Also called 7 layer bars or Hello Dolly bars, these magic cookie bars truly are. Easy and delicious, magic bar cookies are a fantastic make-ahead dessert for any occasion.
7 layer magic bars
What are magic cookie bars?
A buttery, graham cracker crust with chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter chips, sweetened coconut, walnuts or pecans, and a sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top and baked to perfection.
Magic happens in the oven to create one of the best cookie bars ever.
where did seven layer bars originate?
The bars were born in the mid 1960s, and the first iteration is believed to have been on a can of Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk.
The name "Hello Dolly" was attached to the bars, as the recipe became popular as Hello Dolly, starring Carol Channing, gained popularity on Broadway.
more delicious cookies
how to you make magic cookie bars?
These bars are also called seven layer bars because of the seven layers, of course. You will need:
You'll need to crush graham crackers for the crust. Pulverize the crackers in a food processor, or place in a large Ziplock bag and crush with a mallet or rolling pin.
You'll need 1 ½ cups, which is 9 to 10 crackers.
I prefer salted butter in this recipe to balance the sweetness. One stick (8 tablespoons) will do. The butter is combined with the graham cracker crumbs.
Use one cup (which is half of a small bag) of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
BUTTERSCOTCH OR PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS
I used one cup of peanut butter chips in this recipe, but butterscotch chips are also delicious (and more readily available).
SWEETENED COCONUT FLAKES
You'll need one cup of sweetened coconut, which you can find in the baking aisle of the supermarket.
WALNUTS OR PECANS
Coarsely chop ¾ cup of walnuts or pecans. Really, you can use any of your favorite nuts.
SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
The key ingredient to bringing it all together! One 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.
I prefer the Eagle or Carnation brand.
This 8th ingredient is optional: Coarse sea salt. I like to sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the magic bars after baking to help balance the sweetness.
The traditional recipe does not call for a sprinkle of salt.
EQUIPMENT you'll need
STEPS to make 7 layer bars
step one: prepare
Line the baking dish with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
step two: make the graham cracker crust
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs until well-mixed. Press to evenly cover the bottom of the baking dish with the graham cracker mixture.
step three: add your layers
Sprinkle the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips evenly.
Next, sprinkle the coconut, then the walnuts.
Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top.
step four: bake
Bake uncovered until golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting into 18 squares.
Do you need to refrigerate magic cookie bars?
You do not need to refrigerate seven layer bars. However, some prefer the taste of chilled bars.
Can you freeze magic bars?
Yes! You can easily freeze these cookie bars. For best results, cut the bars and freeze as separate squares.
Once frozen, package the bars in a freezer-safe container.
TIPS to making 7 layer magic bars
- Line your 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper for easy clean up!
- Make sure to thoroughly mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.
- Use your hands to evenly press the graham cracker crust to fully cover the bottom of the pan.
- For extra thick treats, use a 9 x 9 inch pan instead.
- Try toasting the coconut first!
- Mix up your chocolate chips. Try white chocolate chip or other flavors.
- LET COOL COMPLETELY before cutting squares. It's much easier. You can speed the cooling by placing the bars in the refrigerator.