These Graham Cracker Cookie Bars are simple to make with chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, chopped nuts, and sweetened condensed milk. Five ingredients, one bowl, one pan, and you’re done!
The holiday baking season is in full swing! I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate an easy, delicious recipe to add to my baking repertoire, and lately I’ve been on a cookie bar kick. Cookie bars are so easy to make and perfect for parties or just an afternoon treat.
This Graham Cracker Cookie Bars recipe is one that I’ve made many times and it never disappoints. Graham cracker crumbs paired with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and the secret ingredient, sweetened condensed milk, give these cookie bars their wonderful flavor and texture.
These cookie bars are Easy with a capital E! Dump everything into a bowl, mix it up, press it in a pan, and bake. You can’t get much simpler than that.
I always prefer bar cookies to any other kind because, to be honest, I’m a lazy baker. And the older I get, the less patience I have with fiddly things in the kitchen. Or anywhere else for that matter. I’ll take a dump and bake recipe any day over a mix, roll, refrigerate, and cut out recipe.
Another plus, in my opinion, is that this is an old – really old – cookie bar recipe. It has been around for as long as I can remember and I have no idea where it originated.
Dessert bars, or squares if you prefer, date back to the 1930s but that’s about all you can find out about them on the internet. Cookie bars specifically have appeared in dozens of community and church cookbooks over the years (always a good recommendation if you ask me) but their absolute origin is unknown.
- It’s the perfect balance of chocolate, nuts and butterscotch
- Super easy, no need to worry about being overly precise
- Kids and adults love it great for big functions or get togethers
About the Ingredients
- Graham Cracker Crumbs (You can make your own – see instructions below – or purchase boxed graham cracker crumbs at the grocery store. I typically use Honey Maid brand.)
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Butterscotch Chips (Be sure to purchase a high quality brand of chips.)
- Chopped Nuts (Either pecans or walnuts. Actually cashews would probably be great in this recipe as well.)
- Condensed Milk (My preference is Eagle Brand)
How to Make Graham Cracker Cookie Bars
Let’s Go Step-by-Step
I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Very heavily butter or grease a square pan. Either an 8- or 9-inch pan works fine for this.
Mix the Ingredients
No need to worry about keeping the wet and dry ingredients separate before mixing them. Another reason I love this recipe!
If you’d like to make the graham cracker crumbs yourself, you’ll need a 14.4 ounce box of graham crackers. Place the crackers in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground. Or, place the crackers in a large ziptop bag and use a wooden rolling pin or your hands to break them into a fine texture.
Press Into a Pan
STEP 2. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and pop it in the oven.
STEP 3. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 45 minutes on a wire baking rack.
Cut Into Squares
STEP 4. Cut into 1 1/2″ squares. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last for 4-5 days at room temperature. To extend the shelf-life, you can store them in the fridge for up to a week (let them come to room temp before serving) or even freeze them, well wrapped, for a month.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve always used either pecans or walnuts in graham cracker cookie bars. I think cashews, almonds, or pistachios would also be great.
If you prefer to use milk or white chocolate chips you can. However, be aware that they will give you a much sweeter end product. The semi-sweet chips keep it from getting into the cloyingly sweet range.
You’ll find graham cracker crumbs in the baking section at your grocery store. Honey Maid and Keebler both sell them.
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Graham Cookie Bars
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Pinch of salt
- 14 ounces condensed milk (recommend: Eagle Brand)
- Powdered sugar optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Heavily butter an 8 or 9-inch square pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Press mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a rack for 45 minutes.
- Cut into 1 1/2” squares. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
- You can make your own graham cracker crumbs (see instructions below) or purchase boxed graham cracker crumbs at the grocery store. I typically use Honey Maid brand.
- Be sure to purchase a high quality brand of chocolate and butterscotch chips.
- Choose your favorite nuts for this recipe. I typically use pecans or walnuts. However, you could easily use cashews, pistachios, or almonds.
- If you’d like to make the graham cracker crumbs yourself, you’ll need a 14.4 ounce box of graham crackers. Place the crackers in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground. Or, place the crackers in a large ziptop bag and use a wooden rolling pin or your hands to break them into a fine texture.
- Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last for 4-5 days at room temperature. To extend the shelf-life, you can store them in the fridge for up to a week (let them come to room temp before serving) or even freeze them, well wrapped, for a month.
- You’ll find graham cracker crumbs in the baking section at your grocery store. Honey Maid and Keebler both sell them.
- You do have to use sweetened condensed milk for this recipe. You can make your own homemade version if you’d like. Or use a homemade vegan alternative.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.