Grandma’s Three Layer Chocolate Squares – An Old Fashioned Cookie Recipe

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Grandma’s Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey’s chocolate topping.  The combination is a match made in chocolate heaven.

Grandma’s Three Layer Cookie Bars Recipe:

This recipe is very special to me.  I have an old newspaper clipping from our local paper.  My grandmother was recommended for the “Recipe of the Week,” and this is the recipe that she submitted.  It quotes her as saying that “her family likes these “no baking” confections and she always makes them at Christmas and cuts them small and dainty.”

Grandma’s Three-Layer Chocolate Squares have stood the test of time in our family.  My mom continues the tradition at Christmas time with these treats.  I’m not sure if mom does it for nostalgia or if it’s because they are so yummy.

Or, maybe it’s because these 3 layer cookie bars can be made a month ahead of time and kept in the freezer.  This is key for a mom who goes above and beyond with her Christmas baking (Chocolate Crinkles Cookies, Poppy seed Bread, Dainty Log Butter Cookies, Fantasy Fudge, Crock Pot Seven Layer Bars, Glazed Pecans, Homemade Caramel Corn, and Chocolate Nut Cookies are some of our favorites).

These three-layer chocolate bars freeze great. Make them up to a month ahead of time, wrap tightly and pull them out when you are ready to serve.  My mom waits to cut them right before serving.

Baking Old Fashioned Cookies With Your Kids

I recently made these with my two young daughters.  It is the perfect recipe for kids to help out with.  The list of tasks they helped with was long and included:

  • crushing graham crackers that are inside a zip-lock bag with rolling pin
  • sifting powdered sugar
  • unwrapping butter
  • cracking egg
  • measuring most ingredients
  • pressing the bottom layer of cookie into the pan
  • whisking second layer gently
  • spreading cream layer over base
  • unwrapping and breaking up Hershey’s bars

Molding young kids into future home cooks is something that you can be doing with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Help them gain confidence in their skills. Let them make messes. And have fun!  I am hoping my kids will cherish these memories as I do with my  mom and grandmas.

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping.  The combination is a match made in chocolate heaven. 

3 Layer Bars Ingredient List

Cocoa Powder

Powdered Sugar

Egg

Vanilla Extract

Graham Cracker Crumbs

Chopped Pecans

Butter, melted

Cornstarch

Milk

Sugar

Hershey’s Chocolate Bars

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping. 

How to Make Triple Layer Cookie Bars:

  1. For the first layer, add the following ingredients to melted butter one at a time: cocoa, sifted powdered sugar, egg, vanilla, graham cracker crumbs and chopped pecans. Press into 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.
  2. To make the second layer, melt butter; add combined cornstarch and sugar and milk, cooking and stirring until thick and smooth. Let cool.  Add additional vanilla and powdered sugar. Spread over the second layer.
  3. For the top layer, melt Hershey’s bars over a double boiler. Spread evening over cookies.
  4. Cut into dainty squares before chocolate is completely firm.

For the full recipe for Three-Layer Chocolate Squares, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Notes About Triple Layer Cookie Bars:

  • What is confectioners sugar? Don’t be confused! Confectioners sugar is powdered sugar. You would not want to substitute plain white sugar for confectioners sugar.  Powdered sugar is much finer and sweeter than plain white sugar.
  • Sift the confectioners (powdered) sugar after measuring for the first layer of these 3-layer cookie bars.
  • How many cups are in a package of graham crackers?  The answer is approximately 1 1/2 cups per plastic package that is found inside the graham cracker box.  This recipe calls for 3 cups of graham cracker crumbs, so use 2 of the small plastic packages (a box of graham crackers usually contains 3 plastic packages inside).
  • To easily make graham cracker crumbs, use a food processor like this one or use a rolling pin.  I recommend the latter; its a great stress relief.
  • Grandma’s original recipe calls for 9 3/4 ounces of “sweet chocolate bar” or she says you can substitute chocolate chips.  It just so happens that 9 3/4 ounces = 6 Hershey’s bars.  How convenient is that?
  • To melt the Hershey’s bars, put in a double boiler.  What is a double boiler?  It’s a special pan that is two saucepans on top of each other.  What do you substitute for a double boiler? Find a glass bowl that fits on top of a saucepan, and then fill the saucepan with a couple of inches of water but do not have the water touch the bottom of the bowl.  Bring the water to a gentle boil underneath the bowl of chocolate, and the heat will melt the chocolate perfectly.
  • The easiest way to spread the cream layer (2nd), and Hershey’s layer (3rd) is with an offset spatula like this one.

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping.  The combination is a match made in chocolate heaven. 

