Seven Layer Bars

Are we far enough into 2013 by now that we can all stop pretending to still be keeping those healthy eating resolutions? (See note at bottom.)

Ok good. Now here are some cookies that will taste so much better than whatever healthy cookie made out of flax seed, carrot, mashed bananas, and carob chips you are pretending that you are enjoying eating.

seven layer bars_13 Everyone should have a signature dessert, one that they whip out and bring to everything. During college, this was mine. A friend sent me a care package my freshman year that had something similar to them in it and my roommate and I went a little crazy replicating it. Because we were cooking in a kitchen that was the size of a cardboard box, finding a one dish dessert was a high priority. You can assemble then in the pan that you cook them in using no special tool other than a microwave. Donna and I used to throw them together in under 10 minutes and then cart the pan around to whatever oven we could find. Then, the finished product was carted off to whatever social function was next. I’m pretty sure I made at least a hundred batches of these over my four years at Hillsdale.

seven layer bars_1They are kind of like the bar form of Samoas, which might be the single most addictive item ever created. I could eat at least a full box before I even started getting tired of them. Same goes for these bars, though I would probably go into chocolate coma before my brain told me to stop.

sevenlayerbarschipsThey aren’t gluten free, sugar free, low calorie, low carb, or good for you in any other way.

But sometimes… don’t you just get tired of trying to force dessert into a category that it was never meant to indwell, namely GOOD FOR YOU?  I promise to try to post a recipe about kale chips or something sometime soon. Actually, that’s a lie. I love kale, but I just can’t get on board with dried, sad, crunchy kale.

So sometime soon, when you are going somewhere where other people can prevent you from eating the whole pan by yourself, make some of these and take them with you. Be unapologetically indulgent in the name of good cookies, community, and shared calories.

seven layer bars_12Seven Layer Bars

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 box graham crackers, crushed. My favorite method is to put them in a  secure ziplock back and — wearing clean socks — step on them. Awesome crumbs in minutes.
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1/2 back butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 bag white chocolate chips
  • 1 bag sweetened coconut flakes (or slightly less than one bag… sometimes I get carried away with coconut)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter and pour into 9×13 inch pan. Press crumbs into the butter.
  3. Layer the following: 1/2 bag chocolate chips, white chips, a couple handfuls coconut, butterscotch chips, other half chocolate chips, rest of coconut. Reserve a couple chips of each type aside.sevenlayersteps
  4. Pour sweetened condensed milk over coconut and sprinkle with chips.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until coconut is turning golden brown on edges.
  6. Remove and let cool COMPLETELY. Don’t ignore that. I try to make them the day before or the morning before something. However, do run a knife around the edges to loosen the coconut from the sides or cleaning will be miserable.

seven layer bars_11Ps: About those Resolutions… I am pleased to announce that I have attended spinning classes twice a week since the semester started. Which has only been three weeks. And Friday I got there too late for a bike, so I just sat on a mat and did the abs section… but I’m still counting it.  I still haven’t started Brothers K, only painted my nails once, am currently wearing socks with holes, and back-burnerd 30 Rock because I got sucked in to 24 (12 years after the rest of you) and I might actually die if Jack Bauer doesn’t save everybody soon. So I guess I am a resolution failure. Guess I’ll go drown my sorrows in cookies.

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23 Responses to Seven Layer Bars

  1. trangquynh says:

    yummy, this looks seriously amazing and delicious !!!

  2. enjoywithjoy says:

    I have a similar recipe and brought it to a lunch with friends and she said you made 7 layer bars…what?! I didn’t even count the ingredients and it was 7 alright. I got the recipe from the newspaper and was called Magic Cookie Bar. Whatever it is, it taste good!

  3. Jamie Vanderput says:

    I loved it whenever you made these in college! Andrew can’t stand coconut (his loss, I know), but I am going to make them anyways and see if I can convince him otherwise. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Hannah says:

      The awesome thing is that you could make half the pan with coconut, and half without super easily. I also feel pretty sure that you could substitute nuts for the middle coconut layer and a handful of graham cracker crumbs for the top and have it turn out great!

  4. Thank you for not posting a healthy cookie recipe!! People need to stop kidding themselves that those are better because these look divine. And I agree 100% on kale chips- what a waste of kale.

    • Hannah says:

      I mean, I have made “healthy cookies” that were good…. but that’s just because they were composed entirely of peanut butter so I’m not sure they were actually any healthier than others, even if they were gluten and dairy free. : ) And thanks for joining me in my kale chip hate…. I just love steamed/sautéed leafy kale SO MUCH that I get really distraught when someone hands me pathetically shriveled up kale and tries to fool me into accepting it as a chip. LIES. Pass the Doritos.

  5. Terpsichore says:

    Somehow the role of sweetened condensed milk in layer bars always awes me. Here’s a bunch of things you just chuck into a pan, but this delicious substance magically adheres the disparate ingredients into one addictive whole! Verily it is alchemy. It’s like lime juice turning mushed avocado into guacamole.

    Re: resolutions: you have 6 resolutions and the whole year for them, so don’t write yourself off yet unless writing yourself off is an integral part of cookie-eating. 3 of the 6 are repeat-throughout-the-year, but sock disposal/30 Rock/Bros. K are, you know, a sort of one-time deal. I profess myself confident in your ability to summon up your powers of excellence and make it to the monastery scene at least.

    (I have difficulty disposing of holey socks too, especially if they’re the cute argyle variety)

    • Hannah says:

      You know, it really is kind of the most magic substance ever…. TOTALLY food alchemy.

      And thanks for my resolution pep talk. I’ve decided that the process of making resolutions is infinitely more inspirational and exciting than the process of keeping them. Whatever. I am what I am, which is currently a holly-sock wearing, 24 watching, cookie eating happy camper. : )

  6. I made these a few months ago, but I insisted Matthew cart them off to his flight so I wouldn’t eat them all. You should have seen the pitiful look he gave me until I relented and promised to keep a few at home just for him ;-)

    Also, I love the way you did the photos for the assembly steps. Delightful :-)

    • Hannah says:

      I am pretty impressed that you kept them at home for him and didn’t eat them… I am not quite as strong. Good thing James prefers apples to cookies… MORE FOR ME.

  7. I think this looks amazing! I think I need to try it. I don’t know if mine will come out looking as good as yours, but I will try! :)

  8. drp039 says:

    Hannah! What great memories! I still enjoy baking these to this very day!

  9. Brittany says:

    My goodness, these look amazing!

  10. Jaimi Swenson says:

    The Seven-Wonder Layer Bars! No Hillsdale Bible study/open house/birthday party/gathering of any sort was complete without them! Back in the Olds-days, even before I knew *you* very well, I *certainly* knew those bars . . . :)

  11. Becky says:

    This post is getting put on my bookmark bar folder called recipes to make! :) I even have an event I can take them to next weekend. What do you think about subbing peanut butter chips for the butterscotch ones? I also have fond memories of these cookies from our time at Hillsdale, and I’m sure Robbie does too, since you made them for his Bible study. :)

  12. Pingback: Chocolate Fudge Pie | The Art in Life

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