Magic Cookie Bars are a classic, rich and decadent dessert bar. A graham cracker crust is topped with caramel, pecans, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, shredded coconut, and sprinkles.
You may have seen these cookie bars at a local bake sale, on a cookie tray during the holidays, or even at Disney World (they’re sold at the Wilderness Lodge). This old fashioned classic has gone by several names, such as Hello Dolly bars, 7 layer magic bars/7 layer bars/magic bars, or coconut dream bars.
No matter the name, this classic well loved by many. This sweet, rich bar cookie comes together with just a few minutes of prep, and 25 minutes in the oven. No wonder it’s been popular for years!
These easy-to-make cookie bars start with a buttery graham cracker crust. Then, the crust is topped with sweetened condensed milk, which turns into caramel in the oven. The topping consists of: shredded coconut, pecans, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.
Not really a cookie or a brownie, I like to think of these as candy bars. They are sweet, rich, and taste like candy, so I recommend slicing them into small squares for enjoying!
Explore some of my other fun bar cookie and candy recipes:
- Funfetti Sugar Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Golden Grahams S’mores Bark
- Peanut Butter Banana Candy Bark
- Scotcheroos Recipe
- Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Blondies
How to Make Magic Cookie Bars
Magic cookie bars are incredibly easy and fun to make. First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, or grease, and set aside.
Gather all of your ingredients. You’ll need graham crackers (or crumbs), sweetened condensed milk, sprinkles, melted butter, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, pecans (or walnuts), and butterscotch chips.
If you have graham crackers, you’ll want to crush them into crumbs. I like to use my food processor for this step. I have a Cuisinart Mini Prep 4 Cup Food Processor which I’ve had for years and years. It works perfectly for small jobs like making a graham cracker crust. I also use my food processor to make traditional pie crusts.
If you don’t have a food processor, add your graham crackers to a plastic bag, seal, and crush with a rolling pin until desired texture is achieved.
Next, add your butter and mix until thoroughly combined. All of this can be done right in your food processor.
1. Add your graham cracker and butter mixture to your prepared 9×13 pan.
2. Press into the bottom of the pan. I like to use a spatula, the bottom of a measuring cup, or a glass to help press the crumbs down evenly.
3. Next, pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk on top of your graham cracker crust.
4. Last, decorate with all of your toppings. I like to pour most of the toppings in layers, then save a little bit of each for the top. Save all of your sprinkles for the top of your bars.
Your bars are ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly browned.
You’ll see that the sweetened condensed milk turns into caramel when baked, and all of your toppings melded together to make one rich and intense candy layer.
Cookie Bar Variations
This recipe is excellent for modifying, based on the ingredients you have on hand. For example, the chocolate and butterscotch chips can be substituted with any baking chips you have on hand.
Imagine the possibilities – peanut butter and milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate chips.
I used pecans in my recipe, but you’re welcome to use your favorite nuts. Walnuts are always a great choice for baking, but you could also try peanuts, almonds, pistachios, or cashews.
Sprinkles are optional, but a great way to make your bars look seasonal and festive. Christmas? Add your favorite red and green sprinkles. Making magic cookie bars for a football party? Decorate with your team’s colors.
These sweet bars are perfect for Valentine’s Day, too – try adding heart shaped sprinkles.
Magic Cookie Bars
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 tablespoon sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper (or grease). Set aside.
- In a bowl (or food processor) combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Mix to combine, then pour into prepared 9x13 pan. Press down firmly and evenly to create a crust.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk over graham cracker crust, using a spatula to spread to edges if needed.
- Sprinkle shredded coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips evenly over condensed milk layer. Add sprinkles on top.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until bars are lightly browned.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
- Bars will keep for 5-7 days in a sealed container at room temperature.
- Pecans can be substituted with any nuts.
- Chocolate and butterscotch chips can be substituted with any baking chips you have on hand.