Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars

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!

Print

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Bars

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure 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

Layers

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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months– thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Coconut: Different brands of coconut weigh different amounts. I used store-brand sweetened shredded and 3/4 cup was 55g.
  3. Pecans: 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.

Keywords: magic cookie bars, ultimate magic cookie bars

See more cookie palooza recipes!

138 Comments

  1. This was one of the sweet treats my dad made every Christmas. As a child…the smell of the graham cracker crust browning…oh my word. I always would wait for the dregs left in the condensed milk can…yummm! Thanks so much for the memory.

  2. We’re always on the same wavelength with our recipes! I hadn’t had a magic-ish bar recipe in a couple years and of course, we have them within days of each other! I love love love magic bars. Like, they are my THING! The flavors of butterscotch, sweetened cond milk (or dulce de leche) are just the best things ever! I love that yours are ultimate. Piled up with all the good stuff! Mmmm 🙂

  3. Of course I’m not sick of cookies yet – definitely not possible! I am loving all your recipes, and these bars are no exception. They look soooo good! So many amazing flavors packed into one bar – no wonder they are called magic

  4. OOooo, my Nana used to make 7 Layer Bars and boy oh boy I have been craving one all year! (yes, year!) I love the butterscotch graham cracker crust…maybe I will try these in January when my office coworkers are out of sugar comas and ready for some baked goods again. Otherwise I’ll attempt to eat them all!

    And no, I am not sick of cookie-palooza…I have been loving it! 🙂

    1. Sugar coma. I think I’m headed into one right about now Christine! Only 1 week until Christmas and I’m baking up a storm. The butterscotch graham crust is the best part if you ask me!

  5. I love that you made the crust into cookie crust! So smart and, I would imagine, so much more soft and indulgent. Yum! And Kevin’s idea is brilliant (can you imagine it with a peanut butter cookie crust)! I’m guessing you already have a magic bar with reese’s idea planned out in your mind. Can’t wait! 😉

  6. I didn’t know hello dollies could get any better! these look absolutely delicious. I can’t find graham crackers in Switzerland, so I’m going to have to think of something to swap in so I can make these asap 🙂

    1. Hey Caitlin! You can make a regular cookie bar instead of the graham cracker bar. How about you use this cookie recipe and add butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips. This will be your crust. Prebake for 5 minutes as directed here and then layer on the goodies in this recipe. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/13/chewy-chocolate-chunk-cookies/

  7. OMG! I am soooo making these this holiday season (which is almost over . . . WHERE did it go???)
    It sounds like a glorious twist on the traditional recipe, and I can’t wait to taste it! I haven’t been able to visit you much lately, Sally, hope all has been well with you!

  8. Oh my goodness, I thought I was finally done all my Christmas baking! I have actually never had a magic bar. Clearly I am missing out on the meaning of life. Chocolate, coconut, pecans, butterscotch….so much goodness. Need these in my face!

  9. Yum, these look spectacular, Sally! I love how the crust is SO thick in these bars…it’s almost the main event!
    Beautiful, delicious-looking shots as usual. 🙂

  10. Oh, girl….. you are killin’ me. (And doing a fair number on my diet, too.) I LOVE 7-Layer Bars, and have made lots of interesting variations over the years. A fave might be the ones I subbed in raspberry jam, sliced almonds, and white chocolate chips for the regular chips and nuts. And now I need to try out your crusty inspiration! Never mind that I have gifts to wrap and a house to clean! Hooray for cookie palooza!
    Happy holidays!

    1. Leslie! That raspberry white chocolate layer bar sounds out of this world! I actually think I may have to try it. It would be a wonderful Valentine’s day treat or something. Happy Holidays to you!

  11. I love butterscotch so much, and I am CRAZY about graham-cracker crusts, so this sounds like an amazing combination! I think I would use those little Kraft caramel bits instead of nuts…or maybe Mallo bits (like Lucky Charms marshmallows, but just little white cylinders)…or maybe Heath Pieces! Have you heard of those? They are new…like all the other Pieces varieties, but they are like m&m’s with chunks of Heath toffee in the chocolate and candy coating. YUM!!! 😀

  12. These are SO my thing!! I love, love, love 7-layer bars! I have one recipe on my site with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie base and one with a fudge brownie base, but Sally!! This graham cracker butterscotch cookie crust is just down right incredible! I love it!! These bars would last 2 seconds in my house!

  13. Oh my! These do look like magic! I think my Dad will go crazy for these. I’ll have to put them on my Baking 2014 list 🙂
    I love the cookie palooza by the way. Keeping me inspired to keep up with my holiday baking too!

    1. I am SO glad you are loving all of these crazy cookie palooza recipes, Amy. I have 3 more recipes and can’t wait to share them! If you give these a try, let me know.

  14. The soft-baked graham cracker bars look fantabulous on their own–but given the signifier “ultimate” here, I think I’m sold on these. Funny how a little adjective can go a long way, right? Hope you’re making something equally fun for the holiday platters, Sally!

  15. I am loving all the recipes you’ve been sharing for your Cookie Palooza! Everything looks so yummy.. I wish I lived near you and could taste test everything you make!!!

  16. It would be “magic” how quickly these would disappear from my kitchen! They look AMAZING, Sally! What a wonderful treat for the holidays or any time of year. Thanks for sharing, and happy holidays!

  17. I love sprinkling grahams on my yogurt too! Perfect topping (with a little of everything else too 😉 )

  18. Wow, these look like pure heaven. I have actually been waiting for you to bring out another layer bar recipe because they are my absolute favorite. However, being that this whole pan totals to around 5800 calories (and I would eat the whole pan) I may try to “health” these up a bit with some subs!

    1. Haha! Yes, these certainly are dessert. And eating the entire pan would give you an awful stomach ache! They’re quite heavy too, so sometimes I cut them extra small to yield about 24 bars since they are so rich.

  19. the mint/dark chocolate milanos in yogurt – oh my gosh Amy. I knew I loved you for a reason. I need to go buy a package of those and try it out!

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