One of my favorite memories from my childhood was making (and eating) 7-layer bars. These super-easy bars typically have graham cracker crumbs, butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Unfortunately, Bug has a nut allergy, so walnuts are out. I can’t find butterscotch chips (or white chocolate chips) locally without a nut warning and I don’t like coconut. That brought us down to four layers, which just isn’t all that exciting. So, with a lot of hunting around and some creativity, I came up with this recipe for a decadent egg-free, nut-free dessert. It’s easily altered to fit the tastes of your family and whatever items are available regionally. Plus, it’s an incredibly forgiving recipe. You won’t do a lot of measuring. For the record, we use Hershey’s chocolate chips because they are typically safe and Hershey’s does a fabulous job of labeling their products.
- One box of nut-safe brownie mix
- ~ 1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ~ 1 cup Milk chocolate chips
- ~ 3/4 cup Caramel bits (I found these at Target, but would leave them out next time – very chewy!)
- Graham cracker crumbs (optional)
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter (melted)
- 1 (14 oz) can of Sweetened condensed milk (we used the light version)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 9X13 (or thereabouts) pan with cooking spray [Note: After ruining a non-stick pan with an earlier incarnation, we opted for a disposable foil pan – the milk can be very sticky]
- Mix the brownie mix and melted butter until the mix is moist.
- Press the brownie mixture into the pan.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips and caramel bits evenly over the brownie mix. Feel free to add more or less of one of the chips based on your tastes.
- Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs lightly over the top. You want it to settle into the cracks between the chips, not sit on top.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes. [Note: If you use a foil pan, place the whole thing on a baking sheet first]
- Put the foil pan on a rack to cool. While it’s still hot, use a knife or spatula to gently pull the bars away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool for about an hour and then cut with a knife or pizza cutter. Allow to cool completely and then remove from pan for serving.
The Results of Our Egg-Free, Nut-Free Dessert
A fabulously chocolatey, gooey delicious mess. You have to really like chocolate for these. I personally miss the nuts in them, but there’s not much I can do about that! Next time I’d drop the caramel pieces and try added oatmeal on top. I think that would help cut the sweetness and make them feel more like a bar than a piece of candy. I’d also consider a dash of sea salt.
Other Ingredients to Try
Whether your family is avoiding nuts or not, there are a lot of other fun ingredients to add to this delicious dessert. Consider: oatmeal, dried fruits, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, coconut, toffee chips, peanut butter chips, or walnuts.
Use 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 stick of butter for the base instead of brownie mix.
5 stars! Young kids can easily help add the chocolate chips, while older kids will be able to do most of the steps on their own. And, as long as you tailor the ingredients to the preferences of your family, this is bound to be a hit.
If you try out this Altered 7-Layer Bar egg-free, nut-free dessert, please let me know what you think!