Soft-baked graham cracker cookie bars with butterscotch, coconut, chocolate, and pecans. An ultimate version of the classic magic bar/hello dolly bar.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Different brands of coconut weigh different amounts. I used store-brand sweetened shredded and 3/4 cup was 55g.
- 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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