Seven layer bars are so damn dirty. But like, the best kind of dirty. Over the top, make-your-teeth-hurt sweet. Dense, heavy, gooey, sticky, one-and-done guilt-soaked amazingness. It’s truly one of the easiest recipes you can ever attempt in your kitchen, but gives you almost unlimited ability to tweak and change to your liking.
Bar desserts in general are usually considered a style of American cookie. The term is catch all for a wide variety of layered and baked products that have a consistency somewhere between cake and cookies, and can have anything under the sun in them. Although I’ve never found a definitive lineage to the seven layer bar (also known as magic bars in some circles), I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they started as a promotion to sell sweetened condensed milk, maybe during an era where eggs, sugar, or flour were in short supply? Just a guess people, if anyone out there has some solid history on these things, let me know!
Remember, it’s almost impossible (short of under or over baking) to totally mess this recipe up. But even simple recipes can fall short of glory if you don’t back them up with technique. The ingredient layering in this recipe is specific to hold the bars together well and to have some balance in flavor when you bite into them. Equally important is taking the time to evenly spread each layer of ingredients so they have even distribution when the bar is baked. It’s all in the details!
This recipe size is perfect for an 8×8″/20x20cm pan. If you have a baking pan that size, perfect, but I personally like to use the cheap foil variety you can find at the grocery store. After the bars are baked I just tear the pan away from the sides, which is much easier than trying to remove them from a glass or metal pan. If you have a different size of pan, just use this recipe as a benchmark and add more or less of each item until the pan is thoroughly and evenly covered.
seven layer bars
115g butter unsalted
140g graham cracker crumbs
195g chocolate chips Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips
170g chopped walnuts
150g butterscotch chips
396g sweetened condensed milk 1 14oz can
100g shredded coconut
as needed chocolate chips optional Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips
Melt the butter and mix it up with the graham cracker crumbs until you have a wet-sand type mix.
Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Layer all of the remaining ingredients in over one another in the order listed in the recipe.
Press the coconut gently and evenly to compress the mixture then place the tin on a double sheet pan before baking.
Bake at 350F/176C until set, about 25-30min. For extended baking, cover the bar loosely with tin foil while baking.
Let the bars cool and cut. These lil’ puppies are ready to go as is, but if you want an alternate finish, read on!
Temper the optional chocolate chips and dip the top of each bar.
Let the bar sit for 1min. and sprinkle with sea salt before the chocolate fully sets.
Get at those bars.