Decadent magic bars filled with chocolate, caramel, coconut, and cashews. A fun, rich, and easy dessert you can serve at any occasion.
Many of you will probably recognize these from your childhood, where you may have known them as Hello Dollies or just 7 Layer Bars. They start with a simple graham cracker crust that’s layered with condensed milk, chocolate and butterscotch chips, shredded coconut, and nuts. While they bake, the condensed milk and chips form an ooey gooey layer of sweetness and the nuts toast to a lovely golden brown.
The recipe is very forgiving and great for experimentation. I’ve been wanting to use cashews in a dessert recipe for awhile, so I subbed a few butterscotch chips for caramel and topped the whole thing with big, buttery cashews. These are really good and really rich. Similar to fudge, a small bar goes a long way, unless of course you sprinkle the whole thing with flaky sea salt. Then, suddenly, it becomes hard to stop at just one bar.
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- 1¾ cup crushed graham crackers
- ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) melted butter
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup caramel chips
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup cashews, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and toast, stirring every 5-6 minutes until just barely golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, spray a 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray then top with a sheet of parchment paper. Leave the parchment long enough to drape over the edges and act like a sling for lifting the bars out after baking. Spray the parchment with cooking spray.
- Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking pan, pressing it down with your fingers. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the top. Do not use a spatula to spread it, as this can mess up the crust.
- In order, sprinkle the chocolate chips, caramel chips, coconut and cashews over the sweetened condensed milk. Press the layers into the milk gently with your palm so they stick. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely (I'm serious on this one, you actually have to cool these completely or they're a gooey mess). Use the sling to lift the bars from the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Cut into small-ish pieces (I usually get 16 bars out of this), and serve. Bars can be kept covered at room temperature or stored in the fridge. They'll last several days if you can keep yourself from eating them all!
To make the recipe gluten free, simply substitute the graham crackers for gluten free graham crackers (such as Schar or Pamela's), and check all of your packaging to ensure your other ingredients weren't processed with other items containing gluten.