I have always known these as Magic Bars, but you may have heard them called Hello Dollies or 7 Layer Bars. My son once asked why are they called magic bars? Well, they are called this, because you take several dry ingredients and place them into a pan without mixing in any wet ingredients. You simply pour the sweetened condensed milk over the dry ingredients and the baking process causes them to melt into each other and stick magically into a bar that can be held without crumbling everywhere.
It also is a simple recipe that really doesn’t require more than the pan they are baked in. I however prefer to mix my dry ingredients first and pour into the pan instead of layering, but you can do as your heart desires. These bars are also very versatile! You can add extra toppings or change them up to create a new bar all together. Here’s some options we like:
Fruit: Add any dried fruit to give the bars a slightly tangy sweet twist to the flavors. I love adding craisins, but you could always add dried blueberries, raisins, dried cherries, or any other dried fruit available.
Nuts: Give the bars a bit of a crunch and some added protein, by adding your favorite chopped nuts like pecans, peanuts, walnuts, or pistachios. You can even mix some peanut butter powder or protein powder into the crust for an additional boost of protein and flavor.
Chocolate: My recipe has a mixture of white and semi-sweet chocolate, but you could always do all of one or the other or try with dark chocolate. You could also switch it up a little and add butterscotch, toffee, or peanut butter to the mix.
Crust: While the original uses graham crackers you could always switch this up with any cookie of your choice. Try using biscoff cookies or ground pretzels. Want a gluten free option? Use any gluten free cookie. I really love the gluten free animal crackers made by Glutino.
Whatever changes you make to the filling, the only important part is the sweetened condensed milk.
That is your magic glue that can’t be left out. I have heard of some using a coconut version, but I haven’t tried that yet. If you do let me know how it was and I will try it out myself one day. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 pounds Graham cracker crumbs
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups oats
- 1 pound butter melted
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- 2 ½ cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup craisins optional
- Crush graham crackers into a fine crumb and place in a medium bowl. Add two cups of the oats, the sugar, and melted butter to the graham crackers. Mix well and then pour into a lined large cookie sheet. You want about a ¼ inch covering the entire bottom of the pan. Depending upon your pan’s depth, you might be able to make more than one pan. Bake for 5 minutes in a 300’F oven.
- After cooking the crust for 5 minutes, drizzle 1 can of sweetened condensed milk all over the crust. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly spread) In a bowl combine 2 cups coconut, 1 cup oats, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and craisins if using. Pour this mixture over the top of the sweetened condensed milk in the pan with the crust, and evenly spread out. Drizzle the second can of sweetened condensed milk over the top of that layer. Sprinkle the last ½ cup of coconut over the top and then place back in the oven for 20-30 minutes. It will be lightly golden on top and the sweetened condensed milk will melt into the other ingredients and caramelize.