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Seven Layer Bars {Lightened-Up!}

I’ve been on a big dessert bar kick recently. While I love cookies, cakes, + pies, some of them require more hands-on time than I have these days, what with a silly, wiggly 7-month-old baby to look after! When it comes time to make sweets for a group, I’ve been turning to dessert bar recipes that are both super delicious AND quick + simple to make. So, when I had a food blogger potluck party to attend recently, I decided to make these easy Lightened-Up Seven Layer Bars.

And y’all, they turned out so wonderfully. I love how incredibly simple they are to make, + the resulting bars are amazing – sweet, sticky, buttery + chocolatey, with a fantastic burst of coconut. And the best thing? This is a slightly lightened-up recipe, so enjoying one won’t break your New Year’s resolution to eat well. One bar has about 120 calories and 4 grams of fat – not too shabby! Since they are both very sweet and very rich, one bar was definitely enough to satisfy my dessert craving. =) A scrumptious dessert recipe that’s super easy to make AND helps you to stay within your dietary goals for the day? That’s a winner in my book! I’m already planning to make these again for the Super Bowl – hope lots of you try ’em, too!

Seven Layer Bars

makes 25 bars, adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch morsels
2/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. (Note: don’t skip this step! These bars are wonderfully sticky + the parchment makes them so much easier to get out of the pan.)

Place graham cracker crumbs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter and 1 tablespoon water; toss with a fork until moist. Gently pat mixture into an even layer in pan – do not press firmly. (Note: Because the condensed milk you’ll add later will need to seep into the graham cracker crumbs, don’t pack the crumbs too tightly in the bottom of the pan.)

Sprinkle chocolate chips and butterscotch morsels over crumb mixture. Top evenly with coconut and pecans. Drizzle condensed milk evenly over top.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly around edges. Cool completely on wire rack, then cut into 25 squares.