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How To Store Leftover Magic Cookie Bars For Maximum Freshness

Bar cookies with coconut topping
Bar cookies with coconut topping - Angela Latimer/Mashed

Magic cookie bars, aka seven-layer bars or even hello dollies, have been around for a good long while with published recipes dating back to the 1960s. By now there are numerous variants on the theme. Mashed developer Angela Latimer's cookie bars stick to the traditional seven layers consisting of sweetened condensed milk, chopped pecans, shredded coconut, butterscotch morsels, chocolate chips, graham crackers, and butter. Yep, butter. Even though Latimer mixes it with crushed crackers to make a cookie crust, the ingredient has been counted as its own separate layer since the earliest recipes so we won't argue. Instead, we'll focus on what to do with the leftover bars because unless you're expecting Andre the Giant over for tea and cookies (sadly, he'll have to decline on account of being dead), you may not finish all 24 in a single sitting.

Latimer assures us, "These bars store exceptionally well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week" but suggests that if you'll be stacking them and want to make sure they don't stick to each other, you should separate them with parchment paper. Wax paper would work just as well for this purpose, as would plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The cookie bars can also be frozen if you need to store them for a longer period. Before you eat them, thaw any frozen cookies at room temperature until they're soft enough not to crack a tooth.

Read more: 13 Store-Bought Ice Cream Bars Ranked From Worst To Best

What To Do With The Cookie Bars If They Get Slightly Stale

Bar cookies with coconut topping
Bar cookies with coconut topping - Angela Latimer/Mashed

Even if you do forget and leave your cookie bars out on the counter for more than a week and they lose a little of their magic, that doesn't mean they're ready for the compost heap. That would be incredibly wasteful, and food waste is something we should all strive to reduce. The three R's of waste management may be reduce, reuse, and recycle, but when it comes to food, there's a fourth option: repurpose. So what can you do with slightly stale bar cookies? Any number of different things come to mind.

If you crumble the cookies, they can be used as a crunchy topping for cake or ice cream. You could also stir them directly into ice cream to make an amazing alternative to boring old cookies and cream or chop them into chunks and mix them into cake batter. One especially fun idea involves making cupcake batter and then filling each cupcake liner just partway. Drop in a big chunk of a magic cookie bar, fill the rest of the space with batter (leaving room for expansion), then bake as usual. The result will be cupcakes with a delicious surprise inside — they'll be kind of like piecaken which, as you may recall, is the dessert version of turducken.

Read the original article on Mashed.