Hello Dolly Cookies

Hello Dolly cookies have been a Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember in my home. These cookies are also known as seven layer bar cookies have butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, pecans, graham crackers, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.

These cookies are also known as Seven Layer Bar Cookies

The tradition of Hello Dolly Cookies

We all grow up with different holiday traditions. In my home, Hello Dolly cookies have been a
Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember. These cookies are also known as seven layer bars or magic bars. Whatever they are called, they are deliciously made with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, pecans, graham crackers, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.

Not Your Everyday Cookies

I think these cookies are a real treat because normally we would have never have made something so fancy when doing everyday baking. I can always remember the holidays as the times to cook as fancy as we could, and these cookies were a staple in our cookie gift boxes. Along with chocolate peanut butter balls, pecan sandies, and Chex party mix, Hello Dolly cookies meant it was getting close to Christmas in my house when I was growing up.

Why are they Called Hello Dolly Cookies?

These rich cookies deserve a rich history, which is all bound up with the history of condensed milk. In 1853, Gail Borden began to market condensed milk as a baby formula – it didn’t need refrigeration. In 1856, he began selling a cookie creation of his from a street cart in New York City – it was made with condensed milk. During the Civil War (1861-1865), enormous quantities of Borden's condensed milk were handed out to soldiers as field rations – each 14ounce can packed a walloping 1,300calories! The soldiers told everyone at home how tasty it was, and condensed milk
became a home kitchen staple.

What Happened After Refrigeration Appeared on the Scene?

After refrigerators began appearing in every home, a way was needed to keep condensed milk selling. So Borden offered money for dessert recipes using his sweet concoction. It worked, and condensed milk has remained a home staple ever since. It’s believed that a recipe called Hello Dolly was combined with Borden’s original street cart recipe and marketed as the magic cookie bar recipe on the Eagle brand label in the 1960’s. Read more about Borden’s story by clicking here.

Hello Dolly on Broadway

Borden’s recipe became famous during the 60′s when Hello Dolly was on the Great White Way. The show featured a restaurant scene that inspired Clementine Paddleford – an amazing name and our country’s first food journalist – the original foodie!. She featured a recipe for a Hello Dolly cake in her food column. The recipe included graham cracker crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped
nuts, and condensed milk. Read more about the story of Hello Dolly cookies by clicking here.

Variation on Hello Dolly Cookies

Hello Dolly Cookies
If you want to be more adventurous with your cookie making, you could change the nuts to hazelnuts or perhaps even swap out the butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips. Another idea is to use crushed vanilla wafers instead of graham cracker crumbs – they add a nice extra

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overhead view of Hello Dolly Bars on parchment paper

Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly cookie bars are also known as 7 Layer Bars and Magic Bars. No matter what you call them, they are completely delicious.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 7 Layer Bars, Hello Dolly Bars, Hello Dolly Cookies, Magic Bars
Servings: 24
Calories: 208kcal


  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 ounces butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk


  • Melt butter and pour into a baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with the rest of the dry ingredients in order as written. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After it has cooled cut into squares.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

Source Virginia McDowell. Jefferson City, Mo. 1966. This is a favorite of mine; we generally make this around X-mas.


Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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About Stephanie

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Patti Rains

    5 stars
    My mom’s recipe did not call for butterscotch chips (you could add them or not) but the biggest difference was crushed vanilla wafers instead of graham cracker crumbs. I’ve seen many of these recipes but never seen the crushed vanilla wafers except for my mom’s recipe & I loved hers!

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