Recipes, Retro Cooking

Retro Cooking: 1971 Six Layer Bars

A little while back, I found a cookbook from 1971 titled An Exciting New World of Microwave Cooking, published by Litton. The cover photo was slightly repulsive to me as I have a tough time agreeing with the idea of cooking meat in the microwave oven. Nevertheless, I was hooked and had to take the cookbook home.


As I browsed through the book, I couldn’t get myself to try a meat recipe but some of the desserts seemed rather tempting. When I laid eyes on the Six-Layer Bars recipe, I knew I had to give it a try.

The recipe was one of the simplest ever. The toughest challenge was finding a proper size dish that was microwave friendly as well. The steps were so simple: add the ingredients in layers, then microwave for a short time. Easy-peasy.

The only hiccup, ended up being the same problem I always have with vintage recipes: power differences between a vintage oven and a modern one. Before the cooking time was over, I peeked in the microwave window, only to see a gooey mess all over the place. Thankfully, it was easy to clean up, but I certainly would have preferred avoiding that step.

*insert the few well-chosen swear words used while opening the microwave door*

Thankfully, after cleaning the mess and letting the treats cool overnight, the result was really good! It was extremely sweet but quite addictive. I ended up taking most of it to work to share with my colleague and avoid over-indulging. Since most of it had disappeared in 24 hours, I assume they didn’t hate it either.

1971 Six-Layer Bars

  • Servings: About 40 small treats
  • Source: <em>An Exciting New World of Microwave Cooking</em>, by Litton
  • Print

I would recommend changing the power to 80% and keeping an eye on the cooking to avoid having to clean up a gooey mess!


  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3.5 oz can of flaked coconut (I used 1 cup of dry coconut flakes soaked in water)
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk


  1. In a 2-quart baking dish (microwave-safe, of course), melt the butter (45-60 seconds in the microwave).
  2. Add the next five ingredients, layer by layer.
  3. Cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes (I recommend changing the power to 80%), or until the mixture is just starting to show brown areas.
  4. Cool in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Cut into bite-size bars.

This is definitely something I would consider making again. It was so easy and packed with flavor. It would be an easy dish to make for a potluck or to share with friends or co-workers. Just don’t keep a full dish of it at home or you risk eating the whole thing! 🙂


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