Amish man bars are an easy graham cracker chocolate chip bar similar to 7 layer bars, or Hello Dollies. This easy 30-minute vintage dessert has a famously fudgy texture and a classic flavor.
Amish man bars have a vintage vibe
These bars harken back to bake sales and church suppers in the 60s and 70s where these would be stacked high on a plate for maximum temptation. These gleaming snowy white bars would definitely stand out!
The Amish are known for their desserts, and while pies and candy are the first things that come to mind, they also make simple homey sweets like cinnamon bread and these easy bars. They’re made from everyday pantry ingredients and are very quick to whip up.
Amish desserts tend to be sweet, and these bars are no exception. The kicker comes at the end, after they’ve been cooled and sliced ~ they get thickly coated in powdered sugar. This gives them an almost eye-popping sweetness. Let’s just say a little goes a long way.
man bar ingredients
- graham cracker crumbs ~ I process graham crackers in my food processor, which I think makes fresher, finer textured crumbs than the ready-crushed kind, but you can certainly use those too.
- mini chocolate chips
- toasted chopped pecans ~ I toast mine in the microwave for a minute or two, it really improves the flavor and crunch.
- sweetened shredded coconut
- vanilla extract
- sweetened condensed milk ~ the magic ingredient in so many old time dessert bars like this. It gives these bars their distinctive fudgy texture.
how to make a man bar
- Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, chips, nuts, coconut, vanilla, and condensed milk.
- Spread in a prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool, then slice.
- Generously coat in confectioner’s sugar.
why are they called ‘man bars’?
Maybe the woman who invented them back in the last century had a husband that went wild for them. Or maybe they’re so easy even a man can make them? Not sure we’ll ever know but we can probably assume it’s not PC. Sometimes called graham cracker chocolate chip bars, this recipe can be found in the vintage spiral bound Amish Country Cooking cookbook although I’m sure these bars were kicking around before then. They remind me of the famous Eagle Brand Magic Bars recipe that was printed on its condensed milk labels for so many years. They’re also similar to 7 layer bars, or Hello Dolly bars, all of which use the same ingredients in a slightly different way.
So next time you’re wondering ‘what can I do with a bunch of graham crackers?’ Think man bars! (How can you go wrong with pantry ingredients and 30 minutes of your time.)
more old fashioned desserts
- Blackberry Slab Pie Bars
- Old Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Easy Peach Cobbler
- Black Raspberry Ice Cream
- Strawberry Jam Bars
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
Amish Man Bars
- 8×8 square baking pan
for the bars
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
for the coating
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray and line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper leaving long ends so you can lift the bars out after baking.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until everything is completely combined.
- Spread into your prepared pan, taking care to get the mixture evenly spread out. I like to use an offset spatula, which you can moisten if you like to prevent sticking.
- Bake for 30 minutes until set and lightly golden on top.
- Let the bars cool completely, then slice into 16 squares. Note: I like to trim the edges off first to make neater squares.
- Coat each bar thickly with the confectioner's sugar.
- The bars will keep for up to a week at room temperature.