Kitchen Lab: Seven More Layers

Guys. GUYS. Who wants more diabetes-inducing* treats? OF COURSE YOU DO. I made more seven-layer bars, and they were. Uh. May. Zing.

First: it’s waaaaay easier to smush up the graham crackers by putting ’em all in a bigger (say, gallon-size) zip bag and rolling over the whole thing with a rolling pin. SO. FAST. Sure, not as satisfying as crushing the heads of your enemies crackers in your fists and between your fingers, but that’s so laborious and tiresome. Ugh, stupid enemies.

Second: I went ahead and just stuck the butter in the microwave. That’s seriously the most technically difficult part of making these things: melting the butter. If you can figure out microwave popcorn, you can make these.

chocolate-covered peanuts with a blue candy shell


Third: I didn’t use pecans. Delicious, but WHOA NELLY EXPENSIVE. (So delicious. Did I mention the deliciousness of pecans?) This time I used almonds. Still not the cheapest things around, but I wasn’t about to throw salted, oddly-flavored peanuts in there, so there ya go.

Fourth: I toasted the coconut. Which is not what you think… please do not put coconut in your toaster. You just throw it in a pan over “medium” heat (whatever the hell that means, the middle number on my stove dial is still a pretty monstrous flame) and stir it around until it looks all brown and toasty. A nice toasty, not a burnt, singe-y toasty. That’s not toasty, even if you’re one of those “s’mores should be on fire” people. Take it out of the pan when it’s acceptably toasty, because it will try to keep toasting itself if you leave it in the hot pan.

Fifth (this is getting to be a lot of numbers): Toffee! Omnomnom. These bars are already no good for the nut-allergic, so adding toffee doesn’t really affect anything and adds more crunchy texture. Yes, toffee is often made with nuts (English toffee specifically uses almonds), or at least made in a facility that also processes nuts. If anyone has a good idea to what I could add for crunchiness that wouldn’t be nutty, let me know!

VI-th: MOAR MARSHMALLOWS. I added two cups, decided it wasn’t covering the layer nicely enough, and just started pouring from the bag. This did make the bars good and gooey, but made them difficult to cut. And then the marshmallows wanted to meld back together like some sort of sugary Terminator 2, so keep in mind that this is not a tidy snack experience.

Unbaked seven layer bars in a pan, before and after pouring condensed milk over the ingredients.

And then you pour the creamy goodness on…

For reference, here’s the order I poured stuff into the pan:
Graham cracker/butter mix
Chocolate chips
Butterscotch chips
Toasted coconut
Toffee chips
Marshmallows (and more marshmallows. And a few more for good measure)
Condensed milk

Wait, crap, that’s eight layers! I AM A GENIUS CHEF.

To emphasize how friggin’ easy these are to make, there’s basically NO measuring involved. Everything’s pretty much pre-packaged or portioned except the coconut and the marshmallows, and those you can eyeball or put in as much or as little as you like. A stick of butter, into the microwave. A packet of graham crackers (my 14.4 oz. box came with three “for freshness”) smushed with your favored smushing implement. A bag of chocolate chips, dump ’em in. A bag of butterscotch chips, dump ’em in. A bag of toffee chips, dump ’em in. A bag of sliced almonds, dump ’em in. A can of condensed milk, pour it over the whole mess. Bake for 30 minutes (or the length of a sitcom with the commercials in) at 350 degrees F (which just so happens to be the default temperature on my digital oven display) and eat ’em. You can’t lose! (You may want to let them cool off a bit first, though.)

I would like to further note that these are MAL approved!
Katie: “There are a lot of things going on in my mouth right now.”
Smashley: “They cured me!” (of an unpleasant reaction to an Irish car bomb)

Baked seven-layer bars in a Pyrex baking dish, set on a cooling rack.

You want this.

So yes, try this at home!

*Yes, I am aware that consuming ridiculous quantities of sugar does not cause diabetes. Nobody understands me and my hyperbole… that’s it, we’re ELOPING!

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Beth Voigt

Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and public transit and is still on her first smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around.


  1. March 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I AM A GENIUS CHEF made me laugh for a long time, I love these write ups!

  2. March 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Yay! I love these comments!

  3. March 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    It’s quite possible that I enjoy reading your kitchen adventures a little too much. YOU ARE A GENIUS CHEF! {Dreams of Iron Lab where Beth and the formidable Anne square off with the Secret Ingredient being Nutella or Sea Urchin…}

  4. March 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I’d lose so terribly! Unless the secret ingredient was something like shrimp-flavored ramen or store-brand boxed mac and cheese… And even then my prize would be a PARTICIPANT ribbon for not burning the water. My idea of “get creative with what’s in your fridge” involves opening the fridge, looking at the vast array of condiments in the door, and ordering from GrubHub.

  5. March 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Oh … MYGOSH!
    Anne- I can barely believe that related link. that’s just trippy.
    Beth, but it would be so fun! I mean like super fun.

    I can dream, can’t I?

  6. March 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I am deathly allergic to nuts, but this sounds awesome so I say you need to eat some for me. I will absorb the experience via z-rays.

  7. March 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Yes, these seven layer bars were amazing. Every bite contained ALL the flavor. No, please don’t ever make them again. I don’t think my stomach can handle all that yummy.

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