Magic bars have been around for quite some time, and even though their name alone isn’t that descriptive, if you’ve been to some kind of school bake sale in the past few decades, you’ve probably seen or eaten them. These chewy bar cookies have a layers of chocolate, nuts and coconut, soaked in sweetened condensed milk, and all stacked on a graham cracker crust. They’re called “magic bars” because you don’t have to do much mixing – just layer everything in the pan and bake. Once the timer goes off in the oven, like magic, the bars have melded into a delicious treat.
I’ve seen the bars with slightly different components and in slightly different orders to the layers. I used the order I mentioned above: graham crust, chocolate, nuts, coconut, sweetened condensed milk. For my magic bars, I used Guittard semisweet chocolate chips, roasted and salted pecans, and unsweetened coconut. I also incorporated some oats into my crust to give it a little more depth of flavor. I think that using salted nuts really makes a big difference in the finished bars because it keeps them from being too sweet. With the salted nuts, there is just the slightest hint of a savory element in with the chocolate and coconut.
The finished bars end up being moist, chewy, crunchy and incredibly addictive. It’s a bonus that they’re so simple to make. These bars are good both at room temperature and when they’re chilled. I especially recommend chilling them if it’s hot outside, as the bars tend to get a little too soft and melty during the summer.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup roasted, salted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, oats and melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer, using your fingertips,the back of a spoon or a spatula. Spread chocolate chips in a layer on the graham crackers. Spread pecans in a layer on the chocolate chips. Spread coconut in a layer on top. Pour sweetened condensed milk over everything.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown.
Cool completely before slicing.
Bars can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 25 squares.