Soft and Chewy Seven Layer Magic Bar Cookies
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7 Layer Cookies — These 7 layer cookies are loaded with graham crackers, coconut, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips. Chewy around the edges, but soft in the center!
Easy 7 Layer Cookies
One of my favorite desserts of all time is Seven Layer Bars, aka Magic Bars. Or Hello Dolly Bars as they’re sometimes called, depending on what potluck or bake sale you’re at.
I brought the flavors and texture of the classic Seven Layer Bars into cookies, and they’re some of my favorite cookies ever. These 7 layer cookies have some chewiness around the edges but are soft, squishy, tender and moist in the middle.
All the textures and layers of flavors just do it for me. The more, the merrier, and these cookies are loaded with graham crackers, two kinds of baking chips, and coconut. The coconut almost acts like oats would, providing heartiness, chewiness, and plenty of texture.
The cookies are a couple layers short of seven, missing nuts and sweetened condensed milk, but I don’t like nuts in bars anyway and always omit them. And sweetened condensed milk is just not cookie-friendly. Save it for these bars.
The ingredients that match up are butter, graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips.
I adapted my favorite chocolate chip cookie base because the cookies turn out perfectly, every time. There’s cornstarch in the dough and I highly recommend trying it if you haven’t hopped on the soft cornstarch cookie bandwagon yet.
Other cookies with cornstarch include M&M’s Cookies, Snickers Cookies, Twix Bar Cookies, Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies, Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies, Soft and Chewy S’mores Cookies, and Softbatch Funfetti Sugar Cookies.
There’s something about the combination of butterscotch with coconut, chocolate with graham crackers, and tossing it all together in one recipe that’s so satisfying. Marriage of complementary flavors, at their finest.
The cookies remind me of the potlucks, church basement bake sales, Girl Scout troop meetings, graduations, and so many of the celebrations and parties I attended growing up in rural Minnesota. There was always a pan of Seven Layer Bars.
If some other lady didn’t bring a pan, it was one of my mom’s signature last-minute desserts, and one I secretly hoped would go untouched so we could bring home the leftovers. Never the case though.
I’ll always have a soft spot for the original bars, but these 7 layer cookies have my attention now. Soft, chewy, melty, tons of textures and flavors.
What’s in 7 Layer Cookies?
To make these magic bar cookies, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Graham crackers
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Butterscotch chips
- Sweetened shredded coconut
How to Make 7 Layer Cookies
To make these seven layer cookies, you’ll first need to cream together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Then, mix in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, followed by the mix-ins.
Scoop the cookie dough into balls, then flatten them slightly between the palms of your hands. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, then bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the edges are set but the centers are still glossy.
Do NOT bake longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool!
Can I Omit the Coconut?
If you’re not a big fan of coconut, not to worry, it’s not a pronounced flavor and doesn’t dominate. It’s present but not overwhelming, and while you could possibly omit it and add more flour (I know I’ll be asked), it’s a key ingredient in Seven Layer Bars and something I recommend keeping for flavor, texture, and authenticity.
Can I Add Other Mix-Ins?
I’m sure you can! Chopped nuts, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and dried fruit are all options. Just make sure not to add too many mix-ins, otherwise the dough won’t form balls.
Do I Have to Chill the Dough?
Can I Scoop the Dough After I Chilled It?
Technically, yes, but it’s really hard to do. Once the dough is chilled, it firms up and becomes slightly crumbly (note that it doesn’t result in crumbly cookies though!). It’s a pain to form into balls once chilled, so I recommend scooping the dough into balls and then chilling it.
How to Store 7 Layer Cookies
Once baked, these 7 layer cookies can be kept on your counter in an airtight container for up to a week. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Can I Freeze 7 Layer Cookies?
Yes, you can freeze the raw cookie dough as well as the baked cookies. If you freeze the dough, you can bake it directly from frozen.
Tips for Making 7 Layer Cookies
I chopped the graham crackers rather than pulverizing them into crumbs, creating some nice surprise pieces peeking out from the dough. The pieces soften while baking, but retain some crunch, adding to the texture party going on.
Keep a close eye on the cookies and don’t overbake. Coconut is prone to burning and the cookies taste best when they’re a bit underbaked, pillowy soft, and gooey.
The salt is optional in these seven layer cookies, but I highly recommend adding it in. Salt adds depth to baked goods and balances out some of the sweetness.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers and crumbs, about 4 full-size cracker sheets
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the graham crackers (include the fine crumbs too, they act as flour here and are important), chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and beat momentarily to incorporate, less than 1 minute, or fold in by hand.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet).
- Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy, gooey centers).
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
- Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
- Recipe adapted from my Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies and Soft and Chewy Smores Cookies.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g
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Big Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies — These soft peanut butter cookies are the peanut butter version of a molasses crinkle. They’re soft, supremely chewy, and have an old-fashioned peanut butter cookie flavor!
Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies — These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, tender, moist, with pillowy centers and chewy edges.
Cowboy Cookies — These cowboy cookies are packed with oats, chocolate chips, Cornflakes, and shredded coconut. This is a flexible recipe that you can make with different mix-ins to suit whatever is in your pantry!
Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies — These soft and chewy white chocolate chip cookies use two special ingredients to achieve their pillowy texture: instant pudding mix and cream cheese!
Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies — There’s no butter in these soft, moist, chewy cookies that have tons of texture from shredded coconut and oats, and are loaded to the max with chocolate.
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