Magic Bars-Seven Layer Bars

by cakeduchess on February 25, 2011 · 54 comments

I was thinking I need a little magic in my life. Something over the top sweet and easy to make. Magic bars are magical!
Maybe you know these as Seven Layer Bars. Whatever you call them, they are crazy GOOD!
These bars are simple and we have a toxic relationship. We were inseparable when I was in high school and college. My best friend Michelle showed me how to make them in the 8th grade. We used to make them to impress the boys in high school at our Senior year parties.
Well, the boys weren’t really interested in the Magic Bars. They were more interested in the beers. But Michelle and I, we kept on making them. Hoping deep down that one day…one magical day…we would find Mr. Right with these tasty treats.

The first time I made them for my family was a day full of trepidation and curiosity. “What exactly is in these bars mommy?” my daughter asked with her brow furrowed in slight concern. “Are you sure they’re good mommy?” still not convinced, the questions continued as she carefully took the first bite.

“Mommy, these are sooo good!! I love Magic Bars!! Why didn’t you make them before??”And that was it. I didn’t mention there were chopped walnuts in the bars. I conveniently left out that her least favorite baking ingredient coconut was one of the stars in her new favorite treat.

A week of stressful doctor’s visits and a sort of painful procedure merited a dessert from my younger carefree days. A day on the beach before the procedure also was very necessary. It’s funny I live 5 minutes from the beach and I go once in a while. I need to work on that.
My lil’ guy was home from preschool. We packed our towels and beach toys and off we went. I packed sandwiches and some sweet clementines. When we arrived at the beach, I  bumped into these splendid people from Positano. We talked about Italy as we watched the spinner sharks doing their spinning right in front of us in the ocean. We were observing the sharks safely on the beach far, far away!
I sat with my mom and dad and we watched my son dig in the sand. I took deep breaths and enjoyed nature’s beauty. The sparkly ocean flat as a board. The sounds of the seagulls passing by. The grating sound of the helicopter engine that was hovering above us filming the sharks…even that didn’t get to me. Filled with worry for what will be, I tried to just enjoy the moment.
These bars are one of the easiest desserts you can make. There are a total of seven layers. You can put whatever kind of chips or nuts you like in them. I used chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, those fabulous caramel bits, and walnuts.
I used my food processor to grind up the graham crackers and the walnut. The combination of the buttery graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, and the crunch of the sweet toasted coconut is divine alone. Topped with all the yummy chips…I have a hard time just eating  one of these magical bars.
This is the recipe Michelle and I used to use. I’ve seen different variations: pour sweetened condensed milk first, then the other ingredients. Chips first and nuts last. I think it is all good no matter how you decide to layer it. This is the order we always made it and it was pure MAGIC!Smile

Magic Bars – Seven Layer Bars
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs (I used one pack from a graham cracker box)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup caramel bits (or you could use white chocolate or peanut butter chips)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (or other nuts)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13×9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add parchment paper to the bottom and also add another layer going across horizontally. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray (I use Pam Baking Spray).

On a baking sheet, spread out the coconut and bake until golden brown. Don’t walk away to make a coffee while the coconut is in the oven. It will look not ready one second, and the second could be about to burn! Burnt coconut is not that tasty. The coconut should be a golden brown in about 5-7 minutes. Mine was ready in 6 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press the graham crumb mixture into the bottom pan.
Layer evenly with walnuts.
Next, layer the chocolate chips.
Next, layer the butterscotch chips and caramel bits.
Now toss on the yummy toasted coconut.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly on top of all the ingredients. 
Isn’t this pretty?
Bake approximately 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. I don’t ever cool completely, but it does help when it is cooled in cuttingWinking smile. Remove the Magic Bars with the sides of the parchment paper. Lift carefully onto your counter or a cutting board.  I cut into bars about 2 x 2 inch in size because they are so sweet! Store covered at room temperature.

My view at the beach from my chair the other day.
Difficult to believe that many of my friends are still dealing with buckets of snow when I see these images of me and my cutie pie from this week.
Thank you for all your sweet wishes. I’m feeling ok today. I’m just taking it easy and eating enjoying the quiet while the kids are at school. I’m looking forward to reading a book outside in the fresh air with a cup of hot tea.

Thank you again to my sweet friends Deb from Smith Bites and Brian from A Thought for Food. I am grateful for the delicious recipes they shared and their beautiful posts.

I hope you have a splendid weekend! Thank you for stopping by to say hi!Smile

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela@RecipesFromMyMom February 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I remember these from my childhood too and they do have magical powers. Glad to hear you’re resting and doing well. Hold on to that beach feeling, enjoy your tea and book.


