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!
We’ve been making this delicious 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 semi-sweet, milk 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 coconut. You can always leave this off if you’re not a coconut fan.
How to make 7-layer bars
- CRUST. Combine graham crumbs and butter with a fork in a medium bowl. Then press crumbs into a lined baking pan.
- ASSEMBLE. Next layer in the chocolate and 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 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. 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 crushed pretzel crust, similar to the crust in my raspberry jello pretzel salad. This would add a nice salty flavor!
- Coconut substitute. You can absolutely make these magic cookie bars 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.
More desserts you’ll love:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" 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.