When you want a cookie that has it all, yet takes up nothing in the way of time, look no further than 7 Layer Bars!
With a rich, buttery graham cracker crust and a salty-sweet topping loaded with chocolate chips, butterscotch, coconut, and chopped nuts, this bar cookie recipe is checking all the flavor boxes…and then some! It’s ooey-gooey dessert perfection.
These bars are quick, easy to make, and a guaranteed party hit at potlucks, holidays, BBQs, and more! If you’re looking for more awesome bar cookies to add to this year’s baking lineup, bookmark these cinnamon-sugar Snickerdoodle Bars for your next baking extravaganza!
WHAT ARE 7 LAYERS OF MAGIC COOKIE BARS?
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Melted Butter
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Nuts (Pecans or Walnuts)
- Chocolate Chips
- Butter Scotch Chips
HOW TO MAKE 7 LAYER BARS
- Make the Crust – Stir together the graham crackers and butter and transfer the mix to a 9×13″ baking dish.
- Add Condensed Milk – Pour condensed milk over the crust and sprinkle with salt.
- Sprinkle With Toppings – Add walnuts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut on top and press down with the tines of a fork.
- Bake and Cool – Bake, then carefully run a knife along the edges of the pan. Allow to cool completely and cut into bars or squares.
WHY ADD THE COCONUT LAST?
The coconut goes onto the bars last so that it is directly exposed to the heat and will get nice and toasty in the oven! This adds extra flavor, nice texture, and gorgeous color to the top of your bars!
- Graham Cracker Crumbs | The size of your graham cracker crumb affects the consistency of your crust. The finer the crumb, the tighter the crust will stay together. There are nine graham crackers in a package. One package of graham crackers converts into about 1 1/4 cup of crumbs. Therefore, seven graham crackers will yield about 1 cup of crumbs.
- Butter | Note, this recipe calls for unsalted butter! If you only have salted butter, it’s best to omit the additional salt called for in the crust entirely.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk | Sweetened condensed milk is sticky, sweet, and rich with strong vanilla vibes. It’s totally delicious. It’s the key to holding your topping together so be sure not to confuse it with evaporated milk!
- Walnuts | Chopped walnuts or pecans are traditional in 7 Layer Magic Bars, but if you’d prefer to use another nut like chopped almonds, feel free to sub them in.
- Chocolate Chips | Because these bars have a whole lot of sweetness going on in them, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, if you prefer white or milk chocolate chips, those can be used instead.
- Butterscotch Chips | Butterscotch Chips are a key ingredient in 7 Layer Bars, and they add all kinds of buttery-brown sugar yumminess to the flavor profile of this dessert! If you love toffee, you’ll swoon for this addition. Not a fan? Check out some of the suggested substitutions below!
- Coconut Flakes | Coconut Flakes add body to the topping of these bar cookies, as well as a nice, chewy texture. Be sure to use unsweetened coconut for this recipe. The added sugar in sweetened coconut flakes is seriously unnecessary.
CAN I USE SOMETHING OTHER THAN COCONUT?
If you don’t like coconut or you are allergic, use old-fashioned oats instead!
MAGIC COOKIE BAR OPTIONS
7 Layer Bars are extremely customizable and if there is a baking chip or a nut on the list you don’t like, you can easily swap them out for something else. Here are a few yummy ideas for making swaps:
- Peanut Butter Chips
- White Chocolate Chips
- Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Chopped Pecans
- Chopped Almonds
HOW TO CUT MAGIC COOKIE BARS
You can cut Magic Cookie Bars baked in a 9×13″ baking dish into sixteen to twenty bar cookies. Because they are so decadently rich, you can get away with twenty, no problem.
These bars are extra gooey. Be sure you give them plenty of time to set up in the pan, and it’s best if they’re completely cooled before you cut into them. Depending on the pan you use, this could take anywhere from one hour to two hours.
If you’d like sixteen larger servings, make four cuts lengthwise and four cuts crosswise. For eighteen bars, make three cuts lengthwise, and six cuts crosswise. If you’d like to have twenty smaller servings, make five cuts lengthwise and four cuts crosswise.
For nice, clean-looking edges on your Seven Layer Bars, carefully wipe the knife clean in between cuts. You might find dipping the knife in a pitcher of warm water and giving it a swirl before wiping the blade clean helpful.
HOW TO STORE 7 LAYER MAGIC COOKIE BARS
7 Layer Magic Bars do not need to be refrigerated and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
WANT TO FREEZE THEM?
If you’d like to enjoy your bars for any length of time beyond this, you should consider freezing them! You can keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months. In fact, these bars are just as delicious directly out of the freezer.
To freeze Magic Bars, place a sheet of wax paper on the bottom of a freezer-safe storage container. Then, add a single layer of bars, followed by another sheet of wax paper, and repeat until all of the bars are stacked, seal, and freeze. Make sure the bars fit snugly in the container to avoid freezer burn on the top layer!
5 MORE DESSERT BARS YOU’LL LOVE
This 7 Layer Bars recipe has dialed down the sweet, but not the flavor! It's a salty-sweet combo of butterscotch and chocolate baking chips, coconut, walnuts, and sweetened condensed milk on top of a buttery graham cracker crust.
- 2 1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, separated
- 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk (not to be confused with evaporated milk)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Preheat the oven to 350° and have ready a greased 9x13" baking dish.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to the baking dish and press firmly across the bottom.
Pour the cans of sweetened condensed milk over the crust and sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of salt across the top.
Scatter the walnuts, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips across the dish, followed by the coconut. Use the tines of a fork to gently press the toppings into the condensed milk.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the coconut is tinging golden-brown across the top. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife along the edges of the dish.
Allow to cool completely -- 1-2 hours. Cut into 16 bars or 20 bars, serve and enjoy!
The crust will taste salty before baking.