This twist on the classic Magic Cookie Bars recipe replaces sweetened condensed milk with dulce de leche for an added caramel flavor. The flavor of these dessert bars is next level!
You may know these as Hello Dolly bars or 7 Layer Cookie Bars. Whatever you call them, you can’t deny the sweet flavor of these chocolate bars. They are divine!
If you love bars but want something with less chocolate, try my Vanilla Brownies recipe.
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Magic Cookie Bars Ingredients
To make these easy dessert bars, you will need the following ingredients (see the recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions):
- Salted butter: If you use unsalted butter, add in ¼ tsp salt instead of 1/8 tsp.
- Graham cracker crumbs: For a firmer crust, make sure that your graham crackers are pulverized into very fine pieces.
- Salt: Salt is a great method of cutting through the sweetness, because these magic bars are sweet, rich and decadent. If you forget to put the salt in the crust, you can mix it in with the chocolate or sprinkle it over the top.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds extra flavor to the crust. It can be substituted with nutmeg or left off completely depending on preference.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips: Because magic cookie bars are sweet by nature, I prefer using semi-sweet chocolate chips or even dark chocolate. You can also use butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, or milk chocolate chips.
- Coconut: If you do not like coconut, you can simply eliminate this from the recipe.
- Pecans or walnuts: I prefer to chop them into smaller pieces.
- Dulce de leche condensed milk: Dulce de leche is a caramelized version of regular condensed milk. It is thicker than caramel. If you don’t have dulce de leche on hand, you can substitute it with sweetened condensed milk and just pour it over the rest of the ingredients instead of layering them. You can’t go wrong with either version!
How to Make Magic Cookie Bars
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the graham cracker crust. Stir together butter, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and cinnamon. Firmly press graham cracker crust into the bottom of a parchment lined 8×8 pan until it reaches all four sides.
- Melt the dulce de leche. In a microwavable bowl, heat dulce de leche condensed milk until it’s easy to pour, about 1 ½ minutes. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds to prevent burning. Set aside.
- Mix the ingredients. Mix the chocolate chips, coconut, salt, and pecans together in a bowl.
- Layer the ingredients. Sprinkle 1/3 of the chocolate chip mixture over the graham cracker base. Evenly pour on 1/3 of the condensed milk. Repeat the process until you have used all your chocolate chips and condensed milk.
- Bake and cool. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy!
I like a crumbly bar so that is why my first layer is the chocolate chips. If you would like a firmer base, you can pour on the dulce de leche directly onto the graham cracker crust and then follow it with the chocolate chip mixture.
It is darker, a little sweeter, richer, and thicker than sweetened condensed milk. You can find this in most grocery stores right beside sweetened condensed milk.
In a traditional magic cookie bar recipe, you pour the condensed milk over the top of the other ingredients. Because the dulce de leche version is thicker, even when it’s been heated up, it doesn’t soak into the other ingredients like condensed milk does. That’s why it’s important to add it in layers.
Because you don’t want any large graham cracker pieces in your crust, I prefer to use a food processor to crush my graham crackers. If you have a good blender with a wide base, you can also use it to pulverize your graham crackers. If all else fails put all your graham crackers in a thick plastic bag and whack it with a rolling pin to break up the graham crackers.
In most grocery stores, there is an option to purchase graham cracker crumbs.
Room Temp: You can store magic cookie bars at room temperature for up to 1 week. There is no need to refrigerate them, just make sure they are stored in an airtight container.
Freezer: You can also freeze these for up to 3 months for best quality.