Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars

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Soft-baked graham cracker cookie bars with butterscotch, coconut, chocolate, and pecans. An ultimate version of the classic magic bar/hello dolly bar.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to Day 7 of Sally’s Cookie Palooza! So are you sick of cookies ye…

Ha! I can’t even finish typing that sentence. Of course you aren’t.

Well, we actually are taking a short break from cookies today. Cookie bars are on the menu and you’re absolutely going to love them.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Traditional Magic Bars, also known as Hello Dolly Bars or 7 Layer Bars, are a layered dessert bar with a crumbly graham cracker crust, then topped with layers of butterscotch, coconut, chocolate, and nuts. Everything sticks together from gooey sweetened condensed milk that caramelizes on top when baked.

In short… magic bars are everything you love all in one.

And today? I made them even better. That’s right. I went off the beaten path and made a traditional magic cookie bar… thicker, softer, overloaded, and downright ultimate!

You’re welcome.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

So here’s what you’re going to do.

  • Stop what you’re doing right now and start preheating your oven.
  • Don’t make a graham cracker crust. Make a graham cracker butterscotch cookie crust.
  • Layer that cookie crust with chocolate, coconut, and pecans.
  • Flood the glorious layers with sweetened condensed milk.

Oh I can’t even handle it!

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

So… the crust. It might just be my favorite part about this recipe. It’s like a thick graham cracker with a super soft texture. If you’re anything like me, you crumble graham crackers up into your yogurt. No? Just me?

You’ll make the same graham cracker cookie bar that you made here. (Have you made those? Do it.) Add some butterscotch chips to it and pre-bake it for a quick 5 minutes while you get the other ingredients ready.

On top of the pre-baked crust, layer 1 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup shredded coconut, and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Guess what? You can play around with those amounts. Love coconut? Add a little more. Don’t like nuts? Leave them out and replace with more chocolate chips or coconut. There is plenty of room to play around with the toppings. Have fun with it! Kevin even suggested peanut butter cups next time. I knew I was marrying this man for a reason.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Top with 8 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, which is a little more than half of a standard 14 oz can. Before baking, I threw some extra butterscotch chips on top. I am a fool for butterscotch, aren’t you?

Once the cookie bars are done in the oven, you have to let them cool. Now if you’re self control has never been tested before… it will be tested now. If you cut into the bars too early, the layers will fall apart and you’ll be left with a gooey mess. Which, umm… still tastes quite good if you ask me.

But seriously. Let the bars cool. Since I have zero patience, I sped up the process and stuck them in the refrigerator after 30 minutes of cooling on the counter. I suggest you do the same. The sooner you can dig in!

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

They’re soft, they’re thick, they’re chewy, they’re ultimate! Layers upon layers of goodness. So many darn tastes and textures. Your tastebuds will be in heaven. They’ll be the star of any dessert platter!

So what did we do with these bad boys? After sampling quite a few after the photo shoot, Kevin’s friend came over to visit. (I’m beginning to think that his friends come over just for the baked goods we always have around.) We sent him off with the rest of these ultimate cookie bars. I received a text shortly after.

“These won’t last the whole car ride.”

Yeah, I hear ya Dave. I hear ya.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars with butterscotch, chocolate, and coconut! Get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Look at how they’re made and start some ultimate baking!

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars



  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 cup (100g) graham cracker crumbs (9 graham crackers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (175g) butterscotch chips


  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini, but regular size is OK)
  • 3/4 cup (50-60g) shredded sweetened coconut1
  • 1/2 cup (70g) chopped pecans2
  • 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using handheld or stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed. Beat for about 2 minutes until smooth and combined. Add the vanilla extract and egg, beating until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl down as needed.
  3. Add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low, slowly mix until combined, then beat in the butterscotch chips. Press graham cracker dough into the prepared baking pan and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and layer with chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly on top. I sprinkled a couple more butterscotch chips on top, but that's optional.
  4. Bake the bars until set, about 30 minutes. I loosely covered the pan with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent browning. Make sure you rotate the pan a couple times during the bake time as well. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and then stick in the refrigerator to cool all the way through. Once the bottom of the pan is cold, you may cut the bars into squares.
  5. Bars stay fresh at room temperature for up to 1 week. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months-- thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Different brands of coconut weigh different amounts. I used store-brand sweetened shredded and 3/4 cup was 55g.
  2. If you don't like nuts, leave them out! Replace with more butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, or coconut. Play around with the amounts of add-ins you like. These bars are very forgiving.

