Seven-Layer Bars

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Seven-Layer Bars, also known as Magic Bars, have a graham cracker-crumb base and are topped with a combination of nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut, and held together by sweetened condensed milk. In other words: Sweet. Rich. Delicious. Grab a tall glass of milk and get your oven ready!

My mom had an evening meeting and was asked to bring dessert, so she asked if I’d like to make something for her. I never turn down an opportunity to bake, so I immediately said yes and thought about what I could make that would be a crowd-pleaser. When I have free reign over a dish, I often turn to My 100 list to see what I still have left to cross off and if any of the remaining items would work well. And so when I ran down my list, I thought that Seven-Layer Bars would be a great dessert to share with others.

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This recipe requires very few ingredients, a minimal amount of steps, and the best part – no mixing equipment or multiple bowls, etc. You do need to toast the coconut, but that takes only a few short minutes. As mentioned in the recipe below, please be sure to keep an eye on the coconut. It can brown really quickly and as soon as it starts, it can get too dark very quickly. I recommend taking a peek every minute or so just to be on the safe side.

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Many recipes for seven-layer bars are scrutinized for not actually having seven layers. Let me cover my bases and break them down for you:

1. Graham cracker crust
2. Chopped walnuts
3. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
4. White chocolate chips
5. Butterscotch chips
6. Shredded coconut
7. Sweetened condensed milk

There you have it – seven fabulous layers of sweet goodness.

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These bars are very similar in flavor to the Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies that I made last month. Many readers have made them and loved them, so be sure to check them out!

Seven-Layer Bars

Yield: 18 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
9 graham crackers (5 ounces), crushed
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with two overlapping pieces of foil or parchment paper, leaving overhang to act as handles for lifting the bars out of the pan. Spray with non-stick spray.

2. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until the outer flakes just begin to brown, about 4 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it - coconut can go from slightly browned to burnt in a matter of seconds.) Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

4. In order, sprinkle the walnuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut over the graham crumbs. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the entire dish.

5. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

6. Remove the bars fromthe pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or bench cutter, cut into 2 by 3-inch bars.

(Adapted from Baking Illustrated)