Old-fashioned 7-layer bars recipes: 7 ways to make deliciously decadent magic cookie bars

Vintage recipe for 7-layer bars

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Even back in the sixties, people recognized how amazing these 7-layer bar cookies were. “These are heavenly and should be called ‘Oh-no-I-shouldn’t’ cookies,” wrote Orlando Evening Star food editor Grace Barr in 1968.

“They’re terribly rich, but terribly good, particularly when served with coffee as a dessert.”

Magic Cookie Bars recipe (1988)

Easy to make. Hard to resist. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

1988 vintage recipe for magic cookie bars

Magic Cookie Bars recipe (1988)

Magic Cookie Bars recipe (1988)

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 14-ounces Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 6-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3-1/2 ounces flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish).
  2. In 13-inch by 9-inch dish, melt margarine in oven.
  3. Sprinkle crumbs over margarine.
  4. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs.
  5. Top with remaining ingredients, press down.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Cool. Chill if desired. 
  8. Cut into bars.
  9. Store loosely-covered at room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 114mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Vintage Magic Cookie Bars recipe card 1988

Magic Cookie Bars with graham cracker crumb base (1971)

It’s just one good thing after another.

It’s just layer after layer of delectable ingredients, like creamy smooth Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, fresh crunchy Diamond walnuts, and chocolately good Nestle’s morsels.

It’s a wild new idea, because this scrumptious cookie bar is made without a mixing bowl or a mixing spoon. You just spread one ingredient on top of the other right in the baking pan. And suddenly you have the best batch of cookies you never mixed up.

Vintage recipe layered magic cookie bars

ALSO TRY: Triple Treat holiday bars recipe: Retro 3-in-1 pan cookies (1973)

Old-fashioned 7 layer bars (aka Magic Cookie Bars) recipe with cornflake crumb base (1971)

A crunchy and delicious treat, made quick ‘n easy, right in the baking pan.


1-1/2 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs or 6 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal (crushed to 1-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 package (6 oz/1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1-1/3 cups (3-1/2 oz.) flaked coconut
1 can (15 oz.) sweetened condensed milk


Measure Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs, sugar and margarine into 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Mix thoroughly. With back of spoon, press mixture evenly and firmly in bottom of pan to form crust.

Sprinkle walnuts, chocolate morsels and coconut evenly over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over top.

Bake at 350 degrees F about 25 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

This recipe yields 54 delicious Magic Cookie Bars (2×1 inches)


What’s in a name: Hello Dolly squares or Magic cookie bars?

From the Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio) January 2, 1969

Mrs. B. Kelly of Brookville, Ind., calls them 7-Cup Cookies; Ann McWethy of Oxford calls them 7-Layer Bars: Dora Helen Fields calls it Hello Dolly Cake; Lona R. Gibson calls them Hello Dolly Squares; Mrs. Raymond Harshbarger calls them simply Hello Dollys, and Katherine Muench sent in a magazine advertisement calling them Magic Cookie Bars.

No matter what the cookies are called, the women vouch they are really good. And all the recipes call for the ingredients Mrs. A. T. recalled. Two are just a little different from the majority so they will be printed separately.

Hello Dolly bars – Vintage dessert recipe (1969)


1 stick (1/4 pound) butter or margarine
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped nuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk


Melt margarine in 9 by 9 2-inch pan. Sprinkle in layers as listed the cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate pieces and nuts. Pour condensed milk over nuts. (NO stirring.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut into squares just before completely cool.

NOTE: One recipe suggested mixing the melted butter and crumbs. The opinion on pan size was divided equally between the 9-inch square and the 9 by 13-inch pan.

MORE: The original Toll House Cookie recipe, plus the famous chocolate chip cookie’s history

Magic cookie bars - Vintage recipes

Magic cookie bars: Classic recipe from the ’60s


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped nutmeats
1 cup (6-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1-1/3 cups (3-1/2 ounce can flaked coconut)
1-1/3 cups (15-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk


Into bottom of 9 by 13-inch pan, pour melted butter or margarine. Now add rest of ingredients one by one on top of each other.

Sprinkle crumbs evenly over melted butter or margarine, chopped nuts carefully over crumbs. Then distribute chocolate pieces over nuts, flaked coconut evenly over chocolate. Pour condensed milk over all.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into finger-length bars. Makes about 2 dozen 1-1/2 inch by 3 inch.

An old-fashioned recipe for seven-layer bars:  (1969)


1/2 stick butter
1 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup butterscotch pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk


Melt butter in a 9 by 13-inch pan. Sprinkle over this a layer of vanilla wafer crumbs, then shredded coconut, then chocolate pieces, then butterscotch and nuts. Finally, add condensed milk. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove pan to rack and cool 15 minutes. Loosen edges to prevent sticking.

Seven-layer cookie recipe (1971)

From the News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) March 14, 1971 – Clydette Davis, Rt. 2, Bellville, O.

1st layer — 1 stick margarine melted and spread on bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.

2nd layer — 1 cup graham cracker crumbs over margarine

3rd layer — 1 cup butterscotch bits over crumbs

4th layer — 1 cup chocolate bits over butterscotch

5th layer — 1 cup coconut over chocolate

6th layer — 1 cup Eagle Brand milk poured over coconut

7th layer — 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts over milk.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

ALSO TRY THESE: Rocky Road bar cookies: A retro ’70s dessert recipe

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. LOVE THESE!!! I ate these as a child, made them for my children and now make them for grandchildren. These bars are wonderful and have definitely stood the test of time.

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