By Cracky Bars

Today’s delightfully retro recipe is from Best of the Bake-Off, Pillsbury’s Best 1,000 Recipes, a book of classics from which many a modern version has evolved. If your mother or grandmother remembers a recipe from the ’50s, chances are the original is here.

By Cracky Bar

This particular recipe had been on my radar for a while, but for some reason I never got around to baking it until this morning. It’s a bar cookie with a chocolate bottom, graham cracker center, and chocolate chip top. I expected it to be quite a bit richer than it was and more like a brownie/blondie combo, but it was actually very light and sandy textured. While delicious on its own, I felt compelled to dip it into a mixture of melted butter and chocolate, which is why the first picture is not quite representative of what a By Cracky bar should be. Here’s what they really look like.

By Cracky Bars

Whether you make them with or without the melted chocolate, they’re good, plus I suspect you’ll be able to come up with some interesting variations. The most important thing is to make sure you sift the flour and measure with a gentle hand or weigh out 7.5 oz. I saw some other versions of the recipe on-line where people have left out the word “sifted” causing others to use too much flour.



By Cracky Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
By Cracky Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 32
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted Pillsbury’s Best All-Purpose Flour (7.5 oz at the most)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened (I used unsalted)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 9 double graham crackers
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (at least)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or 350 degrees F. I used 350F.
  2. Line a 13x9 inch metal pan with foil and spray with baking spray. If making a half batch, use an 8 inch square metal pan.
  3. Mix the sifted flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix milk with vanilla. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well. Take 1/3 of the mixture (I recommend slightly more than 1/3) and put in a separate bowl with the melted chocolate and walnuts. Stir until mixed. Spread the chocolate mixture in the pan. Lay the graham crackers over the chocolate mixture, then mix the chocolate chips in with the remaining 2/3 (white) batter. Spread that over the graham crackers.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. My half batch took 23 minutes at 350F. Cool completely, then lift from the pan and cut into 32 bars or however many you prefer. If you plan on dipping the bars, cut into long wedges rather than squares.
  6. For chocolate dipped bars, melt the butter in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup (Pyrex), add the chopped chocolate and stir until it melts as much as it possibly can from the heat of the butter, then microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring at each interval, until it’s smooth and completely melted. Dip the bars right in the cup. After they’ve set, slice them into squares.

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  1. says

    By crikey those crackys look good :). This is the exactly the type of recipe I’m looking for right now. Not too rich, kind of light in texture.. sounds too good. I love classic recipes. I’m in need of a good baking resolution, maybe that should be it: More classic recipes.

  2. says

    Sue, I’m doing an experiment. I put the chocolate coated squares in an airtight plastic bag and I’m seeing if the moisture from the chocolate seeps in and softens the cookies a little.

    Adam, that’s a great resolution. Of you could do more “back of the box” or “vintage” type recipes.

    Katrina, thanks for the compliment on the chocolate. I feel like we could bury something else in those layers…

    Louise, the recipe is from 1952. Yvonne M. Whyte of New Bedford, MA won second prize in the junior division.

  3. says

    My grandmother used to make By Cracky Bars for us and they were one of my favorites. It’s been many, many years and your post brought back some great memories.

    I think it’s time to figure out a gluten free version for my family and once I do I will most assuredly dip some in chocolate – an inspired idea if there ever was one!

  4. says

    I like how you covered them with chocolate, yum!

  5. says

    I’ve never seen anything like this before, and it does look quite good. I wonder why such an appealing seeming recipe would fall so far out of favor? I completely agree that coating the bars with chocolate is the way to go.

  6. Ericnaz says

    They look delicious!! Let us know how your experiment goes. I always find that putting any cookies in a sealed container overnight softens them to some degree….but I imagine coating them in chocolate will make them more moist. Now you have me thinking of dipping other yummies in chocolate just to see how they taste(I’ve done roll out cookies before and they turn out great)…everything is better with chocolate…ok well maybe not everything…but most things. Keep up the great work…I’ll have to try this recipe sometime.

  7. says

    I was just playing around so all I can give you is the ratio rather than the full amount. I used 1 part butter and 2 parts chocolate. If you melt 4 oz of butter and add 8 oz of chocolate, you’ll probably have enough. Personally, I’d do it in small amounts. That is, melt 2 oz of butter in a tall narrow cup (like a 2 cup Pyrex measure) and then add the chocolate and continue to melt at 50% power in the microwave until smooth. Dip until it’s gone, then start over.

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