Magic Cookie Bars

December  7, 2016
6 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
Author Notes

I've lived nearly 30 years and never made Magic Cookie Bars before this. December remedied this serious oversight for me, and I'm grateful. Here's why: Magic Cookie Bars (also known as Hello Dolly Bars or 7-layer Bars) are some of the simplest, yet most decadent bar cookies you can bake.

You know those occasions when you need a slam dunk, crowd-pleasing dessert? Bake sales? Birthday celebrations at work? Potlucks? Picnics? A baby shower? This recipe is what you should make. Don't hesitate. They are very good: gooey and crunchy and buttery and delicious all at once. They're versatile, too. If you don't like coconut, or your friends dislike pecans, just swap in something else. You can also add extra layers of ingredients. I'm planning to try a Nutella version, and a cookie butter version, and one with cacao nibs and caramel (and and and...).

Making the bars is simple. You melt butter, pour it into your pan, and press a layer of graham cracker crumbs into the butter. Pour a can of condensed milk over the pan. Add a layer of chocolate chips, toasted nuts (any kind you like), and coconut and bake! I like to use a mix of unsweetened coconut flakes and sweetened shredded coconut for texture and to cut back slightly on the sweetness.

Twenty-five minutes later, your bars are ready. If you find the recipe slightly too sweet, try a mix of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. These bars freeze beautifully, and are a fantastically simple recipe for any baker to keep in their back pocket. Eat one warm from the oven, with a glass of cold milk, and revel in the magic of how a few simple ingredients can be transformed into something so wickedly delicious. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes one 9 x 13 inch
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped toasted nuts
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter and pour it into the pan, swirling to cover the pan evenly. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the butter in an even layer.
  3. Pour the condensed milk over the graham crackers in an even layer.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips in an even layer over the condensed milk. Next, add the chopped nuts (in an even layer) and then both types of coconut. Press down with a fork.
  5. Bake the bars for about 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving.

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I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.