Seven Layer Bars

Known to some as seven layer bars, known to others as “magic bars”.  I think another fitting name would be “should-have-brought-one-to-work-because-I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-them” bars.  These babies are seriously, seriously addictive.  I gave the majority of my batch away but the few that I kept at home did not last long.  What makes them even more dangerous is that they consist of ingredients usually found in a well-stocked pantry, and they take next to no time at all to prepare.  Look out.  

I suppose mine should actually be called six layer bars because I omitted the nuts.  Though I am starting to appreciate nuts more in other capacities, I just cannot let them interrupt all the wonderfulness that is these bars containing chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch chips – I’m sorry, but nuts just have no business here.  Go make these today – you won’t be sorry!  (Or maybe you will be, because then you won’t be able to stop eating them.) 

Seven Layer Bars
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1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
5 oz. graham crackers
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (if you must)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and golden.  Remove from the heat. 

Place the graham crackers in a large zippered plastic bag.  Using a rolling pin, crush the graham crackers to achieve a mixture of crumbs, bits and chunks.  Meanwhile, place the stick of butter in the prepared baking pan and put it in the oven to melt, about 6 minutes.  When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven.  Add the graham cracker crumbs and toss lightly with a fork directly in the pan until all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs are evenly distributed over the bottom of the pan.  In order, sprinkle the (nuts), chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and toasted coconut over the graham cracker crumbs.  Pour the condensed milk evenly over the entire dish.  

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.  Remove the bars from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bars of your desired size. 

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

19 Responses

  1. they look like the perfect afternoon nibble! mine would have to be 5 layer bars… no nuts or coconut for me! LOL!

  2. A friend of mine gave me a recipe almost identical to this that she called “outrageous cookie bars.” But we made them with chocolate graham crackers instead of regular….soooooo delicious.

  3. Wow, those sound super yummy (writing recipe down now). Also, I love the new look of your blog!

  4. YES! Love them. A girl brought them to a recent bbq for my son’s football team and they were cut so tiny I had to keep going back and grabbing them in 4’s just to get enough! 🙂

  5. Annie-I found your website by sheer luck and I have to say I have enjoyed your creativity! You’ve been such a cool inspiration to me and have gotten my oven working in overtime. I can’t wait to get home and try this recipe-I’ll post how it turned out.

  6. Is it bad I want one of those for breakfast? They look so great! I have all the ingredients on hand except coconut… hmm I may need to stop by the store after work!

  7. My grandma made these for me when I was young, so I’ve been eating them for a long time now. I don’t think her original recipe had white chocolate chips but I can’t think of anything else that she would have used to make up the extra layer. Then again, she used the “magic bar” title, so maybe there were only 6 layers. Someone made a variation of these at a BBQ I was at a few years ago and they were even better than the original (I know, highly impossible was my thought too, but it was true)! No idea what the difference was but man-oh-man do I love these things (regardless of the small variations)!

  8. I love seven layer bars! I make them every year around Christmas…yum!!!

  9. Oh Annie those are simply amazing!!!! YUM! ive not had a seven layer bar!! I need to try these 🙂

  10. A family member made these on a visit to our house a few months back. I can still taste their deliciousness right now….I’m drooling. Thanks….

  11. LOL on “nuts if you must” :)) We love 7-layer bars, but I really like your combo of butterscotch and white chocolate chips–great idea!

  12. Oh yes, these bars are dangerous! I can’t make them very often because I cannot resist them.

  13. I can’t have those in the house – I will eat the whole pan. ~ Robyn

  14. I loooove seven layer bars!

  15. Hi Annie,
    These bars look so good! I’ve been wanting to make Seven Layer Bars and take them home for Christmas. Any idea how long these would keep in an air-tight container? (I’m flying home to Norway from New York, so I will not be able to keep them refrigerated the whole time).
    Thanks, Rita

    • Rita, these keep really well for quite a while at room temp. I don’t know exactly how long because they don’t survive long in my house, but they should be fine. Enjoy! I need to make them again very soon.

  16. This was one of the first things I learned to bake by myself that was not from a mix. I grew up calling them “Hello Dollies”, but I have no idea where this name comes from. The original recipe I used called for walnuts, which I used for years but now I use sea salt roasted pecans, which I got from this recipe:
    (this recipe is also insanely good!!)

    I have never used butterscotch or white chocolate chips, but have enjoyed toffee chips, sometimes called Heath Bar brickle (I think). I have not tried, but think that in place of nuts pieces of salted pretzels would be good too.

    Love your blog Annie!

  17. I needed a quick dessert to make for a small get-together we had last night and after finding this recipe on your blog, I knew I had to try it. SUCCESS! Everyone LOVED these and it was definitely a hit. I loved the simplicity and minimal prep of this recipe.

  18. These are my favorite……Instead of graham crackers, I use crushed ‘Nilla Wafers and sliced almonds. And just chocolate chips. Yum.

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