“Hello Dollys,” Seven-Layer Bars, Magic Bars, or Whatever-You-Call-Them

They’re yummy, and they’re a modern-day classic: perfectly chewy bars in layers of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate and nuts. What do you call them? In my childhood, I knew them as Hello Dollys. Later, I heard them called by other names: seven-layer bars (when butterscotch chips were added) or magic bars. I wondered where my mom–a baker who always had something sweet ready for us–got
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Mom’s Lemon Bars

Only a few days ago, I bid a farewell to my mother by baking a batch of her black-bottom cupcakes. It’s been three weeks since she died, and I know I’ve taken only the first baby steps in a very long journey to grasp what her passing means for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop reaching for the phone to ask her to explain some undecipherable detail of a hand-written re
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Zucchini Avocado Brownies

I couldn’t help it. I tried to come home from work and relax, do a few things around the house, curl up with a good book. But the zucchini was calling me, with its thin, whiny voice, from the refrigerator. Okay, I thought, I can resist that skinny-ass zucchini. It was when the avocado chimed in that I lost all hope. Okay, forget it! I give up!  I said, throwing down my book in disgust and dragging myself o
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Chocolate Fudge Oatmeal Bars

Yes, I bake things other than pie. Do I sound defensive? Sorry. This could be hard to wrap your head around, but I have spent far more of my life baking non-pie things than pies. Cookies, bars and cakes are my heritage, my cherished memories, my soft blanket on a chilly evening.
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Killer Brownies

And by “killer” I don’t mean piled up with all kinds of nonessential stuff. No distracting studdings of nuts, chocolate chips, coconut or mini-marshmallows. No alluring swirls of peanut butter or caramel. No exotic hints of chipotle or ginger. Those things can indeed be lovely additions to brownies. But sometimes you need simplicity. You need the deepest-chocolatiest-fudgiest brownies you can muster
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