These are my family's favorite layer cookies. A special occasion is not the same without these gooey treats.
Yes, You Read That Right. It's "Fave," Not "Five"!
These layer cookies are a family favorite. For us, a special occasion is incomplete without these gooey treats. They are rich and satisfying warm or cold—although cold ones are rare birds as most disappear while they're still warm from the oven.
For simplicity, my recipe has been pared down from the traditional five- or seven-layer design. The original recipe had too many steps and too many co-mingling flavors (it made for a great name but not so great of a taste).
The pared-down recipe has quick and easy written all over it. It's a breeze to whip up even after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, making them stand out from all the make-ahead desserts on the table.
It all starts with a self-rising flour base, which tastes so much better than a gritty graham cracker base, and is easier than a plain flour base. The layers feature a simple trio of chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and sweetened coconut flakes. Each layer belts out a distinct flavor experience; no one gets lost in the crowd here. Top it all off with a magic golden glue better known as sweetened condensed milk.
I'm pretty sure my family thinks I perform some kind of alchemy when I make these, and maybe I do—but I'm going to show you step by step how super simple they really are. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup sweetened coconut flake
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass baking pan.
- Stir in 1/4 cup sugar with a fork.
- Add in 1 cup self-rising flour and stir with a fork until well mixed.
- Press into the bottom of the glass pan.
- Evenly layer 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, then 2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes, then 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk.
- Bake 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. After cooling, loosen the edges with a knife before cutting and serving.
Step-by-Step Photo Guide
It doesn't look like much sitting there, but oh, what beautiful music they will make when we layer them all together!
Melt the Butter in an 8x8 Baking Pan
Simplicity from the first step, melt that butter right in the baking pan (I use a glass pan). I place the pan in the preheating oven to melt the butter while I gather the other ingredients. I recommend real butter, no substitutes.
Looks pretty, doesn't it? Here I just stir/dissolve the sugar into the melted butter with a fork. I use white granulated Domino cane sugar in the yellow plastic tub. Some other brands in the bags seem a bit too coarse and do not dissolve well.
Dump It on in There
Here I prefer White Lily Flour, and since we are using self-rising, we do not have to hassle with salt or baking powder. I just lightly scoop it out of the bag with my measuring cup; no packing, leveling, or sifting is required.
No Need to Bake the Dough
I love this part. I found there is no need to pre-bake this layer, and it will save time and keep this layer nice and moist!
Hershey's Is Best!
I prefer Hershey's chocolate chips here, but no matter what brand you choose, make sure to use milk chocolate, not semi-sweet.
Thin Layer of Sweetened Coconut Flake Goes on Next
Here I make sure to use a moist fresh bag of coconut; if it's a bit old or dry, it ruins the medley for me. I am not what you call a coconut fan, but here it works; it really works!
Chopped Walnuts Are a Must!
Make sure to use chopped walnuts for the right texture ratio. Make sure to layer the walnuts on top of the chocolate chips and the coconut; this keeps the coconut moist and toasts the walnuts. Some recipes call to toast the walnuts separately but no need for this quick and easy version. Like with the coconut, make sure to use fresh walnuts; stale walnuts are the worst! You could substitute chopped pecans here, but walnuts create the best flavor contrast, in my opinion.
Bake for 15-20 Minutes Until Golden Brown
Here we have magic in a can; just drizzle evenly until you have used the entire 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk. The heat in the oven will brown and glaze and glue and stick it all together for you. No elbow grease is required.
Loosen the Edges With a Knife
After the fave layer cookies have cooled, as long as you can stand to wait, make sure to loosen the edges with a knife before cutting and serving.