubbles along the edges and towards the middle are the secret to knowing when it is done.
  7. Once it is baked, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Then using the parchment lift them out of the glass baking sheet and place on a large cutting board or cookie tray to cool.
  9. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting. These versatile squares can be cut into diamond shapes, regular squares, or mini squares, depending on how many you wish to yield.
  10. Once cut, place in an airtight container separating the layers with parchment or wax paper.

These gluten-free Hello Dolly dessert squares can be enjoyed year-round and they also freeze very well too. If you have leftovers you can put them in labelled freezer bags and keep them up to 3 months. Just let them sit out to give them a chance to thaw before eating them. Oh and don’t forget to put them on your freezer inventory list

Be sure to come back next Tuesday for our next gluten-free holiday dessert recipe.

Happy holiday baking!

best Gluten-free hello dolly dessert bar recipe

Gluten-Free Hello Dolly Dessert Bar Recipe

Print Recipe/Tips
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Base:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour- I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 Tablespoons COLD butter
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (gluten-free)

Hello Dolly Toppings:

  • 1 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts (or your choice of nut – almonds, pecans and walnuts work just as well)
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 200g package (or 2 cups) of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cans of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. One or both cans should be low-fat, as it spreads better than 2 regular cans.

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 325° and spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  1. Measure a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and up the sides of a 9”x13” glass baking dish. Ensure there is some overhang, so you can maneuver it out of the pan afterwards.
  2. Using your thumb mark/score the bottom of the parchment lightly (you don’t want to cut the paper) so that you can see where your crust needs to fit. Remove parchment and set aside.
Graham Cracker Base:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, xanthan gum, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
  2. Cut the butter into very small cubes (or grate) and then cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two forks. Combine until the mixture has a coarse, uniform consistency (no lumps!)
  3. In a separate, small bowl, combine honey, water, and vanilla, stirring well. Then add the honey mixture to the large bowl, and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Once combined, separate into two balls of dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator, and place on the parchment. Cover the dough with one large piece of plastic wrap (helps to prevent the dough from sticking) and roll the dough out to an even thickness that covers your 9” x 13” rectangle.
  6. Lift the parchment gently into the greased 9”x13” glass baking dish. Make any adjustment needed for an even base. You don’t want cookie up the sides so cut any extra dough away with a butter knife and patch any areas that require it, or add it back to the other ball of dough.
  7. Gently dock the base, by making indents with a fork. Do not poke through the dough.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
Hello Dolly topping:
  1. Remove graham cracker base from the oven and increase oven temperature to 350°.
  2. Sprinkle the toasted chopped nuts of your choice in an even layer over the base.
  3. Place chocolate chips over nuts in an even layer.
  4. Sprinkle coconut over nuts and chocolate layers.
  5. Evenly pour the cans of sweetened condensed milk over the entire tray. Using a spatula, gently spread any of the sweetened condensed milk that has pooled in some areas to other areas that may require more- if necessary.
  6. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the top is bubbling and slightly brown. Check at the 20-minute mark, as ovens vary. This may take longer in some ovens. The even bubbles along the edges and towards the middle are the secret to knowing when it is done.
  7. Once it is baked, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Then using the parchment lift them out of the glass baking sheet and place on a large cutting board or cookie tray to cool.
  9. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting. These versatile squares can be cut into diamond shapes, regular squares, or mini squares, depending on how many you wish to yield.
  10. Once cut, place in an airtight container separating the layers with parchment or wax paper.

NOTES/TIPS

  • The graham cracker base recipe will yield two thin crusts that each fit a 9”x13” glass baking dish. You can either make a second graham cracker base or make some actual graham crackers. Or, you can make half the recipe.
  • These gluten-free Hello Dolly dessert squares can be enjoyed year-round and they also freeze very well too. If you have leftovers you can put them in labelled freezer bags and keep them up to 3 months. Just let them sit out to give them a chance to thaw before eating them.
Did You Try This Recipe or These Tips?
How did it go? Let us know in the comments. Tag us on Instagram at @Gluten_Free_Foodee..

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