Magic Bars Recipe

4.75 from 16 votes

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Magic Bars, also known as Hello Dolly Bars (or seven layer bars), are made with a buttery graham cracker crust, topped with pecans, coconut shreds, chocolate, and butterscotch chips then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and baked! They are a decadent dessert bar, but one that is nearly fail-proof. Want a variation of these magic cookie bars, but made with Oreos? Give my Oreo Magic Bars a try!

baked magic bars cut into squares

But First, What are Magic Bars?

This easy dessert has a graham cracker crust, topped with pecans, coconut shreds, chocolate, and butterscotch chips then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and baked! These are Magic Bars, 7-layer bars and also known as Hello Dolly Bars. Whatever you call this treat, you know it’s going to be killer. I mean how could you go wrong? And one of the many beauties of these bars is that you can change up the toppings and turn them into a completely different dessert! Simple ingredients like white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, even chopped up Oreos or mini marshmallows. The possibilities are endless, just like my craving for these bars!

pressing down graham cracker crumbs with the back of a measuring cup

What Are the Seven Layers in 7-Layer Bars?

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • Butter
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Pecans
  • Coconut
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk

Simple Substitutions & Recipe Variations For This 7 Layer Bar Recipe

While this is a classic magic cookie bar recipe made as written, this is one of my favorite recipes because there are so many simple substitutions you can add or swap out to make these your own.

For the Crust

While butter and graham cracker crumbs are the classic choice, consider using crushed Oreos (golden or original), crushed ritz crackers, shortbread cookies or ground golden grahams cereal. All will add their own unique flavor, but will get the job done and act as a delicious and sturdy crust for the toppings.

Toppings

The sky is nearly the limit to what you can add to these Hello Dolly Bars to really make these your own. Who says it has to be a 7 layer recipe? Make it 10 if you want!

  • Baking Chips: you will need a total of 2 cups of whatever kind of ‘chip’ you would like. I use semi-sweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, but feel free to substitute these for what you have on hand or what you prefer. Here are a few options: dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cinnamon chips or even heath bar baking chips. Yum!
  • Nuts & Coconut: these are mainly added for texture and may do they make a delicious magic bar. You need 2 cups total of any combination of the following: shredded coconut (or coconut flakes), pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios or peanuts.

Sweetened Condensed Milk is the Glue

There is no good substitution I have found for sweetened condensed milk. Like the heading suggests, the sweetened condensed milk acts like the glue that holds all the toppings onto the crust and essentially creates your dessert bars. This is an ingredient you don’t want to skip.

chocolate and butterscotch chips on top of graham cracker crust all in a baking dish

How to Make Magic Bars (Seven-Layer Bars)

For full details on how to make Magic Bars, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Preheat + Prep

Preheat oven. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Make the Crust

In a small bowl, stir melted butter together with graham cracker crumbs until moist. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan using the bottom of a measuring cup.

Pro Tip: You can make your own graham crackers crumbs in a food processor by pulsing whole crackers until they become fine crumbs, or take some help from the store and buy them pre-crumbled.

Layer Goodies

Top crust with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans. Drizzle the top with sweetened condensed milk as evenly as possible. If it doesn’t spread evenly, use the back of a spoon or butter knife to spread.

Bake, Cool + Slice

Bake 25 minutes or until bars have set and edges are slightly golden brown. Cool completely, then using a sharp knife, cut into 20 even bars. Store and serve at room temperature.

Storing Magic Bars

This Magic Bar Recipe can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. You could refrigerate these if you live in a hotter climate however they don’t necessarily need to be stored in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Magic Bars?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze Magic Bars! Bake as normal then cool completely. Slice into bars then store in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to two months.

Thaw at room temperature then, if desired, heat one up in the microwave (be careful not to zap it for too long)!

baked and cut magic bars
What are the layers of magic bars (7-layer bars)?

Magic bars have seven layers consisting of graham cracker crumbs, butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped pecans, shredded coconut, all glued together with sweetened condensed milk.

How do I store magic bars (7-layer bars)?

