Magic Cookie Bars

Just in the (jolly ol’ saint) nick of time, I’ve got one more holiday favorite for you. Whether you call them Magic Cookie Bars or Seven Layer Bars, these have been my all-time favorite cookie since I was a little kid. I love all of the flavors. I love how easy they are to make. But mostly, I like how I can snack on the topping without getting caught. 

I’ve got a few tips for you to make these totally stress free. First, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are not the same thing. You need sweetened condensed milk for this recipe. You can usually find it in the cereal aisle near the powdered milk, or sometimes in the baking aisle as well. Second, Graham Cracker crumbs always seem impossible to find in the grocery store. Unless you’re going to Target where all baking stuff is clearly together, usually you can find graham cracker crumbs near the prepared pie crusts in the dry ingredient aisle. 

The other reason I love this recipe is because the word recipe can be used very lightly. There’s no exact science to this, and I always add a little more of the ingredients I really like – especially the coconut flakes. I could eat a pile of toasted coconut for dessert and be really happy. In fact, my mom used to let us toast it in our toaster oven – which either resulted in delicious toasted coconut or disgusting burned coconut smelling up the kitchen. Aside from putting the sweetened condensed milk down after the graham cracker crumb crust, you can pretty much stack the other ingredients in whatever order you want. I like chocolate and butterscotch chips, then coconuts then nuts on the top. 

I made this recipe earlier this week using gluten free graham cracker crumbs for my mom. Given we’ve crushed almost the entire batch in just a few days, I’d say they are just as good as the original. We’ll probably leave a few out for Santa tonight since he’s gluten free in our house. Fun fact, when we were little my dad used to have us leave out cookies + diet coke for Santa … and the Easter Bunny … which seemed completely normal to us as kids. I’m not even going to tell you how old I was before I figured out the truth about Santa. But I do know, he loves caffeine free Diet Coke. 

So if you’re on the fence and looking to lock in your spot on the good list this Christmas, bake up a batch of these Magic Cookie Bars and leave a few out for Santa … with a Diet Coke. 

Magic Cookie Bars
Yield: 30 Bars

Magic Cookie Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

A holiday staple in our family, these magic cookie bars are layered with seven ingredients that combine to make each bite salty and sweet delicious!


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted or browned
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/4 cups Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 1/4 cups Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and nonstick spray. This will make it much easier to get the bars out cleanly later.
  2. Melt, or brown, a stick of butter and let it cool slightly. Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Pour them into the prepared baking dish and evenly press them down firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker base.
  4. Layer the additional ingredients evenly on top. I like to do: chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and walnuts in that order. You can substitute pecans if you prefer.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, until the coconut and nuts are toasty on top. Now the hardest part - you MUST let these cool before cutting them. I recommend refrigerating them before cutting them with a hot knife. Cut them evenly to yield about 30 bars. Enjoy!


*You can substitute gluten-free graham cracker crumbs to make this recipe gluten free.