Sunday, December 5

Dream Bars

It's no secret that chocolate and I are quite close. We have a completely co-dependent relationship with one another. Well, truth be told, it's probably a little more one sided than that. I am needy. As in, I need chocolate in my life. I count on it for satisfaction and nourishment (what? didn't you ever hear that dark chocolate is good for your heart? it's true. I swear.) I put a lot of trust into our relationship as well. We have a good little deal going. I promise to continue buying Cadbury Chocolate bars by the boatload and in return, the chocolate promises to avoid settling in the ass and thigh region and head straight for the boobs instead.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I have taken my relationship with chocolate to the next level. We are mutually exclusive and hang out pretty much every day. I don't particularly see this as a problem because I am always ready with the appropriate excuses reasons to dive bomb the nearest chocolate source without hesitation. Lately, my go to "needs" for chocolate are:

1. I am training for a marathon. I need to eat chocolate because it has caffeine in it and I don't drink coffee. (errrmm, right?)

(Sorry but I need to take a quick minute here and just brag about myself. *Standing up on soap box* I ran 12 miles today. In 1:37 minutes. That's an average pace of 8:07, which is pretty darn fast if you ask me. I'm really really ridiculously proud of myself. My swagger today is of "epic" proportions. There is no shame in this girl's game. *Okay stepping off now*)

2. It snowed.

In London. apparently that's a big deal to people.

As in, shut down the city and all forms of public transportation because there are 2 inches of snow on the sidewalks.

(FYI: This man is clearing the snow and ice off the sidewalk outside his storefront. with his FOOT. I watched him for a good solid 5 minutes. Shovel anyone? Shovel? No? Okay.)

Therefore, I need to eat chocolate so I a) don't mockingly laugh at everyone for calling this dusting of snow a disaster and b) my classes were cancelled and if you aren't going to be productive working on presentations and reports, then eating chocolate really is the perfect substitute.

It is with those reasons in mind that I braved the elements this evening to gather ingredients to make a family favorite: Dream Bars. I'm not sure where the name came from. My mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. I like to pretend they make your dreams come true. As in, it's okay if you eat half the plate of them in one sitting. It just means you'll become a multimillionaire and win a trip to the Bahamas! I've seen many variations of this tasty treat under many different names, but to me there is only one Dream Bar. and it's main ingredient? chocolate.

Besides 12 oz chocolate chips you need these other things:

(just ignore the red wine in the background. that's for AFTER the baking. or before. or during)

1 cup chopped walnuts
4 oz sweetened coconut
1 can Eagle's Brand condensed milk
1.5 cups crushed graham crackers

aaaaaand my other personal favorite

butter. the real deal. (Butter and I also have an exclusive arrangement. It promises as long as I never cheat on it with margarine, it will prevent the further spread of cellulite. (ain't love grand?)

I was really excited to find the majority of these ingredients at my local grocery store since a lot of my recipes are US based. The only thing the UK doesn't have are graham crackers, they've never even heard of them. After a couple confused looks, I finally found someone who told me to try digestive biscuits.

Digestives? You want to take something called a "digestive biscuit" and use it in my holiday dessert? It seems like something I'd give my grandfather when his prune juice runs low, but ooooookay.

Step 1: preheat oven to 350 and melt 1 stick of butter.

For those of you not living in a kitchen straight out of 1974, you could probably just use a microwave. I had to melt it on the stovetop. Let's pretend that makes me a more legitimate baker, shall we?

Step 2: Crush creepy mystery cracker that sounds like a solution to Irritable Bowl Syndrome instead of a sweet treat and layer with butter into a 9 x 11 pan

Step 3: layer coconut onto graham cracker base

Step 4: test chocolate chips before layering them. (for quality control purposes only. verrryyyy important)

Step 5: drizzle condensed milk over everything until it's completely covered

Step 6: sprinkle the chopped walnut over the top and bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Step 7: hide from your fiance until they are ready to eat. The longer you wait to cut them, the easier it will be. Allow them to cool for while. I usually stick them in the fridge for a couple hours or leave them overnight if I have the time. (but honestly, even if I had the time, I don't think I could hold off that long. Willpower and I do NOT have the same relationship I have with butter and chocolate)

Step 8: cut into individual bars, trying not to lick the pan clean in the process

Step 9: devour

If it's possible, the digestives actually made these Dream Bars even better than usual! Baking success! Now I could try to tell you the walnuts provide protein and healthy fats and that I used "Light" milk, but who am I kidding. The ingredients are basically: sugar, chocolate and butter. and I couldn't ask for more.

No, seriously. Please, no more. I've already had 4 and now I have a stomach ache.


Genesis said...

thank you for giving me the perfect recipe for our cookie exchange :)

the running picture looks paparazzi/stalkerish, but very legit...did sean wait around to take the pic?

oh and your swagger is definitely well earned. great job on the 12 miler.

VL said...

Erica really wanted to buy digestives and we forgot. Guess we'll have to come back.

Gerry said...

They look great! I am so glad you made them. And did Sean enjoy? Good job on the 12miles!!

Nicole said...

The snow looks so pretty and festive! Perfect time to make some sweet comfort food :)

Preppy in Polka Dots said...

Those look so good. Seriously, may need chocolate asap.

Anonymous said...

Hi *waves shyly*

I'm wanting to be doing the expat thing soon (but in the reverse direction from you) and I have been obsessively reading any travel blogs I can.

As a Brit though, if the snow actually reaches London that means it is sheer hell for the rest of us country dwellers. No, seriously.

And cadbury chocolate does rule all.

D x

Beantown Prepster said...

Um. Do yourself a favor. Buy the dark chocolate digestives. You'll thank me.

I am making these tonight.

I may or may not love you forever for this recipe.

aldo said...

Hey, I work with the CheapOair travel blog ( and we're interested in having you guest blog for us. Please contact me if you're interested. Thanks! Aldo.

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