Magic Cookie Bars
These Magic Cookie Bars are incredibly simple to throw together and made with just seven ingredients. Perfect for an easy dessert when you’re short on time!
Have you ever tried a magic cookie bar? When I was in college one of my coworkers used to make them for potlucks and everyone would go crazy for them!
If you’re not familiar with magic cookie bars, they go by other names like seven layer bars or hello dolly bars. They’re essentially seven layers of ingredients that you throw together in a pan and bake until they’re lightly browned.
The end result is a super sweet and delicious bar that’s almost impossible to stop at just one. This recipe is also perfect if you need a simple dessert to throw together when you’re short on time!
Ingredients in This Recipe
To make these magic bars, you need seven simple ingredients. Here’s what goes into this recipe:
- Graham Cracker Crumbs: I prefer to use store-bought graham cracker crumbs to make this recipe a little easier. If you prefer to make your own, you’ll need 11 to 12 full-sheets of graham crackers to get 1 and 1/2 cups.
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Feel free to swap these out for dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips instead!
- Peanut Butter Chips: A lot of people like to use butterscotch chips in magic cookie bars, but I prefer to use peanut butter instead. If you love the traditional version, feel free to stick with butterscotch.
- Chopped Pecans: These add a little crunch to the bars, feel free to add a little more if you like.
- Shredded Coconut: I always use sweetened shredded coconut. You can add the shredded coconut on the very top if you want the bars to look a little prettier with some toasted coconut.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Once you add all of the other ingredients on top of the graham cracker layer, you’ll pour a can of sweetened condensed milk on top.
How To Make Magic Cookie Bars
To make these magic cookie bars, you’ll start out with the bottom layer. Now, some people like to just pour the melted butter in the pan then add the graham cracker crumbs on top.
I prefer to combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter first, then press the mixture firmly into the pan. The bottom of a measuring cup works great for this step! By pressing it firmly into the pan it helps to create a more solid layer for the bottom of the bars.
I also like to line my pan with a piece of foil and leave some overhang for easy removal. This will make it much easier to clean up and lift the bars out of the pan to slice them. Just be sure to spray the sides of the foil really well so the bars don’t stick to it.
Then, you’ll layer on the remaining five ingredients (chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, pecans, and sweetened condensed milk).
Once the bars are prepped, just pop them into the oven and bake until the edges begin to brown and the top is lightly browned.
The bars will need to cool completely before you slice into them. You can even prep these the night before, let them cool, and then slice them up the next day!
Can I Make These Bars Nut-Free?
Yes! To make this magic cookie bar recipe nut-free, use butterscotch chips instead of peanut butter chips and omit the pecans altogether.
Store magic bars in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- It’s best to line your pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. This will make it much easier to remove the bars from the pan and slice them! Just be sure to spray the sides of the foil or parchment paper before adding the mixture so it doesn’t stick.
- I prefer to mix the graham crackers and butter in a separate bowl and then press it into the pan. If you want fewer dishes to clean up, you can mix the two together right in the pan.
- If you want to make this recipe a little easier you can use store-bought graham cracker crumbs. If you prefer to crush your own, you’ll need 11-12 full-sheets of graham crackers.
More Bar Recipes To Try!
- Peach Crumb Bars
- No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Classic Lemon Bars
- Homemade Blondies
Magic Cookie Bars
- 1 and 1/2 cups (175 grams) graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter , melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup (175 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup (125 grams) peanut butter chips (or butterscotch chips)
- 1 cup (90 grams) sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) chopped pecans
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal, and set aside.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to a mixing bowl and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened. Scoop into the prepared pan and firmly press it down into one even layer.
- Spray the sides of the foil or parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray (so the topping doesn't stick to the edges). Sprinkle the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans on top of the graham cracker layer one at a time. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the top.
- Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 25-30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once the bars have cooled completely in the pan, remove them using the overhang from the foil or parchment paper, slice into bars, and enjoy!
Are there alternatives for the pecans and peanutbutter chips to make a nut free version of these magic bars?
You can use butterscotch chips in place of the peanut butter chips and just leave out the pecans.
A little cinnamon added to the crust is yummy!
Many years ago, over 54, this recipe was called “Seven Layer Cookie Bar”. It’s nice to see it resurface again. It was the one to go for when you needed a tasty recipe to take to a covered dish party get together, It “wowed” the group. Smile.
Yes, I’ve heard them called that too! 🙂
I made these with speculoos cookies for the base (I didn’t have enough grahams), they added just a hint of spice. Delicious!
That is a wonderful idea! I’ll have to try that next time!
I made these last weekend for a party – they were a HUGE hit! I used butterscotch chips and that flavor really popped! I used a food processor to make graham cracker crumbs, very easy!! Thank you for the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Christie!
Looks simple and delicious! Do you think chopped up pretzels would work in place if the pecans, for some crunch, or would they go soggy with the moisture? Peanut and treenut free household, unfortunately…
They would probably get a little soggy after the bars sit for a while. You can actually leave out the pecans and they will still taste fine!
Love this recipe. So fun and delicious! Also, the photos of the magic cookie bars that you have here are some of the best photos of the bars that I’ve seen so far ❤️
There are a couple recipes that call for sweeten condensed milk on top of the crust your recipe calls for the sweeten condensed milk on top of the chocolate chips coconut and walnuts does it matter it’s a sweet and condensed milk goes on the bottom of the crust or on top of the ingredients? Thank you
I’m sure it would be okay either way, but I prefer to pour it over all of the ingredients.