If you’re looking for the easiest, tastiest cookie bar out there, you can stop your search! These Magic Cookie Bars (sometimes called Hello Dolly Bars) are going to sweep you away with their simplicity and their luscious flavor profile!
How Can a Cookie Bar be Magic?
This recipe does to the cookie bar what dump cakes did to cake. It takes away the need for a mixing bowl and allows you to dump ingredients into a baking dish, where they magically come together in all their deliciousness.
This is an old vintage recipe that dates back several generations. You’ll find the recipe on the back of the can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. I happened upon it when my brother sent me a Dylan Hollis video featuring this recipe. (He often makes vintage recipes and shares them in short, humorous clips.)
My first thought when seeing the list of ingredients was, “No way.” I couldn’t fathom how anything eggless and flourless could turn into a bar. So, of course, I had to give it a try.
Magic Cookie Bar Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at the ingredients you’ll need to make these tasty bars. No doubt you have most of these ingredients on hand, waiting to be used.
- graham cracker crumbs (or graham crackers, crushed)
- sweetened condensed milk
- chocolate chips (I used semisweet chocolate chips)
- shredded coconut
- chopped nuts (optional)
If you make your own crumbs from graham crackers, use a food processor to create fine crumbs.
If you look up the Hello Dolly version of this Magic Cookie Bar you’ll see that it calls for butterscotch chips. That’s always an option for you, too. Some people call them 7-layer bars because they include a 7th ingredient, Butterscotch Morsels.
I’d like to deviate just a moment to say how much I love musicals. I’m a huge fan of most of them, including Hello Dolly. Barbra Streisand is spectacular in that movie and I’m also crazy about the rest of the cast, as well.
How to Make these Simple Cookie Bars
These magic bars came together so easily. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen the recipe until now. Here’s how you’re going to make this magic bar recipe.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Place butter in dish and place in oven to melt. (I actually did this part in the microwave to speed things up a bit.)
If you like, you can add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan to make lifting the bars easier.
Add graham cracker crumbs to the dish on top of the melted butter in an even layer. Press down with the back of a spatula or other kitchen tool.
Top graham cracker crumb mixture with sweetened condensed milk.
Now add the dark chocolate chips.
Add chopped nuts. (I used walnuts.)
Place dish in preheated oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Remove and place on wire rack to cool.
When the bars reach room temperature cut into squares and serve.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh 4 – 5 days. You can refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for up to a month.
What to Expect from these Magic Cookie Bars.
This is an easy recipe, one of the simplest desserts you’ll ever make!
First of all, they really are magic! In spite of my concerns, they actually came together perfectly. I will confess that I had a hard time waiting for them to cool before cutting. The aroma wafting across my kitchen was enough to bowl me over.
When I did finally cut them, I was tickled to see all of the layers had merged together forming one crisp but gooey bar, just perfect!
The flavor combination was out of this world. The sweet, crisp coconut, the ooey-gooey chocolate, the luscious graham cracker crust. . .I was over the moon for this stuff!
This is definitely the kind of treat you’re going to want to add to your holiday cookie tray. These would be great as a Christmas gift, all wrapped up with ribbons and bows.
Variations on this Cookie Bar Recipe
If you’re in the mood for a different flavor profile you might consider adding peanut butter chips to replace half of the chocolate.
Another fun combination might include butterscotch morsels with peanut butter chips.
Fresh or frozen fruit: In place of chocolate chips consider adding blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries. (Yum!)
Add lemon juice to the sweetened condensed milk and use white chocolate chips in place of semi-sweet.
Caramel and toffee chips: Spread a bit of caramel topping on top of the sweetened condensed milk and sprinkle on some toffee bits.
Add chopped frozen cherries along with the chocolate chips.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: Add some chopped Reeses in place of chocolate chips.
M&Ms: You can always add M&Ms in place of the chocolate chips. I would probably go with the mini ones.
Other Cookies and Bars from Out of the Box Baking
German Chocolate Bars: If you love German Chocolate cake but want the ease of a tender, flaky cookie bar, this is the recipe for you! The cookie crust has a light chocolate flavor and the rich gooey filling is loaded with coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.
Luscious Lemon Bars: They’re tart, sweet, crisp and creamy. These luscious lemon bars are all of the above. . .and then some!
Easy Cherry Almond Bars: If you love the flavor of a traditional cherry pie but prefer the simplicity of a cookie bar, then this is the recipe for you! This luscious sweet treat has a shortbread base, cherry preserves in the center, and sliced almonds on top. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to bake!
Simple Pecan Pie Bars: If you love the ease of a cookie bar but the luscious richness of pecan pie you’re going to flip over this simple pecan pie bar recipe! It merges both of those worlds into one dreamy bite, loaded with flavor and crunch!
Easy Chex Scotcheroos: It you’re looking for a bar that’s rich in flavor and easy to whip up, this is it! Best of all, this is a no-bake recipe, perfect for the holidays and every day in-between.
That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoy this easy magic cookie bar recipe.
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Place butter in dish and place in oven to melt. (I actually did this part in the microwave to speed things up a bit.)
- Add graham cracker crumbs to the dish.
- Top graham cracker crumbs with sweetened condensed milk.
- Now add the chocolate chips.
- Add coconut.
- Add chopped nuts. (I used walnuts.)
- Place dish in preheated oven and bake 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove and place on wire rack to cool.
- When the bars reach room temperature cut into squares and serve.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh 4 - 5 days. You can refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for up to a month.