Magic bars are a popular bar cookie get their name because they require few ingredients and are so easy to make that it’s hard to believe they taste as good as they do. The classic recipe features chocolate, nuts and coconut on a graham cracker crust and while it is a fantastic combination of flavors, there are times when a little variety is good. I was intrigued by the Orangesicle Cookie Mix that Pillsbury recently introduced as a summer item, since I am a huge fan of orange and vanilla creamsicles and have even made Creamsicle Cupcakes before. So, I played around with the mix and came up with a fun summer recipe using it: Orangesicle Magic Bars.
The Creamsicle Magic Bars are bar cookies that start out with cookie dough as the base, rather than the graham cracker-type crust typically found in magic bar recipes. The Orangesicle Cookie Dough is a mix that comes in a pouch, to which you add butter and eggs to bring it together. I mixed up the dough using melted butter – rather than the creamed butter that the packaging called for – and pressed it into an 8-inch square pan. I topped the orange cookie base with white chocolate chips, salted pecans and coconut, then poured a layer of sweetened condensed milk that I had spiked with fresh orange zest and vanilla over the top to bind everything together.
The finished bars were delicious – especially for a creamsicle lover, as the little bit of extra orange zest in the topping helped to combine all of these great ingredients. The orange cookie dough had a really nice creamsicle flavor and provided a sturdy, slightly chewy, base for the bars. The white chocolate added a little extra creaminess to the bars, while the salted pecans helped to cut the sweetness a little bit. Coconut, of course, always goes well with orange and that is an ingredient that I just might incorporate into more creamsicle creations in the future! The bars are satisfyingly chewy, with just a hint of crunch to them from the pecans. You could try using another nut – such as walnuts or macadamia nuts – but you should definitely opt for roasted and salted nuts in this recipe.
I’ll be bringing these bars to plenty of events this spring. I happen to know more than a few people who are creamsicle fans, so I know that they will be a hit. The bars travel very well and, since they are moist, they can be baked a day or two in advance. If you’re looking for longer-term storage, they also freeze well and taste pretty good when they’re slightly chilled if you get impatient about defrosting them.
Orangesicle Magic Bars
1 package Orangesicle Cookie Dough Mix
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup roasted, salted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together cookie dough mix with melted butter and egg and stir until very well combined. Transfer dough into prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer.
Sprinkle white chocolate chips in a layer on the graham crackers. Sprinkle pecans in a layer on the white chocolate chips. Spread coconut in a layer on top.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk with the orange zest and vanilla. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the rest of the ingredients in your baking pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown.
Cool completely before slicing.
Bars can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 25 squares.