These 7 layer bars, also called magic cookie bars, are so easy to make! Layer everything in a pan and bake, and everyone loves them! Such a great dessert!
So 7 layer bars have been around forever. They’re also called magic bars, or magic cookie bars, or magic seven layer bars.
I remember having them at potlucks as a kid, so this is nothing new here.
But maybe you, like me, haven’t actually made them before. I never had.
I actually found this recipe in an old cookbook of my mom’s, decided to make them, and then realized when we ate them that I’d had these before at different potlucks, but didn’t know that’s what they were.
They weren’t something I ever remember my mom making, and I certainly never had.
So here’s my version – I used peanut butter chips and peanuts instead of butterscotch chips and walnuts like the recipe called for – and I know that there will likely be several more versions coming now that I have discovered the deliciousness of 7 layer bars.
And, let’s be honest, the ease.
They are so easy to make. So easy.
Basically you press a graham cracker crust into a baking pan, layer a bunch of tasty things on top, pour sweetened condensed milk over top of everything, and bake.
It really doesn’t get a whole lot easier than that. And my family went crazy for them.
There will definitely be more variations happening here in the near future.
Do you refrigerate 7 layer bars?
You don’t need to refrigerate 7 layer bars. There is nothing in them that requires refrigeration.
But we found that we liked them better chilled, and they were definitely less crumbly.
When they are chilled they stay together better, they’re easier to cut, and they just taste better, in my opinion!
Use your preference though, as they don’t have to be kept cold.
How long do seven layer bars stay fresh?
Once they have cooled completely, cut the bars into squares, and keep them in an airtight container.
Seven layer bars will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days, and in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If your family is anything like mine though, they definitely won’t last that long!
How do you cut bar cookies evenly?
The best way to cut bar cookies evenly is to use a foil or parchment paper sling in the baking dish.
Before layering the magic cookie bars into your pan, put a layer of aluminum foil or parchment paper, long enough that it hangs over the edges of the baking dish.
Grease the foil, and then layer your magic cookie bars into the pan.
Once your bar cookies have cooled completely, simply lift them out of the baking dish by the foil overhang and put them on a cutting board to cut.
This way you can use a large knife to cut them into even squares rather than trying to cut them in the pan. It’s much easier to cut even bar cookies with a large knife.
I also find it is much easier to cut bar cookies evenly if you chill them before cutting them.
After they have completely cooled, place the pan of cookies in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting them. This will help with any crumbling while you’re cutting.
Even with those two tricks, these magic cookie bars tend to crumble a bit, especially at the corners, while you’re cutting them. It’s okay, they’ll still taste fantastic!
I do find that chilling them before cutting them helps quite a lot.
How to make 7 Layer Bars:
- These 7 layer bars are so easy to make. Mix some butter and graham cracker crumbs together, press them into your baking dish, and layer everything else on top before baking. One of the easiest desserts to make!
- 7 layer bars are traditionally made with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and nuts (I believe walnuts are the most common). My version here uses chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, and peanuts – mostly because that’s what I had, but also because we just like peanut butter chips more than butterscotch chips! The great thing about these 7 layer bars is that you can make them however you like. Use whatever combination of ingredients you have or prefer and they will be fantastic. The only thing you can’t change is the sweetened condensed milk – you do need that!
- We like these bars best chilled, but you can keep them at room temperature if you prefer. I do find they are more crumbly at room temperature though, so keep that in mind.
Here are some more great bar cookies for you:
- Pecan Pie Bars
- S’mores Bars
- Apple Pie Bars
- Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
- 1 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 can (14 oz, 300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper or foil, spray lightly with cooking spray, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and graham wafer crumbs until well combined.
- Press this mixture firmly into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
- Layer the peanuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and coconut evenly over top of the graham wafer crust.
- Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over top of everything, as evenly as possible. Spread it with a rubber spatula to make it as even as possible.
- Bake the bars for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is just set.
- Let the bars cool completely before lifting them out with the parchment paper and slicing them into squares. They will be easier to slice if you chill them for at least an hour first.
- Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge (whichever you prefer) for 7-10 days.
Source: Adapted from The New Purity Cookbook.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 4g
Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.