Maria February 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

These do look magical!


Lizzy February 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Oh, I shouldn’t have peeked…I love these bars!!! Too funny about you making these in high school and the boys would rather have beer. Glad your procedure is over…and I hope you got a clean bill of health, my friend. And, yes, since I woke up to new snow, I’m very jealous of your time on the beach with your sweet boy!


Roxan February 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Lora I’m the same way. I live only a few minutes from the beach, and my yoga studio is only a block away (and i’m there 4 or 5 times a week!) but I rarely go to the beach! Every summer I promise myself that I’m going to go more often since I know that this probably is a luxury i won’t always have… but I never do. THIS summer I will though ;]


Our Eyes Eat First February 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I love this – it looks simple and delicious. This would be such a great item for a bakesale!

Thanks for sharing!


Angie's Recipes February 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Those bars look so good!


Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes February 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I absolutely LOVE this post. I have been craving some magical goodness lately, and you have inspired me to get to the kitchen and make a batch.

Thanks so much for the lovely post, recipe and photographs.

Have a wonderful (and warm) weekend!


A little bit of everything February 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

sometimes, especially in winter, i wish I’d live on the beach but most of the time I love the shade of the woods behind my house.
Your bars look MAGICAL indeed. love all the ingredients. thanks for sharing Lola, good to hear you’re feeling much better.


Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow February 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Glad you are feeling ok! Those bars looks so delicious!


Dionne Baldwin February 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us, sweets. I think we will enjoy making this a part of our familys treat repritoire.

I do hope you are getting some rest and that you are feeling ok. How cool that you got to make some new friends! And got to spend a day at the beach relaxing. The only beaches we have here are cold and smell bad, so naturally the idea of a nice warm beach appeals to me. I imagine if I lived near one I wouldn’t go that often either. Life doesn’t grant much time to relax on the beach, does it? I hope you have a restful weekend filled with peanut butter kisses and melted chocolate hugs from your kiddos!


Jill Colonna February 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Your bars look so pretty and yummy. As usual, great photos! Rest up and enjoy your book over the weekend.


A Thought For Food February 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I like your direction to “not step away to make coffee”… because I would totally do that. Love these bars!


ravienomnoms February 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Yes yes yes! Those look yummy!


Susi February 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

These bars are my husband’s favorite and he requests them every year around Christmas time. They are also easy enough to make that my teenage daughter has taken over the duty of preparing them :o)
Glad to hear you are feeling better and hope you getting a little better each day. Thinking of you!


Sandra February 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I making these the same way, minus peanut butter chips, but that is awesome combo!
I am so jealous, I need beach and sunshine:)) husbands new idea this year..”move to Fl”
I am just bit resistant..have to do start from beginning..but when I am reading your post, it’s like I am I want to live there again:)))


El February 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm

You’re so lucky to live in a warm place. These look delicious!


egbkid February 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I have never had them, but they look delicious!! I have a pot luck to go to next week…hmmm. Thanks for sharing!!


Bridgett February 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Magical, definitely but more like being under a inescapable spell! How wonderful these must be. Feel better soon and take care.


Kate @ February 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Oh lordy, these are definitely magical! I can’t believe how much goodness goes into them… delicious recipe, indeed.

LOL @ at trying to lure in the boys with food… nothing like getting a man through his stomach. ;-)


Kate @ February 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

P.S. Get well soon… take some time off, plus a couple of tylenols, vicodins, whatever you prefer ;-), and plenty of fluids!


Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) February 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Me oh my, these look absolutely delicious Lora! I hope you start to feel better soon… Take a break from blogging and focus on getting better! Wishing all the best for you, hon.


Christina February 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm

These bars are so good and easy! Why don’t we make them more often? Your beach view is amazing…I’m looking out at slushy snow right now…You have a great weekend too!!!


Christina February 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I loved your story. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t utilize the beautiful things readily available to us. I used to live in Florida and I only went to the beach a couple of times during the summer. Now that I live in cold, snowy Michigan I long to be able to take a drive to the beach! Hope you feel better soon. Thanks for sharing these magic bars, they look amazing!


Holly February 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Yummy!! I made these not to long ago-you are right they are hard to stop eating;) Hope you feel better soon!!


Sprinkled with Flour February 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

These would definitely derail my dieting efforts, but the result may be worthwhile! They sound scrumptious:)


Happy When Not Hungry February 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I love 7 layer bars! I’ve never made them with caramel bites before, but that sounds delicious. Love your photos too!


