Old fashioned graham cookie bars are easy to make and taste amazing. They are loaded with graham crackers, chocolate, butterscotch, pecans, and condensed milk for a rich but simple treat.
This simple dessert bar only takes 5 ingredients and one bowl to make. You can have the pan in the oven in no time at all, but the best part is how good they taste when they are done.
These cookie bars are similar to magic bars or hello Dollies in a lot of ways, but don’t have coconut, and all of the ingredients are mixed together. The resulting bar is almost a cross between a gooey chocolate chip cookie and a 7 layer bar.
They are perfect for a simple treat when your sweet tooth needs a little something. Or bake some up for a party.
Heck, they would even be at home with your holiday baking if you want to make a few batches and cut them into small squares. They are sure to be a hit no matter the occasion.
Making Graham Cracker Cookie Bars
All it takes to put this simple dessert together is to mix some graham cracker crumbs with a can of sweetened condensed milk. You know how much we love that sweet sticky goodness, so it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that a can of condensed milk is the secret ingredient that holds this recipe together.
You can make your own graham cracker crumbs by processing a sleeve of graham crackers in your food processor or using a rolling pin and a freezer bag. Or you can pick up a box of graham cracker crumbs from the grocery store. They are usually found in the baking aisle by the pie fillings.
Add some finely chopped pecans to the mix. You can use walnuts if you prefer to bake with them.
Honestly, cashews or almonds would probably be delicious, too. So use whatever kind of nut you prefer or whichever you happen to have on hand.
Now add in some semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dark chocolate would work, too. You could try using milk chocolate, but they might be a little too sweet in these bars.
Some butterscotch chips round out the recipe. We really like the butterscotch flavor in these bars, but you could use peanut butter chips or salted caramel chips if you can find them.
You could even substitute more chocolate chips if you prefer chocolate to the other flavors. These bars are very forgiving and are going to be good no matter what you decide to use.
I like to add a pinch of salt to help balance the flavors, but that is options. Just mix it all together and pat the dough out in a greased square baking dish.
That’s it! The condensed milk brings everything together as they bake, and it comes out as a cohesive bar.
Tips and Tricks
Let the bars cool before you try to cut and serve them. While they will taste great warm, they will be very gooey and hard to serve.
If you want to garnish them with powdered sugar, you can. We thought they were wonderful on their own.
Because these bars are made with shelf stable ingredients, you can have them stocked in your pantry and ready to go all the time. When you need a treat, you can throw everything together and have it in the oven in no time at all.
How do I store vintage graham cookie bars?
These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Just warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to return it to it’s gooey glory.
Can I use something other than graham cracker crumbs?
Yes! You can crush animal crackers or vanilla wafers if you prefer. You are welcome to try other cookies as well. If you do, let me know what you tried and how it went!
More Easy Bar Recipes to Try
There is something really nice about making bars rather than individual cookies. It saves a lot of time not having to scoop the dough and rotate multiple trays through the oven.
Here are a few more recipes to try if you want something homemade but low fuss. They are perfect for when you are in a hurry.
Caramelitas would be another great option. They feature similar flavors but start with flour and butter rather than graham cracker crumbs and condensed milk.
Oatmeal cream pie bars are another wonderful option. They taste just like the kind in the box but are homemade and baked in bars instead of individual sandwich cookies. The marshmallow fluff buttercream really makes it delicious.
Chocolate peanut butter revel bars would be another great option. They feature a fudgy center and cookie like crust.
Graham Cracker Bars
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients. Spread mixture in prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges are golden.
- Cool before cutting and serving.