The recipe I want to share today is not one I made up or new by any means. But it is special to me and so I want to share the recipe and a few stories about it.
My last two years of college I lived off campus with three other women. We called ourselves “the Hug House” because no one could get in the front door without a hug. One of our favorite recipes at the Hug House was Seven Layer Bars. We made them frequently and a batch would seldom last more than 24 hours, with or without company around (partly because we were all so concerned about the edge being perfectly straight, we had to keep re-cutting the edge). They were perfect for busy college women because they are so easy to make.
I’ve often wondered at the name, though, because in order to actually have seven “layers” you have to count the melted butter. A more accurate name would be Seven Ingredient Bars, but that’s not quite a catchy. But whatever the name, it has chocolate, nuts, and coconut, so how can you go wrong?
One of my earliest blog posts even mentions Seven Layer Bars and two of these three roommates. You can read about it in my post titled Love as an Action Verb. After the incident recounted in that post, I came home and discovered in talking with my son that he had never had Seven Layer Bars! I couldn’t believe I had never made them for him, and so the next week we made some together.
We hadn’t had them in quite a while, though, until this past weekend. My father-in-law and I were talking about what I was going to make for our big family gathering. He said he had recently learned of these great new bars, which he proceeded to describe. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was describing Seven Layer Bars. So I decided that is the dessert I would make for our gathering. I figured if there were leftovers that would be fine because I would gladly eat them. I didn’t need to think about that at all because every last Seven Layer Bar was gone before everyone left on Saturday evening!
Seven Layer Bars
Ingredients (aka layers):
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice butter into several pieces and place in a 13″ x 9″ pan. Melt butter in the oven. Remove from the oven and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut all over the top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until coconut is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares.
Note: To make graham cracker crumbs, place several graham crackers at a time in a large zip-lock back and use a rolling pin to crush into crumbs.