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Seven Layer Bars

Seven Layer Bars

You know those recipes that tend to be a hit but are annoying to make because of the random ingredients they require? One of those is the seven layer bar. SO good, but the amount of things you need specifically for it can add up. I realized I had coconut flakes and chopped pecans from making German chocolate cake frosting a couple of weeks ago and could improvise with some misc. ingredients from my pantry. The only things I needed to purchase were graham crackers and condensed milk, the latter of which was a major inconvenience; Trader Joe’s only carries it seasonally, and it was $3.99 for a can at Whole Foods. They don’t call it “whole paycheck” for no reason…#annoying.

Anyway, while the “classic” seven layer bar recipes contain coconut flakes, chocolate and butterscotch chips, graham crackers, walnuts, and condensed milk, I swapped out peanut butter, pecans, and almonds for the walnuts and butterscotch chips. The result was an yummy gooey concoction that I took to a potluck with coworkers. It was easy and delicious.

Also, I’m kind of tempted to put jam in them next time. Appetizing or weird?

Seven Layer Bars


– 2 tablespoons butter
– 2 cups crushed graham crackers
– 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
– 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
– 1 cup chocolate chips (ideally semisweet)
– 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
– 1/3 cup chopped pecans
– 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds (they sell these at Trader Joe’s)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon butter in a 13×9 pan and stick pan in the oven while it’s preheating. Line bottom of pan with crushed graham crackers and mix in peanut butter.*

Sprinkle chocolate chips, pecans, and almonds over graham cracker/peanut butter base. Evenly pour condensed milk over toppings and top with coconut flakes, spreading evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes; coconut flakes should be slightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into square. I like microwaving each slice for ~10 seconds before eating :)

*Next time, I want to try spreading peanut butter on one side of graham crackers and laying them evenly on the bottom of the pan. More time consuming, but way easier than having to mix peanut butter into the crushed graham crackers! Note that this may not make the same kind of “crust” as a buttery crumb mixture would, but I’m willing to try it. Let me know if you do!

Photos by Monica Dutia for Cake & Lilies

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