These Peanut Butter 7-Layer Magic Bars have endless layers of deliciousness composed of sweet butterscotch, chocolate, peanut butter, salty pretzels and coconut. They're 100% satisfying for anyone's sweet tooth!
I once had a magic bar, also called a 7-layer bar, at a local café I'll never forget.
As I ate the outrageously decadent dessert, I could not stop thinking about employing all of the ingredients -- and a couple more -- in my own baking pan.
This version of 7-layer bars includes a handful of sweet and salty ingredients, that together make for one incredible dessert.
- pretzels - Any shape works, just as long and they're not oversized.
- unsweetened butter
- peanut butter - Be sure to get salted peanut butter. It can be smooth or chunky.
- sweetened condensed milk
- milk chocolate chips
- butterscotch chips
- peanut butter chips
- sweetened shredded coconut
- pecans - If you can get pecan pieces, it'll save you a couple of minutes.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
- The pretzels are fun because they're not as commonly used as graham crackers, and they add the salty quality. That said, of course you can make a graham cracker crust if you'd prefer. The measurements of butter and crumbs are the same, but add a few tablespoons of sugar.
- To save time you can buy graham cracker crumbs and substitute the pretzels with them.
- Gluten-free? Use gluten-free pretzels or gluten-free graham crackers.
- If you're not into coconut, skip it. It doesn't need a substitute.
- Use semisweet chocolate chips if you prefer them to milk.
- Since they're very rich and sweet, they're best cut into small squares, as all you'll need is one or two bites.
- It's really helpful to shape the pretzel crust by pressing down on it with a flat-bottomed metal spatula.
- My best advice for the magic 7-layer bars is not to fret too much over the order of things or how neat it is. The truth is, now matter how you layer these ingredients, they will still be magical.
How to Make Them
- Add the pretzels to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend until they’re fine crumbs. Pour this into a large mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter. Press this into a parchment-lined, 9 x 9-inch baking pan. (It helps to use a flat-bottomed metal spatula.)
- Drizzle the crust evenly with sweetened condensed milk. Then sprinkle evenly with pecans and coconut.
- Add the peanut butter and semisweet chocolate to a small sauce pan and place it over low-medium heat. Heat just to melt the chocolate, and then mix. Now drizzle this on top of the coconut and pecans, and spread it evenly.
- Sprinkle evenly with more pecans and coconut.
- Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and butterscotch chips with more sweetened condensed milk, coconut and pecans. Pour all of this on top and spread it evenly.
- Place in a 375°F oven just until the top is golden, about 20 minutes
- Let it cool completely, at least for 1 hour, before lifting it out of the pan with the parchment paper. Slice into approximately 20 evenly sized pieces.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
More Peanut Butter Deliciousness
- Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Meringue Pie Recipe
- Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Making Them Ahead and Storing Them
- Room temperature. You can store your Magic Bars at room temperature in an airtight container for about 3 days.
- Refrigerator. The bars will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.
- Freezer. These will freeze really well in an airtight container or freezer bag for about 6 months.
I hope you love my 7-layer magic bars with pretzels and peanut butter.
Peanut Butter 7-Layer Magic Bars Recipe
- 3 cups pretzels (see notes)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, divided
- 1 cup pecan pieces, divided
- 1¼ sweetened coconut flakes, divided
- ½ cup creamy salted peanut butter
- ½ cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Set the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a square (approximately 9 X 9-inch) baking pan with parchment paper. (Use a large piece that will cover the sides and cut slits in each corner so that it will lay flat.)
- Make the crust. Add the pretzels to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend until you have a mostly smooth powder. Pour this into a large mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter. Now press this into the parchment-lined baking pan. (It helps to flatten it out with a flat-bottomed metal spatula.)
The layering process
- Drizzle the crust evenly with 3 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk, then use a small flat-bottomed spatula to carefully spread it out. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup of the pecans and ½ cup of the coconut.
- Add the peanut butter and semisweet chocolate to a small sauce pan and place it over low-medium heat. Heat just to melt the chocolate, and then gently mix the two together. Drizzle this evenly on top of the coconut and pecans, and then gently spread it out.
- Now sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup of the pecans and ¼ cup of the coconut.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and butterscotch chips with the remaining ¼ cup of the sweetened condensed milk, remaining ½ cup of the coconut and remaining ¼ cup of pecans . Pour this over the last layer and then use your hands or a spoon to move it around so that it's as even as possible.
- Place in the preheated 375°F oven just until the top (mostly along the edges) is golden, about 20 minutes.
- Let them cool completely in the pan, at least for 1 hour. Then gently lift it out of the pan, carefully holding the edges of the parchment paper. Lift it onto a cutting board and then slice into approximately 20 evenly sized pieces.
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Okay, I'll bite. Literally. I want to bite into these now. xo
Sorry David, my son just ate the last one. 😉 xo
Oh my goodness! My mom made these decadent bars with gusto and abandon! I suppose that's why I have no fear of desserts... This version with pretzels sounds divine!
I think I would have liked your mom! 🙂 We should all bake that way. xo
This is indeed wild and crazy. I love your experimental nature too. GREG
Experimental it is. 😉 Thanks, Greg.