Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) Recipe

Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) Recipe

Maybe you haven’t heard of 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies? Did your grandma (like mine) call them Hello Dollies? If none of these rings a bell, then pull up a chair, because these 3 name, gluten free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies aka Hello Dollies are an addictive chocolatey, grahamy, coconutty, ooey gooey delicious favorite!

gluten free 7 layer cookies or magic bars and knife

I still don’t know why my Grandma called them “Hello Dollies”, but they are so much more than just “cookies.” They are “empty-your-pantry, suit-your-taste, won’t-last-one-day-in-your-house” bars!

I’ve given you some suggested ingredients and proportions in my recipe below, but don’t hesitate to tailor these bars to what you have on hand and what you want in your mouth! Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips (use a gluten free brand!), pecans, coconut, gluten free oats – whatever you want to layer on these bars, just don’t forget the graham crackers and the sweetened condensed milk that seal the deal and hold these bars together.

I actually make lots of gluten free graham crackers at one time (one can of my gfJules Gluten Free Graham Cracker Mix actually makes 100 crackers!), bake them, then crush them into crumbs for pie crusts and occasions like this one where I want some gluten free graham cracker crumbs fast! It makes recipes like this one super quick and easy (and much less expensive that store-bought!).

gluten free magic bars 1

There are coconut sweetened condensed milks available now, but if you’d like to make your own or can’t find one at the store, I’ve also provided you with a recipe to make your own dairy-free sweetened condensed milk below the cookie recipe (since I’m dairy-free, these bars are pictured with the homemade dairy-free milk version).

It’s a handy substitution for many other recipes (like fudge!) as well, so be sure to print it for future use! I use canned coconut milk — one of my favorite dairy-free ingredients. It makes wonderful homemade whipped cream, too!


gluten free hello dollies

gluten free hello dollies

Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) Recipe

Yield: serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bars (easily made vegan, as described) are layers of chocolate-coconutty-grahammy deliciousness that meld perfectly together to make a quick and easy dessert that will please any crowd!


  • 7 Tbs. butter or non-dairy alternative (Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks, may use Soy Free)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free graham crackers, crushed (gfJules™Graham Cracker Mix)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup Certified Gluten-Free Oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or a combination, dairy or non-dairy (I use Enjoy Life® dairy-free chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 14 oz sweetened, condensed milk (or vegan/non-dairy recipe below) or Nature's Charm Coconut Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 22-24 oz. coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated cane sugar


Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is simply evaporated milk (approximately 60% concentrated milk) plus granulated sugar.

To make, combine the milks and sugar into a large saucepan, stirring over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the milk has thickened quite a bit.

Stir periodically so that the milk doesn't scald as it bubbles, and remove from the heat when the milk is thicker and has reduced to 14-16 ounces. This process may take 1-2 hours, so budget your recipe time accordingly.

Once thickened and reduced, allow the mixture to cool somewhat before using in your recipe. Pour milk through a strainer into a large measuring cup and divide out 13-14 ounces for this recipe, storing any unused milk in a sealed container in the refrigerator for use in another recipe (use within a week).

Magic Bar Cookies

Preheat oven to 350° F (static); 325° F (convection).

Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil to make the bars easier to remove. Melt the butter and pour into the lined dish, pour the crumbs into the pan on top of the melted butter, but do not stir. Layer the remaining ingredients in the order outlined below:

  • coconut
  • oats
  • chocolate chips
  • nuts

Finally, pour the sweetened condensed milk over the bars in a lattice pattern. Ultimately, the milk will fill in over the entire top and seep into and around the other ingredients to hold them together into a bar cookie.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until the milk has turned a light brown color. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until solid before cutting bars. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve chilled or slightly warm topped by your favorite ice cream (I love So Delicious® Almond Milk Dairy Free, Vanilla flavor!)

*This recipe and over 149 more, also available in my newest cookbook, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

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You’re going to want to pin this for later, whether you remember these fondly from your past, or you’re trying them for the first time.

So quick and easy, and pleasing every sweet palate!

 This gluten free 7 Layer magic bar cookie ("Hello Dollies") recipe is addictively chocolatey, grahamy, coconutty, ooey gooey delicious! gfJules

This Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) recipe is addictively chocolatey, grahamy, coconutty, ooey gooey delicious! Vegan/dairy-free!

7 Layer Gluten Free Magic Cookie Bars

Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) Recipe

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22 thoughts on “Gluten Free 7 Layer Magic Bar Cookies (Hello Dollies) Recipe

    • Hi Maria, you can absolutely skip the oats! If he’s ok with nuts, choose another nut he likes and do a layer of that, or just skip it altogether. Enjoy!

  1. The recipe became famous during the 60′s when Hello Dolly was on Broadway. During the show, there is a restaurant scene. Clementine Paddleford’s (our countries first food journalist, the original foodie!) food column in “The Week “ magazine on September 19, 1965 featured a “Hello Dolly Cake” which an 11 year old girl borrowed from her grandmother. The recipe included graham crack crumbs, flaked coconut, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and condensed milk.

    • Ahhhhh thank you SO much for that bit of food trivia! I love it – what a great story (and a great recipe!). Thanks, Michelle!

  2. Probably a good idea to use Jules graham cracker flour and make your own as GF graham crackers that you can purchase have sunflower oil in them and it is a very bad oil and I like many people are very allergic. I remember making these as a child before I was GF – called them magic bars I think, or maybe 7 layer. Not had them since GF but will make them soon – yum.
    Thank you Jules!

    • Hi Terri, so glad this recipe brings back fond memories for you and I hope you enjoy it as a gluten free version! Glad to know you also love my gfJules Graham Crackers! You’re right: you can control the ingredients you add, so it’s always a safer bet!

  3. Pingback: Gluten Free Lunchbox Ideas - gfJules

  4. Question…

    “Stir periodically so that the milk doesn’t scald as it bubbles, and remove from the heat when the milk is thicker and has reduced to 14-16 ounces. This process may take 1-2 hours, so budget your recipe time accordingly.”

    We heat the milk for 1-2 hours?

    • Hi Stephanie, good question. Yes, you’ll be heating the milk for awhile. The idea is for the extra liquid to evaporate during the slow cooking time, leaving you with something akin to evaporated milk. The milk solids are left behind with much less liquid. This process can take some time, since you don’t want to scald or burn the milk. I hope that helps explain it!

    • Wow, Sharon, coconut milk sweetened condensed milk already made IS a find! It’s truly easy to make, but nice to know there’s something out there to buy in a pinch, too!

  5. So glad that you included the non-dairy evaporated milk instructions! But, do you know if anything could replace the oats? I haven’t been able to successfully reintroduce them yet, after 3 1/2 years gf.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Hi Donna, so glad the dairy-free sweetened condensed milk recipe will be helpful to you, too! As for oats, you can leave them out (6 layer bars, anyone!?) — they’re not critical here. Otherwise, try quinoa flakes or rice flakes!

    • Have you tried “Bob’s Red Mill, GF Rolled Oats”? It comes in Old Fashion and Quick. The Old Fashion looks like the whole rolled oat and is more chewy. The quick looks like it has been put in a food processor. They come in 2 pound bags and are Kosher. The bar code for the Quick is 3997800376 & Old Fashion is 3997800375 and are $9.00 to $10.00 each. I get at my grocery store’s health food section and they do carry other Bob’s Redmill items.

  6. Thanks for the recipe for magic cookies, especially the recipe for sweetened condensed ‘milk’. I’ve been craving these, my favorite cookies, ever since going gluten/dairy free. Now that I have a recipe, I’m going to be making them soon.