My sister, Kara, is going to kill me. I just know it. So hopefully, she reads this post after I talk to her and before she realizes what I have done. Kara is obsessed with seven layer bars. They are her all time favorite Christmas “cookie,” and I definitely forget to send a batch with her Christmas care package. Don’t worry Kara, I will be sure to send a belated care package with the best batch of seven layer bars I have ever come up with. Seriously, these are the best seven layer bars EVER. This time around, I decided to layer a gingerbread crust. They are literally bars of crack, which is why I had to get them up as a post before Christmas hit. I know, I’m cutting it pretty close as it is Christmas Eve. Hey, if you are looking for some last minute inspiration, then these are for you. They are incredibly simple. We paired these bars with one of my favorite ales of all time, so read ahead for the recipe!
Recipe Fun Facts:
This recipe is pretty straight forward, and your options are limitless on what you can layer. I go with my favorite toppings: butterscotch, white chocolate, dark chocolate, coconut, and nuts galore. You can add and subtract where you see fit. The condensed milk is pretty much mandatory, unless you have a good substitution. You really can’t have a seven layer bar without the stuff.
Be sure to par cook your cookie crust. This is an important step and will only take about 5 minutes out of your time. Also, please be sure you let the bars chill after you bake them. It will make your lives a whole lot easier when you go to slice them up.
Beer: Bison Brewing’s Gingerbread Ale
Brewed By: Bison Brewing
Style: Herbed/Spiced Ale
Description: There isn’t much better than gingerbread in a bottle. That’s exactly what this ale is: gingerbread…in…a…bottle. It’s been quite a while since we had a Bison brew. We are unfortunate enough to live in an area where we can’t get it, but with a recent trip to the bay area, we of course had to stock up on some old favorites. By stock up, I mean Cilantro had no room left in the back seat with the amount of space our beer was taking up. So anyway, this ale is great around the holidays (for obvious reasons) and pairs extremely well with cookies, cakes and other sweets. It’s also great with a hearty soup. It’s a seasonal beer (September-December), so if you can’t get your hands on a bottle this year, be sure that you do next year!
These seven layer bars have a cookie dough base and are loaded with delicious toppings.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
- 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 16 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a buttered 9x13inch baking dish with parchment paper (leaving enough overhang so that it''s easy to pull out later). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with paddle attachment fixed, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add each egg, one at a time, until incorporated. Now add the vanilla extract and molasses and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Very slowly, with the mixer running on low, add the dry ingredients into the wet until all has been added and a soft cookie dough forms. Pour the dough into the prepared baking dish and smooth it over with a rubber spatula. Bake the gingerbread crust for 5 minutes then remove from oven. Set aside.
- Layer the butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and walnuts on top of the partially cooked crust. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the 6 layers. Top with more chips if you wish.
- Cover the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, removing the cover half way through cooking.
- Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for at least an hour, then cover and place in the fridge for another hour or two or until the top is set (I let mine sit overnight in the fridge). Cut into bars and store covered at room temperature, or for best results, store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Hardware: * Measuring Cups * Measuring Spoons * 9x13inch Baking Dish * Parchment Paper * Whisk * Large Bowl * Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer * Inactive Time: 3-4 Hours