7-layer bars (aka magic cookie bars) loaded with gooey layers of graham cracker crumbs, chocolate and butterscotch chips, pecans and coconut. They really are seven layers of magic!
Old Fashioned 7-Layer Cookie Bars
We’ve been making this classic treat every Christmas since I was a little girl. They’re one of my mom’s specialties and are always the top holiday dessert requested by family and friends. Pure chocolate and coconut heaven. Yes please!
These are also known as magic cookie bars or hello dolly bars and are truly out of this world! They’re loaded with layers of graham cracker crumbs, chocolate and butterscotch chips, pecans and coconut. Plus, the sweetened condensed milk gives them the perfect gooey texture that will have you swooning over this recipe.
What are the 7 Layers?
- Crust: The base of the dessert is a delicious graham cracker crust made of graham cracker crumbs and butter.
- Chocolate chips: Feel free to use milk chocolate, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips depending on preference.
- White chocolate chips: Because one type of chocolate is definitely not enough!
- Butterscotch chips: I love adding these in to create more variety and depth of flavor.
- Pecans: Use raw pecans, chopped into pieces.
- Sweetened condensed milk: This helps makes the bars super gooey and delicious.
- Coconut: Make sure to use sweetened shredded coconut. You can always leave this off if you’re not a coconut fan.
TIP: Feel free to get creative with your seven layer bars! Swap pecans for chopped walnuts or peanuts, or use peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch. You could even use Christmas M&M’s in place of chocolate chips for a fun boost of color.
How to Make 7-Layer Bars
- CRUST. Melt butter and combine with graham crumbs in a medium bowl with a fork. Then press crumbs into a lined baking dish.
- ASSEMBLE. Next layer in the semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chips, butterscotch chips and nuts. Then pour the condensed milk evenly over top. Sprinkle with coconut.
- BAKE. Place in the oven at 350°F for 20 to 25 mins, until top is lightly browned. Let cool then transfer to a cutting board to cut into squares.
TIP: If you’re wondering how to cut them into diamonds, simply make horizontal cuts across the pan about an inch and a half apart. Next make diagonal cuts across the pan about an inch and a half apart. Then gently lift out of pan and serve. I find using a plastic knife works best.
Baking Tips + Variations
- DIY graham cracker crumbs. Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can add them to a zip top bag and crush with a rolling pin. To make 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, it takes about 7 to 8 graham crackers. So to make the 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, use about 10 graham crackers.
- Crust. You could also use a salty crushed pretzel crust, similar to the crust in my raspberry jello pretzel salad. Or a gingersnap crust would also taste delicious.
- Coconut substitute. You can absolutely make this magic cookie bars recipe without coconut if preferred. If you’d still like to add a 7th layer, try adding pretzel pieces, mini marshmallows or more nuts on top.
- Line your pan. Make sure to line your pan with parchment paper or foil so that the bars don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. I like to leave enough parchment over the edges so that I can easily grab it and remove the bars from the pan.
- Let set. As tempting as it is, let the bars cool completely before serving. The condensed milk needs time to set or else the bars may be runny. You can stick the pan in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
Storing and Freezing
- To store: This dessert will last about 3-4 days if stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag. If stored in the fridge, they will keep for a few more days.
- To freeze: Wait until the pan has cooled completely, then cut into squares or diamonds. Then add to a freezer container or bag and store in freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for a few hours until no longer frozen.
5 star review
Sooo gooey and delish AND super easy (which may be my favorite part!). Perfect to make to accompany all the labor intensive cookies on a cookie tray for gifts because this one will save you time. :)– Jenna
More Desserts You’ll Love:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13" baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Lightly grease. In a medium-sized bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter with a fork. Then press crumbs into pan.
- Next layer chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and nuts. Then pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over top. Sprinkle with coconut.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Let cool, then cut into bars or diamonds.