This week I’m bringing you another old favourite of mine. They’re called Chocolate Oh Henry Squares – no relation to the Oh Henry chocolate bars you find in the stores. 🙂 These are another popular one with friends and family alike. They’re also a non-bake recipe. You do part of it on the stovetop but you don’t have to worry about burning anything in a pan in the oven. It’d be a good one to try for those of you who aren’t all that experienced with baking.
Just like the cookies, I have memories associated with these squares. When I was younger, and learning how to cook and bake different things, my parents would let me try just about anything. My mom always told me that as long as I know how to read, I can bake. So I would. I’d sit in the kitchen on weekends and thumb through the recipe books my parents had. I’d look at the pictures and find the recipes that go with them. Some would have some pretty far out ingredients but every once in a while, I’d find a recipe that we had all the components for.
I still remember the exact day I tried this square recipe for the first time. I think I was about ten or eleven at the time. My dad was home from work, which was a rare treat in those days – he used to work all different shifts. He sat with me at the kitchen table as I flipped through the beat-up old recipe book. I suggested this one and he read the ingredients to make sure we had everything. Then we got it all out and made the squares together. They turned out so well that they became an immediate staple of holiday gatherings and family dinners. And every time I make these squares, or see them on the dessert trays at my family’s house after dinner, I’m reminded of the time my dad spent with me, testing out a new recipe for the very first time.
Even now, as I make these squares, my mother and my nephew – her grandson – have been watching Christmas shows and now they’re decorating the Christmas tree. My nephew is asking ‘why’ about every. Single. Ornament. And yet, I can’t help but smile. It’s all a new memory and I’m going to remember it every time I have these squares. Also, it’s a wonderful time of year and I’m so very lucky to have my family close by.
So I pass this recipe on to all of you, in the hopes that you also get the chance to make some memories with your families this holiday season. And if, at the same time, you manage to make some tasty Chocolate Oh Henry Squares, I hope you can control yourself long enough to share. 😀
Chocolate Oh Henry Squares
(As a side note, you can easily make this recipe dairy and/or gluten-free. You just need to buy gluten-free graham wafers, and wafer crumbs, and dairy-free chocolate. It’s also made without eggs, and you can choose to leave out the nuts if you really want or need to.)
You will need a 9″x9″ square baking pan. It’s best to use a flat-bottom pan, like Baker’s Secret brand, rather than a glass pan. You need to line the bottom of the pan with graham wafers and the slightly rounded bottom of glass pans won’t work as well.
Graham wafers – you won’t even need a whole box
3/4 cup – butter or margarine
2/3 cup – packed brown sugar
1/2 cup – milk (use almond or soy milk as a substitute if desired)
1/3 cup – chocolate chips
1-1/4 cups – graham wafer crumbs
1 cup – chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use walnuts, filberts or peanuts if you really wanted.)
1-1/4 cups – icing or confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp – butter or margarine
1/4 cup – cocoa
1 tbsp, plus 2 tsp – hot coffee (for this, I add extra coffee to make the icing more smooth and easier to spread on the squares. When you get to the icing stage, make a pot of coffee and relax for a few minutes, 😉 then save at least a cup for this.)
First, cover the bottom of the pan with the whole graham wafer cookies. Cut them to fit where necessary.
Next, measure out each of the first bunch of ingredients before doing anything else. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the butter/margarine, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, and add the chocolate chips. Stir until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Use a whisk if needed. I find that the brown sugar doesn’t always melt as easily, especially if it’s lumpy when you measure it out.
Add the nuts and graham wafer crumbs. Mix together.
Pour into the pan, over the graham wafers. Spread evenly, as best as you can. The filling should be relatively runny so you shouldn’t need to spread much. It should just expand on its own.
Now put another layer of the whole graham wafer cookies over the filling, again cutting extra pieces to fit where necessary.
You’ll want to leave the pan to sit for a little bit now. The mixture in the middle needs to cool and harden some before you can spread the icing over the top. So go make that pot of coffee and grab a magazine – or your ereader! – and relax for a while.
For the icing, put the icing sugar, cocoa, butter and first tablespoon of coffee together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together, adding a teaspoon at a time of more coffee until you get the icing to a smooth, spreadable consistency. Don’t add too much coffee at once, or you’ll end up making it too runny. Although, if you do, don’t panic. Just add some more icing sugar back to the mix to thicken it up again.
Spread the icing over the top layer of graham wafers, spreading evenly until every wafer is covered.
Finally, put the pan into the fridge and leave for a couple hours to allow the cookies to soften and the whole thing to set.
And you’re done. Congratulations on another stellar treat. 🙂
Take care and happy reading.