A ridiculously simple to make bar cookie recipe that everyone loves, these Magic Bars are a must for your holiday or everyday baking! No matter if you call them seven layer bars, hello dolly bars, or simply delicious cookie bars, you will not believe how these ingredients come together and magically create a chocolatey, buttery, coconut dessert.
Somebody always makes 7-Layer Magic Bars at Christmas time. It’s a thing that I can rely on. It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with. These gooey, sweet cookie bars there. This isn’t just a holiday recipe though, Magic Bars are a staple of pot-lucks and church suppers across the country, and they are welcome on my table any time.
I decided that I needed to learn how to make them myself because it seemed like everyone else already knew how. Turns out that the reason why these are always on the dessert table is that they are SO simple to make!
A buttery graham cracker crust is topped with layers of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and chopped pecans. A can of sweetened condensed milk ties it all together into a magical dessert bar masterpiece.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s Magic. As the name suggests, this is a fun and magical recipe to watch in action. You layer ingredients in a dish in a certain order, and while they are in the oven they combine in such a way that creates a magic cookie bar, without any eggs or flour.
- Butterscotch Chips. There aren’t many recipes that use butterscotch chips, but this one requires it. They provide the rich, buttery cookie flavor that makes 7 layer bars so tasty. Buy yourself a couple of bags, and make Butterscotch Haystacks as well.
- Minimal Dishes. There is no dough or batter to make for these cookies, so there will only be a couple of dishes to clean after you’ve put together your seven layer bars.
Seven ingredients create seven layers of flavor!
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Graham Crackers. Crush about 2 sleeves of graham crackers to get 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs. This is the crispy base of our cookie bars.
- Butter. Melted butter takes graham cracker crumbs from dry and boring to tasty and crispy!
- Chocolate Chips. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are the way to go when making 7 layer magic bars. Milk chocolate would be a bit to sweet in this recipe.
- Butterscotch Chips. I like to use a whole cup of butterscotch chips in this recipe. If you aren’t a huge fan of the flavor, try substituting half of them out for a ½ cup of white chocolate chips instead.
- Coconut. Look for sweetened, shredded coconut in the baking aisle.
- Chopped Pecans. Either pecans or walnuts are acceptable in magic bars. Use whichever you prefer.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk. This recipe works perfectly with one 14 ounce can.
Be careful to buy sweetened condensed milk, and not evaporated milk. They are two totally different products, but can look similar, and are often on the same shelf in the store.
How to Make 7 Layer Magic Bars
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 9×13 baking pan or sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make Crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with melted mutter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, ensuring that it is covered.
- Layer: Add the chocolate chips, then the butter scotch chips in even layers on top of the crust. Follow with a layer of shredded coconut, and a layer of chopped pecans.
- Pour: Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top in an even layer. See my tip below if you find it hard to pour.
- Bake: Bake your magic bars in the preheated oven for 23-30 minutes, or until browned and set in the center.
- Cool and Serve: Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan and cut into 12 squares of 24 triangles.
Scoop the sweetened condensed milk into a bowl and warm it up slightly in the microwave if it’s difficult to pour it from the can. You can also set the unopened can in a bowl of hot water for a while to warm it up.
Magic Cookie Bar Tips
Feel Free to Make Substitutions. You can leave out any of the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, or nuts, just be sure that you fill in what’s missing with more of another item.
Let Them Cool. Don’t try to cut into your magic cookie bars when they are still warm. You’ll end up with a melty mess that way! Let them cool completely, then slice them.
Use Parchment Paper. Line the baking pan with parchment paper to ensure that the bars are easy to remove. Make it even better by using extra paper so that there are parchment paper handles on either side. The magic bars will lift right out after they’ve cooled.
Make Gluten Free Magic Bars. Simply replace the graham crackers with gluten free graham crackers or your favorite gluten free cookie. Generally, the rest of the ingredients used in this recipe are naturally gluten free, but be sure to check the packaging just in case.
More Delicious Cookie Recipes
Magic Bars are wonderful for the holidays, but feel free to make these treats at other times of the year too! While you’re at it, try some of these easy cookie recipes.
- No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies are packed with nuts and oats, plus they are super simple to make.
- Do you have a mini muffin tin? Try these Peanut Butter Cookie Cups.
- Soft and Chewy Monster Cookies are packed with add-ins, and a total crowd pleaser.
- If you want a hearty cookie that is almost healthy enough to eat for breakfast, you should try my Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies!
Of course! Leave out the nuts if you have an allergy or just prefer not to eat them. You should replace them with more coconut and chips so that you have the same amount of “stuff” inside of the bars.
You can make magic bars without coconut. As above, just leave the coconut out, and fill in the empty space with additional chocolate chips, nuts, or butterscotch chips.
If you’re planning to leave out the nuts, or the coconut, or any of the chips, you can fill in with other ingredients such as oatmeal, chocolate candy such as M&Ms or mini Reese’s cups, mini marshmallows, or even crushed cookies or pretzels. This recipe is really very versatile and forgiving.
I’m so glad that I learned how to make this classic 7 layer magic bars recipe, and I know that you’ll love having this cookie recipe in your knowledge bank too. Make sure to pin it for later!
- 9×13 pan
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs 1 sleeve, 9 full sheets
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted or softened
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 7×11" or 9×13" baking pan or sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with butter, and press the mixture into the pan.
- Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, shredded coconut and pecans.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk on top in an even layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven or until it sets.
- Allow to cool completely, then remove from pan and cut into squares or diamonds (12 or 24 pieces).
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen