Saturday, March 12, 2011

7-layer bars

Yes, I know, I've done 'em before. But the world could always use more of these amazing bars. That could be why they're often called "magic bars" [and no, they are in no way related to the concept of "special brownies," for all you eager bakers out there].

So I have for you today, "magic", "amazing", "miraculous", whatever-you-want-to-call-it, old-fashioned, 7-layer bars.


Why are they called 7-layer bars, you ask? Well, as the name implies, they are comprised of exactly 7 ingredients:
  1. butter
  2. graham crackers 
  3. chocolate chips
  4. toffee bits [though people often substitute with peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips]
  5. shredded, sweetened coconut
  6. chopped nuts [usually pecans]
  7. sweetened condensed milk 

In other words, mouthwatering. These bars have been around for ages, and if you've ever been to a middle school bake sale, you've probably eaten them. They're appealing to younger kids [probably more so their mothers] because there is virtually no mixing involved: everything is just layered on top of the graham cracker crust. Which also means that I have exactly 1 bowl to wash, so I am a huge fan of these.

But don't be fooled by how simple these are; the flavors are anything but. I would love to meet whoever came up with this combination of ingredients and marry them, because these are perfect. I actually can't gush about these bars enough. I am absolutely in love with them.

[And it was only while baking these that I regretted having given up sugar.]


7-Layer Bars
Adapted from any foodblog ever

You'll need:
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs [about 12 whole crackers, processed finely]
  • 1 semisweet cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee chips [can be substituted with peanut butter morsels or butterscotch chips]
  • 1 cup shredded coconut [sweetened]
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts [pecans or walnuts]
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and grease the bottom and sides.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter, and press mixture evenly onto the base of the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips, toffee chips, coconut, and nuts evenly over the graham cracker crust. Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over the bars. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until condensed milk looks set but not over-browned.

Let cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.


I baked this batch for one of my favorite people on the planet, Nimra, whom I hadn't seen since our epic weekend in NYC back in October. She and her family came down to visit and stayed with Bismah and Zain. I met the three for lunch earlier today after far too long without seeing each other, and it was lovely. Plus, Nimra and Bismah couldn't keep their hands off the bars, so I figure it was a success. I did try to assure them that these are actually the easiest things to bake on the planet, so perhaps they'll attempt 'em sometime in future. All in all, a successful afternoon.

But come on; old friends, good [Italian] food, beautiful weather, what more could you want?

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