Claudia February 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

A walk down memory lane – my husband introduced these to me. It was his “go-to” dessert recipe (the only one!). Glad you’re feeling better. Maybe the improvements be swift!


Sandra February 26, 2011 at 12:17 am

Magic Bars, warm weather, the beach, a good book, and happy healthy thoughts. Perfect combo.


Kankana February 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

ok i may sound super silly when I say this . I was born on 7th march, my name is of 7 letters and somehow I like the No. 7 and this bar is of 7 layers .. so i would say i have to make them :)


Sue February 26, 2011 at 2:53 am

We love Magic Cookie Bars! My mom made them every Christmas:) Yours look delicious!


Cookin' Canuck February 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

This is a such a classic dessert that never gets old. Thinking of you as you recoup.


sara @ CaffeIna February 26, 2011 at 5:33 am

I keep hearing about magic bars but I’ve never had one! I think it’s time I try to make them!


Sticky Penguin February 26, 2011 at 6:51 am

Oh me goodness, those look so indulgent and delicious it’s almost unbearable to not be able to get at them through the computer screen! I’m having a bit of a thing about condensed milk as well (on a dulce de leche kick!), but just wish butterscotch chips were easier to come by in Australia. Lovely post.


Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels February 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

Your magic bars look soooo good! Would you believe I’ve never had one?! I seriously need to make them now after seeing how insanely delicious yours look.
Oh how I wish I lived 5 minutes from the beach! The photo of you and lil guy are so cute. I love his curly hair, just adorable. :)


Katrina February 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Oh I love magic bars! It’s been so long since I’ve made them (probably because I’m the one who eats most of the pan!!). – Katrina


Victor February 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I love the layers of goodness. I might ask you to ship some to Canada ;)


briarrose February 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Great pics! I love these bars. So good.


Susan February 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

You’re killin’ me with those beach pictures and that opening photo of such sweetness! If I keep up this baking binge, I’ll never fit in a beach chair! Oh, woe is me! ;-)


Amy Bakes Everything February 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

This is my favorite bar recipe, always good, never fails, and everyone loves them! Great Job!


Chef Dennis February 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm


those bars certainly do look like magic, and I bet those boys were more interested in you than those bars and beers!
You really had me until you teased me with those great beach pictures…sigh…as we face freezing rain and snow…
Hope your weekend is going well


Reeni February 27, 2011 at 2:16 am

I’ve heard so much about these bars but don’t think I ever had one! I need to fix that – they look magical indeed! And very addicting. Hope you’re doing well – wishing you a speedy recovery!


Medeja February 27, 2011 at 3:12 am

Wonderful ingredients !


Terra February 27, 2011 at 3:13 am

Seven Layer Bars are one of my favorite recipes my mom would make me growing up. There is something about this recipe, it is like a drug, they are WAY too good:)

Sending thoughts your way, hope you are feeling better!
Take care,


Katie@Cozydelicious February 27, 2011 at 4:36 am

My grandmother made magic bars just lik ethese – they were awesome! I have to make these!


Stephanie February 27, 2011 at 6:33 am

My mom used to make these when I was little. They’re so yummy and bring back nice memories. I’ll have to make them soon – it’s been a while since ive had them!


Shanae Branham February 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

I totally agree with putting a little magic in your life and these bars truly look enchanting!


Jason Phelps February 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Evil, evil pictures. I can’t keep looking or I am going to want some. Where’s the treadmill!!!



kita February 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Glad to hear your feeling well. I love these bars! I would never tell my BF what was in them, because he wouldn’t try them – but how can you not instantly fall in love with these bites from heaven?


Kristen February 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This has long been one of my favorite recipes. I cannot make it often because I tend to want to eat the entire pan myself. Luckily, my children like it just as well as I do, so my now ravenous teenage sons eat it for me.


Erin March 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm

They look amazing! I wish I had a plate of these right now – and it’s only 8am!


Megan March 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm

These have always been a favorite!


Claire Gallam March 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Ugh, I need to move closer to a beach! And closer to you so I can eat those bars!


JR/Mike March 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

Hi Lora, I stumbled upon your blog and glad I did. You have some good stuff on here. These bars look amazing with all the different flavors. I’m hungry now after looking at them. I liked your pizza dough recipe as well, I’m always looking to see what others are out there.
I’m going to have to try some of your food for myself.


Liren March 31, 2011 at 1:52 am

Lora, I will never forget the first time I tried seven layer bars – one bite and I was smitten. Thank you for the flash back! I’ve been meaning to make a batch and seeing this post just gave me the kick in the butt I needed :)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: