It’s hard to beat a baking recipe that is barely more complicated than just layering a few ingredients in a pan—and that’s what makes these Seven Layer Bars so magical! You layer a bunch of tasty ingredients together, pop it in the oven, and out comes magic cookie bars that are delicious, rich, and hold their shape beautifully!
These cookie bars are SO easy to make that this would be a great holiday baking project for the kids in your life. Let’s get baking!
What do I need to make magic cookie bars?
The beauty of these seven layer bars is their simplicity. You only need a handful of ingredients—and about five minutes—to make a quick, easy holiday dessert.
- Butter and graham crackers: Melted butter combined with crumbled up graham crackers makes for a super simple crust.
- Coconut flakes: There’s nothing like chocolate and coconut!
- Chocolate and butterscotch chips: Not only do these add sweetness, but they also help to contain the coconut and nuts.
- Pieces of pecans and walnuts: To add a nutty crunch to every bite, we have a layer of buttery pecans and earthy walnuts.
- Sweetened condensed milk: This serves as the base for a creamy, easy topping that holds all the other ingredients together.
Can these magic cookie bars be made nut-free?
Sure can! You might end up with fewer layers, but these 7 layer bars can definitely be made nut-free by just omitting the nuts and sticking with the chocolate, butterscotch, and coconut.
If you’re looking for nut-free Christmas desserts, you should check out my collection of the best Christmas cookies. You’ll find plenty of nut-free desserts, including my time-tested rolled sugar cookies and my delectable chocolate candy cane gooey butter cookies!
What if I’m not a fan of coconut?
The coconut flakes in this recipe are a pretty important component in the “glue” that holds the entire bars together—so we wouldn’t recommend leaving it out. So if you are anti-coconut, instead try some cookie bars that are coconut-free, like our Bourbon Chocolate Chip Blondies.
There are definitely other substitutions you can try! Try using caramel pieces, M&M’s, peanut butter chips, or even chunks of peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate chips or butterscotch chups. The key to these seven layer bars holding together is the graham cracker crust, coconut, and the sweetened condensed milk topping. Everything else is just delicious, substitutable filling.
Can I use evaporated milk in place of sweetened condensed milk?
Nope! Trust me, you’re not going to want to use evaporated milk. I know these two are often confused because they sit close together on grocery store shelves, but they’re not the same thing.
Evaporated milk is very liquidy, and it would make a mess of your seven layer bars. Sweetened condensed milk, on the other hand, is thick, creamy, and super sweet. This makes it the perfect pourable topping for these bars.
I have whole graham crackers. How do I prepare them for this recipe?
The easiest way to turn your graham crackers into graham cracker crumbs is to stick them in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. If you don’t have a food processor, then another option is to toss them in a zip-top bag and crush them with your hands or a rolling pin until they’ve turned into crumbs.
I could only find whole nuts. How do I chop them up?
A food processor is the simplest way to create pecan and walnut pieces—just pulse a few times until they’ve reached your desired size. If you have a coffee grinder, you could use that as well. Just make sure you pulse for a few seconds, and then check the size of your nut pieces. You want sizeable chunks, not nut powder!
You can also skip the appliances entirely, and use a chef’s knife to chop up the whole or half nuts.
Can I make magic cookie bars ahead of time?
Absolutely! Magic cookie bars are perfect for making ahead. They take less than 10 minutes to whip up, and they’ll last for a week on the countertop and even longer in the fridge.
If you want to freeze your magic cookie bars, let them cool, slice them into squares, and pop them in a freezer-safe container. They’ll last in the freezer for three months.
Magic cookie bars taste great cold, so I’d recommend sticking them in the fridge. When your guests arrive, all you have to do is pop them on a plate and serve!
How do I store magic cookie bars?
As mentioned above, magic cookie bars can be stored cold, frozen, or at room temperature. Just make sure they’re in an airtight container, and they’ll last a week in the refrigerator or on the counter. If you want to store them for longer than a week, I recommend freezing the bars.