Magic Cookie Bars

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Sometimes, you can't beat a classic. These versatile bars are loaded with coconut, chocolate, and nuts—use the basic template and add as many layers as you like: caramel, chopped candies, peanut butter, and so on are all very welcome.Posie (Harwood) Brien

Makes: one 9 x 13 inch
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min


  • 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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Reviews (19) Questions (0)

19 Reviews

Lea A. March 24, 2018
The second time I made these, the crust didn’t hold together as much as it should. I measured everything carefully and followed the recipe to the letter. Next time should I mix the crumbs with the butter first and then press it into the pan?
Shanna P. July 13, 2017
How many bars does this recipe make?
susan G. September 4, 2017
It's a 9 x 13" pan, so how big do you want to cut the bars?
foofaraw January 6, 2017
I have caramelized sweet condensed milk. Would that be good; or does normal sweet condensed milk still better?
Leona S. January 5, 2017
We called them 7 layer cookies, first one thin layer of butter to prevent sticking (aluminum is toxic) grahams and butter, a bag of butterscotch chips, a bag of chocolate chips, chopped pecans, shredded coconut and last was the sweetened condensed milk.
tia January 5, 2017
Oh, I love these! We called them "Hello, Dollies" growing up. Man, I haven't made these in years. Maybe I will soon.
Laura January 3, 2017
I always pour the condensed milk over the top of all the layers. It binds them all together better and makes a more cohesive bar. Super rich, but always a crowd pleaser!
Kris December 31, 2016
What pan would you use ? Baking tray or glass?
Author Comment
Posie (. December 31, 2016
Either would work, I used a ceramic pan actually but any 9" x 13" will be good! I prefer metal for bar cookies usually.
Kris January 2, 2017
Thanls, another question. Can I change the order of the layers ? Add the coconut on top of condensed milk and then add the chocolate chips ?
Author Comment
Posie (. January 2, 2017
Totally! I think that would work just fine, as long as you keep the first three layers (butter/graham crumbs/condensed milk) in order.
Kris January 3, 2017
Awesome thank you for the quick response
Smaug December 31, 2016
Really? That's more than twice the butter for an ordinary crumb crust.
Author Comment
Posie (. December 31, 2016
Oh yeah :) embrace the butter!
Smaug December 31, 2016
I probably won't- does it do anything functionally or is it just extra fat?
Author Comment
Posie (. December 31, 2016
It won't hold together as well -- any classic seven layer/magic bar recipe uses this ratio of graham cracker crumbs to butter. I think it'd be too crumbly to hold up all the heavy top layers otherwise.
Smaug December 31, 2016
Maybe- 3 oz butter to this amount of crumbs produces a crust solid enough to (based on recent experience) pick up half of a two+ inch deep black bottom pie and hand it to your brother, but you have to actually mix it with the crumbs, Maybe this has enough free butter to keep it from sticking.
ChefJune January 5, 2017
You could line the pan with parchment...
Smaug January 5, 2017
Huh what? I've heard a lot about people lining pans with parchment, or even using it for blind pie crusts- I suppose I'll try it some day, but it seems like foil holds a shape so much better. For the record, to keep a crumb crust from sticking- line pie plate with foil, make crust and bake it, freeze, remove from the pan and peel off the foil, replace crust in plate. Also, if you make the crust with margarine and butter the pan it won't stick- other way around doesn't work, though.