Magic bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. You could refrigerate these if you live in a hotter climate however they don’t necessarily need to be stored in the fridge.

Can I freeze magic bars (7-layer bars)?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze magic bars! Bake as normal then cool completely. Slice into bars then store in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to two months. Thaw at room temperature then, if desired, heat one up in the microwave (be careful not to zap it for too long)!

Love Magic Bars? More Bars Try!

The printable recipe card for these delicious bars is down below, enjoy friends 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

baked magic bars cut into squares
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4.75 from 16 votes

Magic Bars (Hello Dolly Bars)

Magic Bars, also known as Hello Dolly Bars or 7-layer bars, are made from a graham cracker crust, chocolate, nuts, coconut shreds, butterscotch all glued together with sweetened condensed milk. Perfect for sharing, or not!
servings 20 squares
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the Crust:

For the Toppings:

Equipment

  • 9×13 dish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir melted butter together with graham cracker crumbs until moist. Press evenly into the bottom of 9×13 pan using the bottom of a measuring cup.
  • Top crust with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans. Drizzle the top with sweetened condensed milk as evenly as possible. If it doesn't spread evenly, use the back of a spoon or butter knife to spread. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, if desired.
  • Bake 25 minutes or until bars have set and edges have browned slightly. Cool completely, then cut into 20 even bars. Store and serve at room temperature.

Notes

The beauty of these bars is you can change up the toppings and turn them into a completely different dessert! Try white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, even chopped up oreos or mini marshmallows. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hello dolly bars, magic bars

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Recipe Rating




30 Responses
  1. Wendyru

    5 stars
    They taste great but mine always come out crumbly on the bottom no matter how much I pack the graham crackers. Any suggestions?

  2. Shannon

    I love these squares and the best part is how when I make them, I just throw whatever I have in my pantry together and they’re perfect. (Plus, I’ve used up random amounts of random things)
    Today I had a bit of peanuts, some almonds and other nuts to throw on top.

  3. Dee

    5 stars
    Thanks for posting this. My mom had written the contents in a cookbook with absolutely no measures or instructions on how to do it. It is as good as I remembered. Thank you for the most excellent recipe.

  4. Upstate NY Baker

    5 stars
    My grandma made these for church pot lucks or holidays- I can’t imagine eating them without butterscotch chips!!! They add such an amazing flavor!!!

  5. phyllis

    every recipe I’ve seen for this says to pour the condensed milk on top, this one says over the crust. Does it burn the toppings?

  6. Karen T

    5 stars
    Classic and delicious….my go to when I need a quick dessert for a last minute occasion. I usually toast my pecans first. These are definitely comfort food. I make it just the way you do! They ship well, and freeze well.

  7. Nancy Charles

    I’ve been making these for over 50 years. We do call them Hello Dollies. They are so good. Only difference we don’t put the butterscotch chips or salt in ours. I also use a 11×7 pan instead of 13×9.

  8. Vontreva Gammel

    Sounds delicious! I will definitely try them for my Grand children. Thank you and keep up the good work….

  9. Jennifer Hamilton

    5 stars
    I grew up on these and make them for my kids too. These are so good. You cannot eat just one. The saltiness from the buttery crust, with all that sugar is the best!

  10. Amy Bailey

    We call them seven layer bars and they are pure magic! An old coworker of mine brought some to work recently and I was so excited to have one. I went into the lunchroom to find that she doesn’t bake hers ☹️ It definitely took away some of the magic. I think I need to make some now!

  11. Nancy

    Have Made these for many years. Recipe from my Aunt. She called them Hello Dollies. She also didn’t put in the butterscotch chips and I don’t either. Make them especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. A family favorite.

    1. Irma

      It is indicated at the end of #3 of the instructions: “Top crust with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans. Drizzle the top with sweetened condensed milk as evenly as possible. If it doesn’t spread evenly, use the back of a spoon or butter knife to spread. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, if desired.”

  12. Marilyn Brennan

    5 stars
    My mom used to make something like this at Christmastime and called them Out of This World Bars and later switched it to Mars Bars. They were everyone’s favorite. Glad to have this recipe!

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