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7 Layer Bars and Variations

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Classic seven layer magic cookie bars with chocolate, nuts, butterscotch, and coconut! They’re the perfect dessert for your next party, holiday, or fun family treat.

7 layer bars stacked on a plate.

7 layer bars are my family’s absolute favorite cookie bars for birthdays, Christmas, or just a weekend brunch with friends. They are easy to make, and my kids love helping me assemble them. It is the perfect recipe to get the kids involved.

Another one of our favorites, Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake Cups.

What are the 7 layers?

Traditionally, seven layer bars are magic bars (another name often used for these bars) that contain seven layers. Although, it’s a bit misleading, as “Butter” is generally counted as a layer despite mixing with the graham cracker crumbs to create the base layer. The 7 layers consist of:

  • melted butter
  • graham cracker crumbs
  • semisweet chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • chopped nuts
  • shredded coconut
graham crackers, condensed milk, butter and baking chips.

Fun swaps and variations

You can customize a few of the seven layers to your liking. The bars should contain the graham cracker crust base and sweetened condensed milk as the basic foundation of the seven layer bars. You can swap the graham cracker crumbs for another cookie crumb, but a cookie crust base and sweetened condensed milk are crucial to holding the bars together.

Here are some suggestions on swaps and making your own variations of the 7 layer bars. Keep in mind that any substitutions will change the flavors of the cookie bars.

Graham cracker crumbs – swap with the same amount

  • tea biscuits
  • vanilla wafers
  • Oreo cookies

Chocolate chips and butterscotch chips – I always use chocolate chips as one of the main flavors and swap the butterscotch chips with other baking chips I have on hand.

  • peanut butter chips
  • white chocolate chips
  • funfetti chips (a popular one for birthdays)
  • peppermint bark chips (for Christmas)
  • any flavor candybar chips
display of different types of baking chips.

Nuts – you can keep out completely. My family requests them with no nuts all the time. Or spread half the pan with nuts and leave the other half without.

  • walnuts
  • peanuts
  • cashew

Shredded coconuts – you can keep out entirely or adjust the amount. I prefer a lite sprinkle of it and never put the full amount. You can swap it with rice crispies cereal to get a similar texture but none of the coconut flavor.

How to make 7 layer bars

Tips and Tricks

  • Melt the butter in the baking dish by placing it in the oven while heating up. You will grease your pan and melt butter for the graham cracker crumbs at the same time. Pour graham cracker crumbs directly onto the baking dish with the melted butter to create the crust.
  • Use parchment paper with extras hanging over the side to line the baking pan. You can easily remove the entire magic cookie bars from the pan for cutting and serving.
  • Make sure the cookie bar is cooled completely before removing and cutting.
  • Substitute an equal amount of baking chips if you use different flavors.

Ways to serve 7 layer bars

These are cookie bars, so serve and eat as you would any cookie. I love serving it with coffee or milk for the kids. You can drizzle chocolate or caramel sauce or even top it with wipe cream and sprinkles.

Want to serve it as a fancy dessert? Serve it while still warm, and top it with some vanilla ice cream. It will crumble when you try to slice it when it is not completely cooled, but it will be perfect for eating with ice cream.

hand holding a piece of cookie bar.

Common questions

Storing your seven layer magic cookie bars

Place a piece of parchment paper in an airtight container and store your 7 layer bars in it at room temperature for up to a week (it never lasts that long at our house 😉). Place it in the refrigerator during warmer temperatures and if you need to keep it for longer than a week.

Can I make ahead and freeze the 7 layer bars?

You can freeze it as a whole slab or cut it into squares and then freeze. Either way, you want to make sure you let the layer bars completely cool before handling. Wrap the whole slab or bars in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags.

To thaw, place bars in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for at least an hour for whole slabs or 30 minutes for smaller bars before serving.

Other Simply Bold recipes to try

7 layer bars stacked on a plate.

7 Layer Bars

Classic 7 layer magic cookie bars with chocolate, nuts, butterscotch, and coconut.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12

Equipment

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • cup graham cracker cumbs about 9-10 whole graham crackers
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray or butter.
  • Crush graham crackers in a food processor or a ziplock bag into fine crumbs with no large pieces.
  • Pour graham cracker crumbs into the baking pan. Pour melted butter right on top of the crumbs. Mix until crumbs are coated with butter.
  • Spread graham cracker crumb mixture along the bottom of the baking pan until it is covered completely. Use a spatula or the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press and flatten the crumb mixture lightly.
  • Spread the chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips on top of the graham cracker crust until evenly distributed.
  • Top it off with the chopped nuts to your desired amount.
  • Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly on top, so the entire pan is covered.
  • Spread shredded coconut evenly on top of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 mins until the condensed milk layer is mostly caramelized and browned.
  • Let it cool completely before cutting. Using a butter knife to scrape along the edges of the pan gently will help release the cookie bars from the pan.
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By on March 4th, 2022

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