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Bar Cookies: 7-Layer Cookies, Brownie Bars, and More

Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

Each bite is packed with flavor!

Each bite is packed with flavor!

My mom is notorious for her sweet tooth. Growing up, we always had homemade cakes and pies in the house. Mom made homemade cookies occasionally, such as peanut butter cookies, but more often than cookies, she made a bar cookie called Chinese Chews. I think she made them because they were quick, especially compared to baking cookies. I guess she must have really liked them as well.

My favorite bar cookie was always the 7-Layer Cookie, with chocolate chips and butterscotch morsels. I think it has now been replaced on my personal preference list by the bar cookies made by topping brownie batter with chocolate chip cookie dough. They are insanely good. But then I’m a sucker for a good gooey brownie. What’s not to love?

Bar Cookies and Brownies

  • 7-Layer Cookies
  • Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
  • Chinese Chews
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bars
  • Love the Mama Lemon Bars
  • Pumpkin Pie Bars
7-Layer Bar Cookies.

7-Layer Bar Cookies.

Are you familiar with the expression “tastes like more,” or “bet you can’t eat just one”? These bars will definitely tempt you to over-indulge. These were my first love when it came to bar cookies.


  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 cup graham crumbs
  • 7 oz can flaked coconut (Mom strongly prefers frozen)
  • 6 oz pkg chocolate chips
  • 6 oz-pkg butterscotch chips
  • 1 can sweet condensed milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Melt butter in 9 X 13 baking pan. Mix in graham cracker crumbs. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Layer other ingredients in the order above.
  3. Bake at 325º for 30 minutes.
  4. Cool and cut into rectangles. Not too big. These are lusciously rich!
Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies made with chunky peanut butter.

Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies made with chunky peanut butter.

Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies

I found this recipe on These are like peanut butter cookies, but with less work. You can have them mixed up and in the pan before the oven has preheated.


  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cream peanut butter (I used chunky peanut butter) and softened butter together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. I was able to do this without an electric mixer.
  3. Gradually blend brown and white sugar into the peanut butter mixture.
  4. Blend in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Add baking powder and salt to plain flour. Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture, until well blended.
  6. Pour into greased 9” X 9” baking pan, and bake 35 minutes, or until middle springs back.
  7. Cool and cut into 16 squares.
Peanut Butter and Jelly bar cookies.

Peanut Butter and Jelly bar cookies.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I found these bars on Martha Stewart’s website. The recipe specifies strawberry jam, which sounds great, but I wonder if you can use jelly instead of jam, and have a classic peanut butter and grape jelly combo. I can’t wait to try this with my mom’s homemade fig preserves.


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups strawberry jam, or other fruit jam
  • 2/3 cup peanuts, rough chop
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  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Prepare 9” X 13” baking pan by greasing with butter, then line the bottom with parchment. Grease parchment with butter. Dust parchment-lined pan with flour. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce speed and add in eggs and peanut butter. Mix until combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter-sugar mixture, beating on low until combined.
  6. Add vanilla extract.
  7. Spread 2/3 of batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread evenly in pan.
  8. Spread jam on top of batter.
  9. Drop remaining batter over the top of the jam in dollops, distributing evenly.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
  11. Bake about 45 minutes.
  12. Cool and cut into 2” bars.
Chinese Chews Cookie Bars.

Chinese Chews Cookie Bars.

Chinese Chews

I have no idea why these are called Chinese Chews. I wonder if they’d be good with a little Chinese Five Spice?! Mom baked these a lot when I was growing up. They were never my favorite, not that they aren’t good. I think it’s more a matter that compared to the array of delicious cakes, pies, and other treats that were in the kitchen when I was growing up, these were not exciting. I clearly recall Mom making these often, but now I wonder if it was because she liked them so much, or if it was just because they are so easy, and she liked having sweets on hand.


  • 1 1/3 sticks of butter
  • 2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cup sifted self-rising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Melt butter. Cream with sugar with an electric mixer.
  2. Add flour and eggs and beat with the mixer.
  3. Add vanilla and pecans.
  4. Spray 9” X 13” pan with cooking spray. Pour in batter.
  5. Bake at 300º for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool and cut into squares or rectangles.
Heaven on a plate. Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bars.

Heaven on a plate. Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bars.

A co-worker of my brother’s brought Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies to work during the holiday season. They were crazy stupid good! Here is my ultra-quick and easy, not from scratch version.


  • 1 double batch box of brownie mix
  • Ingredients for brownie mix (usually eggs, milk or water, & oil)
  • 1 tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough


  1. Preheat oven to 350° while preparing brownie batter.
  2. Prepare brownies per package directions.
  3. Pour brownie mixture into a greased 9” X 13” baking dish.
  4. Cut cookie dough into ½”-inch thick rounds, then cut each round into about 4 strips.
  5. Disperse cookie dough evenly over brownie batter.
  6. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes at 350°. Cover with foil to prevent cookie dough from burning, and bake another 10–15 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5–10 minutes, to the desired doneness.
  7. Cool for 15–30 minutes before cutting into 2” squares.

Love the Mama Lemon Bars

I love a good lemon dessert. I found this recipe on There are scores of lemon bar recipes, but I picked this one because I had all the ingredients already on hand! That’s always a plus.

Ingredients for the Base

  • 1 1/8 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened

Ingredients for Lemon Layer

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix flour, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and butter until butter crumbs are very small.
  3. Press flour mixture into the bottom of a 7” X 11” pan. This is like a small bread pan. Alternatively, I would suggest a 9” X 9” pan.
  4. Bake flour mixture for 25 minutes, or until firm and light brown.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, 2/3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. I added a few drops of Young Living Lemon oil.
  6. Just before pouring lemon mixture over crust, stir in baking powder.
  7. Pour lemon mixture over crust while the crust is hot.
  8. Return to the oven. Bake 25 minutes, until set.
  9. Cool in pan. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I found a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars that I liked on the Kraft website, and tweaked it. These bars remind me a lot of the Pumpkin Cheesecake I used to make every Thanksgiving. When I lived in Turkey, they were very popular among my Turkish friends.


  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cut in cubes
  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin pie mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line 9” X 13” pan with foil or parchment paper, extending beyond the edges of the pan. Grease with butter or coconut oil.
  3. Mix the flour and both sugars in a mixing bowl.
  4. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives, until coarse crumbs.
  5. Stir in oats and nuts.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of oat-flour mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture in the 9” X 13” pan.
  7. Bake oat layer 15 minutes at 350°.
  8. With an electric mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese, eggs, and pumpkin pie mix. Pour over crust.
  9. Distribute the remaining oat mixture over the top.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool 10 min.
  11. Use foil or parchment paper to pull bars from the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut into 2” squares or 2”x 3” bars.

© 2010 rmcrayne

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