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  1. Hi Sally! If I wanted to do a version without coconut could I have the flavor combinations be: white chocolate chips in the crust and chocolate chips, peanuts, and mini peanut butter cups for the top portion? Thanks Sally!! Was just wondering if the coconut part is vital. 

  2. Hi Sally! I see in the ingredient list it calls for salt but the directions don’t say to add any. I made 2 batches one with and one without. Is it supposed to have salt in them? Both batches came out great though! Love this blog and all of your recipes 🙂 

  3. Because of how much I LIKE-LIKE nuts, I’ve made these with a combination of pecans, walnuts, macadamias and cashews (toasted first), plus dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips, and butterscotch chips. Hershey also puts out cinnamon chips this time of year, and I added them one year (with all the other toppings–I don’t skimp!), and it was simply “over the top,” and my coworkers went crazy for the bars.

    I never thought to make a crust like this, though, so will do that for my next batch–but will still have all the toppings, including more butterscotch chips :-)!

  4. Hi Sally, These look AMAZING! Two questions: 
    1) If I understand correct, I would have to double the above recipe for a 13*9 pan, right?
    2) Would dark brown sugar or regular white sugar be okay to use instead of the light brown?

    1. I made these with dark brown sugar (all I had on hand) and they were good but tasted of molasses; next time I’ll wait for light brown sugar. Family ate every crumb anyway. Didn’t try white sugar.

  5. Made these for a bake sale today! Tried a small piece while wrapping them and had to think twice about not eating them all! They were a huge hit, thanks for the great recipe!

  6. Here’s my question. What if I want to make enough for a 13×9 pan? Should I just double the recipe and watch it on the oven? I don’t like nuts so would probably reduce the nuts and increase the coconut by theright amount. I would use milk chocolate chips since I’m not fond of semi sweet chocolate. Thanks.

  7. I made these bars yesterday for a holiday get together and they were a big hit. Everyone loved them. Some took extras home and others asked for the recipe. Will make again and again. Thanks!

  8. Hi. I made these exactly by your directions. Unfortunately, they stuck to the foil like crazy and stayed very gooey and soft in the middle. So much that there is no cutting them into bars as I expected. What did I do wrong? I followed the recipe exactly. Help. The flavor is great but its a mess.

  9. Hi Sally,
    I am looking to make your Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars. They look Awesome! Can I double the recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan?
    Thank you and God bless,

  10. Hi again Sally,
    In making these in a 9×13 pan do I increase the bake time on the crust from 5 to 10 minutes and then the entire bake time from 30 mins to 60 mins? Thank you once again and God bless,

    1. Hi Brenda! You can pre-bake the crust for a little longer if doubling the recipe– 10 minutes is great. The bake time with the toppings wouldn’t double, but it will be a few minutes longer than 30 minutes.

  11. Hi Sally, doubled the recipe and Oh My Good Lord, these are THEEE BEST squares I have ever tasted in my life!!! Serious addiction could be happening here…lol
    Thank you for coming up with these! Delicious!!!

  12. Hello Sally. I really enjoy your books and fun delicious recipes. When I make 7 layer bars I use a chocolate Graham crust (teddy bear grahams). It really makes them more flavorful.
    Everything needs a little extra chocolate.

  13. I have made this recipe numerous times, it’s my go to for satisfying a sweet tooth. I always cut them in a shareable size so many people get a taste and everyone loves them. Where I’m from we called these “7 Layer Bars” but by any other name, they are just as delicious!

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