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Magic Bars (7 Layer Bars)


Classic magic bars (7-layer bars) are ooey-gooey cookie bars loaded with chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, and crunchy pecans. They’re easy to make ahead and perfect for parties!

Close up of a stack of magic bars surrounded by more bars on a piece of parchment paper.

Why You’ll Love These 7-Layer Magic Bars

Whether you know them as Magic Bars, 7-Layer Bars, or Hello Dollies, one thing is certain: these rich and gooey, chewy cookie bars loaded with sweetness are a retro Midwestern favorite. Here’s why you’re going to love them, too:

  • Layers of delicious. These bars have chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sweet coconut, and pecans layered over a buttery graham cracker crust. It’s a delicious dessert bar that’s perfect to bring to potlucks and family gatherings.
  • Ooey-gooey. Sweetened condensed milk binds the ingredients in these bars as they bake, making them especially ooey-gooey with a caramelized flavor similar to dulce de leche.
  • Easy to make. The real magic of these magic bars is how crazy simple they are to make. All it takes is a little layering (usually 7 ingredients, hence the alternate name) and a quick bake to get them golden and toasty.

Magic bars are like little slices of dessert heaven! If you love no-fuss, easy desserts (I mean, is there another category?!), try my cherry coconut bars and these classic ooey gooey bars.

Ingredients for 7-layer magic bars.

Ingredients You’ll Need

If you’re wondering what you can do with a can of condensed milk, after today, you’ll have your answer: make sticky, gooey magic bars! Below are some notes on the ingredients. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and recipe details.

  • Graham Crackers – Crushed into crumbs. You could also use gingersnaps.
  • Butter – Melted to combine with the graham cracker crumbs for the crust.
  • Chocolate Chips – Semisweet chocolate chips. You can also use dark or milk chocolate chips.
  • Butterscotch Chips – You can also swap these for peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips.
  • Coconut – Sweetened shredded coconut, or unsweetened if you prefer. You can also skip the coconut if it’s not your thing.
  • Pecans – Chopped pecans or walnuts. The nuts can be toasted or untoasted.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Double check the labels and make sure that you’re buying sweetened condensed milk, and not evaporated milk (see below).

Evaporated Milk vs. Sweetened Condensed Milk

The cans might look similar in the grocery store, but evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are not the same thing! Sweetened condensed milk is thicker and sweetened. Evaporated milk is thinner and unsweetened, and will not work when making magic bars. 

How to Make Magic Bars (7-Layer Bars)

Who’s ready to make some magic happen? These bars are one of my favorite throw-it-together, last-minute easy desserts. You’ll soon see why. Here’s how to make these classic cookie bars:

  • Make the cookie crust. Start by pulsing graham crackers in a food processor, then combine the crumbs with melted butter and salt. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a greased and lined baking pan.
  • Add the layers. Top your graham cracker crust with chocolate and butterscotch chips, then sprinkle on the coconut and pecans. Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over top.
  • Bake. Bake your bars in a 350ºF oven for 25-30 minutes. Afterward, let them cool completely before slicing them into squares. Voila! Magic.
Overhead view of magic bars cut into squares on a sheet of parchment paper.

Tips for the Best 7-Layer Bars

These ooey-gooey magic bars are a cinch to make. Here are some tips that make the whole process that much easier:

  • Grease and line the pan. It makes removal and cleanup way easier.
  • Use store-bought graham cracker crumbs to save the step of pulsing the crackers yourself.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, seal the graham crackers inside a Ziploc bag and have it with a rolling pin. Make sure to get them crushed nice and fine. I have my kids help with this step.
  • If your baked bars seem soft, or if they’re too gooey to slice, place them in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. It’s the perfect excuse to make these a day in advance.
  • Add a sprinkle of sea salt. By now, you may have heard of my love affair with Maldon sea salt. I sprinkle it on everything from salted chocolate cookies to sweet and salty brownies. And, yes, it tastes delicious on these magic bars!
Side view of a stack of magic bars on a wooden countertop, with more bars in the background.

Variation Ideas

Once you have your cookie base and your sweetened condensed milk, what you layer in between is up to you! There are plenty of ways that you can adapt these magic bars, here are just a few easy ideas:

  • Different crust. In place of a graham cracker crust, swap the graham crackers for gingersnaps, wafers, or Biscoff cookies.
  • Nut-free. If you’re making this recipe without nuts, simply omit the pecans. 
  • More add-ins. Change out any of your magic bar add-ins for mini marshmallows, dried fruit, toffee bits, or M&Ms.
  • Caramel. Drizzle the tops of your bars with homemade caramel sauce.
Overhead view of a stack of magic bars surrounded by more bars on a piece of parchment paper.

How to Store

Store these magic bars in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 5 days. You can also keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Can I Freeze Magic Bars?

Yes! Freeze the cooled magic bars airtight for up to 1 month. Thaw the bars at room temperature.

More Cookie Bar Recipes to Try

Print

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Description

Classic 7-layer magic bars are ooey-gooey cookie bars loaded with chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, and crunchy pecans. These are easy to make ahead and perfect for parties!


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (12 full-size crackers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Process graham crackers using a food processor to make fine crumbs. In a medium bowl stir together the crumbs, salt, and melted butter until combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  3. Top the graham cracker layer evenly with chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, coconut, and pecans. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  5. Cut into squares.

Notes

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or refrigerator for 7 days.
  • Freeze airtight for up to 30 days for best freshness. Thaw at room temperature.

Keywords: magic bars, magic bars recipe, 7 layer bars recipe

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