Basic Seven-Layer Bars
These seven-layer bars, a.k.a. magic bars, are the ideal gateway dessert recipe for nonbakers. They only take one pan and require no mixing of ingredients. Just melt butter in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, sprinkle it with crushed graham crackers, and layer on the coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts. Sweetened condensed milk binds it all together while it bakes, and after about an hour, you’ll have a dessert that was just as easy as any prepackaged mix, but is way tastier.
- 8 whole graham crackers (about 4 ounces), broken in half
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or any combination (about 6 ounces)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, such as pecans or almonds
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2Place the graham crackers in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal, leaving about 1 inch unsealed. Using a rolling pin, roll over the crackers until they are fine, uniform crumbs (you should have about 1 cup of crumbs). Alternatively, you can place the crackers in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process for about 1 minute.
3Place the butter in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and place in the oven until the butter has melted, about 10 minutes.
4Remove the dish from the oven and tilt it so the butter evenly coats the bottom. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter, then sprinkle the coconut over the crumbs. Sprinkle the chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate, or butterscotch chips over the coconut, then sprinkle the nuts over the chips. Evenly drizzle the condensed milk over all of the layers.
5Bake until golden brown around the edges and springy to the touch, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Cut into 24 squares and serve.
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