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Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping.  The combination is a match made in chocolate heaven. 
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares - Triple Layer Cookie Bars

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping.  The combination is a match made in chocolate heaven. 
Prep Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 3 Layer Chocolate Squares, Three Layer Cookie Bars, Three Layer Cookie Squares, Triple Layer Cookie Bars
Servings: 24 squares
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Middle Layer

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons half and half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Top Layer

  • 9 3/4 ounces Hershey's Chocolate Bars

Instructions

  • Melt 1/2 cup butter; add one ingredient at a time, stirring after each addition: cocoa, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla, graham cracker crumbs and chopped nuts. Press into the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan.
  • Melt 1/4 cup butter. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons sugar; add to the melted butter and whisk until smooth. Add half and half or milk. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until thick and smooth; cool.
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 cups powdered sugar to cooled mixture; whisk until smooth and thick. Pour over the bottom layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula.
  • Melt chocolate over hot water (double boiler). Spread over the cream layer. Let cool at room temperature.
  • Cut into bars before the chocolate is completely set. Cut into dainty squares.

Notes

  • What is confectioners sugar? Don't be confused! Confectioners sugar is powdered sugar. You would not want to substitute plain white sugar for confectioners sugar.  Powdered sugar is much finer and sweeter than plain white sugar.
  • Sift the powdered sugar after measuring for the first layer of these 3-layer cookie bars.
  • How many cups are in a package of graham crackers?  The answer is approximately 1 1/2 cups per plastic package that is found inside the graham cracker box.  This recipe calls for 3 cups of graham cracker crumbs, so use 2 of the small plastic packages (a box of graham crackers usually contains 3 plastic packages inside). 
  • To easily make graham cracker crumbs, use a food processor like this one or use a rolling pin.  I recommend the latter; its a great stress relief. 
  • Grandma's original recipe calls for 9 3/4 ounces of "sweet chocolate bar" or she says you can substitute chocolate chips.  It just so happens that 9 3/4 ounces = 6 Hershey's bars.  
  • To melt the Hershey's bars, put in a double boiler.  What is a double boiler?  It's a special pan that is two saucepans on top of each other.  What do you substitute for a double boiler? Find a glass bowl that fits on top of a saucepan.  Fill the saucepan with a couple of inches of water but do not have the water touch the bottom of the bowl.  Bring the water to a gentle boil underneath the bowl of chocolate.  The heat will melt the chocolate perfectly. 
  • The easiest way to spread the cream layer (2nd), and Hershey's layer (3rd) is with an offset spatula. 
  • These three-layer chocolate bars freeze great. Make them up to a month ahead of time, wrap tightly and pull them out when you are ready to serve.  My mom waits to cut them right before serving.
  • Looking for other holiday baking options? Try Chocolate Crinkles Cookies, Poppy seed Bread, Dainty Log Butter Cookies, Fantasy Fudge, Crock Pot Seven Layer Bars, Glazed Pecans, Homemade Caramel Corn, and Chocolate Nut Cookies

Grandma's Three Layer Chocolate Squares are a family favorite treat that are served every Christmas at my house.  The triple layer cookie bar consists of a chocolate graham cracker crust, a vanilla cream center and a sweet Hershey's chocolate topping. 

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8 Comments

    1. Many old-fashioned recipes call for eggs that aren’t cooked. We personally haven’t had an issue in all the years we’ve made these but it is up to your own personal judgement whether you want to try it. You could use a pasteurized egg product instead or even applesauce or mashed bananas as a substitution!

    1. Many old-fashioned recipes call for eggs that aren’t cooked. We personally haven’t had an issue but it up to your own personal judgement whether you want to try it. You could use a pasteurized egg product instead or even applesauce or mashed bananas as a substitution!

  1. Has anyone tried baking these bars? I’ve baked graham cracker crusts without egg so I’m wondering what effect baking would have with the egg in this crust. I think I’m going to try it as I’m not comfortable with serving a dessert with raw egg to others. I’ll come back and post how it worked when I get around to making them. Also, would omitting the pecans change these too much? I know a couple people who have nut allergies. Thanks!

  2. Here is my Mom’s recipe…Maybe a little easier….SO so good!!
    3 layer Bars:
    1st layer
    Beat til thick:
    1/3 cup butter
    1/2 cup powder sugar
    6 Tbls. cocoa powder
    1 egg
    Mix and add 20 small crushed graham crackers and 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1 tsp. vanilla.
    Sprean in pan, greased with butter and sprinkled with coconut, (optional) chill til firm
    2nd layer
    1/2 cup butter softened
    1 cup powder sugar
    1-1/2 Tbls. milk
    Mix and spread over 1st layer, chill again.
    3rd layer
    I large Chocolate Hershey candy bar melted in double boiler. Spread over 2nd layer, cut into bars before chocolaate hardens, and keep refrigerated

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