Seven Layer Bars - a popular recipe made with layers of ingredients, like graham crackers, butter, sweetened condensed milk, coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips.
What are Hello Dolly bars
These bars could be your new Christmas tradition. They are not your everyday baking, but they can definitely be a real treat for the holidays.
Hello Dolly Bars are very popular, mainly because they are easy to make. The main ingredient that holds all the layers together is condensed milk, and for that reason, they are often called magic bars.
You can find this recipe under a multitude of names. Seven layers bars seem to be the popular name for them, but magic cookie bars, Hello Dolly bars, layer magic bars, miracle bars, coconut dream bars, etc., are just some of them.
The bars combine different ingredients, like butter, graham crackers, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, butterscotch chips, etc.
Why you should make this recipe
- It is super easy to put together.
There are no eggs involved, and the recipe is versatile as it can be adapted based on the ingredient's availability or preference.
- Try this recipe with your kids.
From melting the butter to pouring the sweetened condensed milk or creating the layers, this should be a fun experience for them.
- The recipe is versatile.
Not everyone likes coconut, butterscotch chips, or graham crackers. The recipe allows you to replace some of the layers with some of your favorite toppings.
The crust is made with graham crackers crumbs, but you can replace them with crushed cornflakes that are less sweet and have a great texture. Digestive biscuits or animal crackers are the closest you can get if you live outside of the US.
I used salted butter in this recipe to add a bit of balance to the sweet bars.
The recipe requires semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use dark chocolate chips instead. I do not recommend milk chocolate chips as they add an unnecessary amount of sugar to an already very sweet dessert.
The traditional recipe requires shredded sweetened coconut. However, playing with the recipe, I discovered I like using unsweetened coconut flakes instead. The flakes are bigger and bring a different texture to the bars.
This dessert is by definition very sweet, so if you are not a fan of overwhelmingly sweet desserts, using unsweetened coconut might be an excellent option to cut down on sugar.
If you don't like butterscotch chips, you can replace them with peanut butter chips or even heath pieces. You can make them festive for the holidays, using whatever flavored chips you like.
Any nuts you like can be used in this recipe. If you are not a fan of nuts, you can skip them entirely.
Sweetened condensed milk:
This ingredient keeps all the other layers together, acting as a binder. Make sure you buy the sweetened condensed milk and not the evaporated milk. They are sold in the same baking area and look the same, so make sure you get the right can. The evaporated milk will not work in this recipe.
What other ingredients could be used
White Chocolate Chips
Sea Salt Caramel Chips
Peanut Butter Chips
Sweet cherry Chips
Mint Chocolate Chips
Coffee Chocolate Chips
Walnuts, peanuts, slivered almonds, cashews
What kind of tools do you need for this recipe:
As this recipe is super easy to put together, it doesn't require special tools. In my pictures, you will see this weird tool I use in many recipes. You do not need it for these particular bars, but if you have the chance to buy it, it will soon become one of the treasures in your kitchen.
What is it? It is a Dutch Dough Whisk. (affiliate link) I used a regular whisk all my life and never knew this one existed. My life is forever changed! Easy to use, easy to clean, and perfect for all kinds of dough or any mixing job in the kitchen, this tool is my new love.
A bowl for mixing the graham crackers with butter
Parchment paper(affiliate link)
How to make these magic cookie bars
Step 1. Butter and line with parchment paper a 9x13inch baking pan.
This step helps remove the bars easier from the pan.
Step 2. Mix graham crackers crumbs with melted, cool butter. Place them in the pan and firmly press to create a crust.
Step 3. Layer the ingredients in the order required by the recipe. Pour over the sweetened condensed milk and add chopped nuts on top.
Step 4. Bake.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, or for about 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut.
(For complete instructions, read the recipe card below. )
They look fantastic, and they are absolutely delicious. I bet you will not be able to eat just a piece. We have them once in a while and eat way too many of them.
For this reason, I try not to make them very often, as I don't want the temptation in my house. 🙂
Do I need to refrigerate these miracle bars?
There is nothing in these bars that would need refrigeration. However, we tried them at room temperature and also out of the fridge, and we liked them better when cold. Your choice!
What about freezing them?
These bars freeze well, which is advantageous if you bake a lot, especially during the holidays. They travel well and last a long time in an airtight container.
Note: When you freeze them, add wax or parchment paper between layers to avoid getting stuck together. It is also easier to grab one directly from the freezer and eat it if you are into cold, frozen desserts.
Can I make them gluten-free?
Yes, you can. Choose gluten-free graham crackers crumbs, and you are good to go.
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Chocolate Chip Desserts That Are Not Cookies- This collection of recipes will help you make desserts with chocolate chips. No cookies allowed! 🙂
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Seven Layers Bars (Hello Dolly Bars)
- ½ cup salted butter melted but cool
- 1 ½ cup Graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch bits
- 15 ounces can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
- Preheat oven at 350F/180C.
- In a bowl, mix graham crackers crumbs with melted but cool butter. Place the mixture into a buttered 9x13 inch and press it firmly to create a crust.
- Layer shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and butterscotch bits.
- Pour over the condensed milk and add chopped nuts on top.
- After the addition of nuts, press lightly into the pan.
- Bake at 350F/180C for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
- Cool and cut.