You don’t have to be a professional baker to make these delicious magic cookie bars. The baking process is very simple and only requires the ingredients to be stacked on top of one another. From creamy and sweet condensed milk, chocolatey chocolate and butterscotch chips, crunchy pecan nuts, to nutty and chewy shredded coconut, these bars have it all.
What Are Magic Cookie Bars?
Magic cookie bars, also called Hello Dolly bars, or 7-layer bars, are a dessert made of 7 layers: graham crackers, butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, condensed milk, shredded coconuts, and chopped pecans. The ingredients are layered one on top of the other and baked in the oven until they stick together and create a block that is sliced into bars. The result is a magical combination of sweet, gooey, and crunchy layers, making them a favorite among both children and adults.
The exact origin of seven-layer bars is a bit elusive, but they gained popularity in the mid-20th century. Some believe they may have originated as a promotional recipe on sweetened condensed milk cans. Regardless of their origin, these bars quickly became a classic American dessert, cherished for their simplicity and delightful combination of flavors.
For this recipe, I am using a mix of olive oil and butter. The reason is that oil adds moisture to baked desserts and I prefer my layer bars to be extra chewy.
Ingredients for Magic Cookie Bars
- Graham cracker crumbs: You have two options here: look for actual graham cracker crumbs, which are fairly easy to find (I got mine at Target), or you can use graham crackers and blend them in a food processor, or place them in a sealable storage bag and crush them into fine crumbs using a rolling pin.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for this recipe. Although I usually love the mix of sweet and salty, I prefer these everything bars to be just sweet.
- Olive oil: Using a little olive oil in the crumb mixture keeps gives the crust a slightly softer texture and makes this dessert healthier overall.
- Chocolate chips: I recommend using semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. The layer bars contain a lot of sweet ingredients so it’s important to find the right balance and not make them overly sweet.
- Butterscotch chips: Adding butterscotch chips is optional but I personally think they add a lovely creamy, caramelized, sweetness to the bars. I always use them!
- Chopped pecans: Use chopped pecans or chopped walnuts.
- Condensed milk: Condensed milk gives the bar moisture and helps to bind all the ingredients together.
- Shredded coconut: I love how the shredded coconut gets a lightly toasted texture as it bakes in the oven and infuses the bars with nuttiness.
You can use white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, instead of the ones included in the recipe. Keep in mind that your bars will be significantly sweeter if you choose to use any of these types of chocolate chips.
You can sprinkle a little sea salt on top of the magic bars. I only recommend doing this if you are a huge fan of salted caramel or salted chocolate desserts.
How To Make Magic Cookie Bars
Scroll all the way down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Gather all of your baking tools and ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray with a little nonstick cooking spray, sides included. This is to ensure that the magic bars won’t stick since they are quite sticky.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and olive oil, to a mixing bowl. Mix using a spatula or your hands until the crumbs are moist.
- Add the crumbs mixture to the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom surface. Gently press down to form the base layer of the bars (graham cracker crust).
- Add a layer of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and top them with a layer of chopped pecans. Slowly add the condensed milk evenly so all the ingredients are coated. Top with the shredded coconut and gently press down to make the shredded coconut stick to the condensed milk.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Take the baking dish out of the oven and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.
- Gently pull on the aluminum foil (or parchment paper) to take the baked magic bar block out and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the block into 20 to 24 bars.
- Transfer the bars to a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to let them set even more. Enjoy!
Commonly Asked Questions
How long should I cool the magic cookies bars?
Let the magic cookie bars cool until they reach room temperature, or a bit cooler than room temperature. You want to make sure they are set before you cut them so they won’t break.
How do I store magic cookie bars and how long do they last?
You can store the magic bars in storage bags or an airtight storage container. Left at room temperature, the bars will last for about 5 days. Stored in the refrigerator, they will last for 2 to 3 weeks.
How do I freeze the layer bars (can I freeze them)?
Yes you can freeze these cookie bars! The easiest way to freeze them is to first lay them on a flat surface and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen (after a few hours), take them out of the freezer and transfer them to a storage bag or airtight container. They will keep for up to 2 months.
Whether you like to eat them as a dessert, a treat, or a mid afternoon snack, these magic cookie bars are always delicious any time of the day. They also pair beautifully with a cup of coffee or matcha, or your favorite herbal tea.
Other Delicious Desserts You Might Like
- Peanut butter fudge
- Castella cake
- Apple crumble mug cake
- Hawaiian butter mochi
- Honey cornflake cookies
Did you like this recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
From creamy and sweet condensed milk, chocolatey chocolate and butterscotch chips, crunchy pecan nuts, to nutty and chewy shredded coconut, these bars have it all.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick foil. Or, if you are using regular foil, use non-stick cooking spray to coat it evenly. Make sure the foil is lined all the way to the edges of the pan, with a little extra going over so you can fold it. This way, when the bars are done, you can lift the foil easily.
- In a mixing bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and olive oil. Combine the ingredients until the crumbs are moist and add them to the baking pan. Press the crumbs tightly until they form a flat layer to create a base.
- Add a layer of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, followed by the chopped pecans. Slowly drizzle the condensed milk over the pecans, making sure to cover all the ingredients and corners. This step is important since the condensed milk will bind all the ingredients together.
- Top with the shredded coconut and gently press down to make the shredded coconut stick to the condensed milk.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of the bars are golden brown.
- Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.
- Gently pull on the aluminum foil to lift the layer block out of the pan in one piece and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the block into 20 to 24 bars.
- Transfer the bars to a plate and let them harden in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
These magic cookie bars will last for up to 5 days at room temperature, and up to 2 weeks in the fridge. You can wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in a storage bag or container.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 400
- Sugar: 35.3g
- Sodium: 129.9mg
- Fat: 23.9g
- Saturated Fat: 11.5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 45.4g
- Fiber: 3.7g
- Protein: 5.5g
- Cholesterol: 19.9mg
Keywords: coconut chocolate chip bars