Magic bars are an easy-to-make bar cookie recipe that use some of my favorite main ingredients: chocolate, nuts and coconut. They’re also very easy to adapt if you want to play around with those base flavors, because the ingredients for the bars are essentially just layered together in a pan and baked. These Maple Bacon Magic Bars are a salty-sweet version of the classic Magic Bar. They have a maple-infused graham cracker crust as their base, which is topped with semisweet chocolate, toasted pecans, shredded coconut and a generous dose of bacon. A maple syrup-spiked sweetened condensed milk mixture helps bind everything together and – believe it or not – turns these ingredients into a dangerously addictive bar cookie after a trip through the oven.
The mixture of sweetened condensed milk and maple syrup may sound exceptionally sweet – and it is sweet (though delicious) on its own, but that sweetness is balanced out by the salty flavor of all that bacon and the finished bars don’t taste overly sweet. The bars are very rich, with a blend of both sweet and savory flavors, as well as creamy, chewy and crunchy textures. They’re addictive – even if you don’t usually think about adding a meat product to your desserts! I used diced, par-cooked bacon for the bacon bits and you can use bacon bits that you can find in a store provided they’re made with 100% bacon and no artificial flavorings. You don’t want to use bacon that is already super crispy because it may burn in the oven. Par-cooked bacon is completely cooked at a lower temperature, so it has a chewy texture when it is added to the bars and can withstand a trip into the oven as the bars bake.
Cut these into small pieces because they’re quite decadent. Feel free to substitute walnuts or other nuts for the pecans, if you’re not a pecan fan, but keep in mind that toasted nuts are going to give you a much better flavor than untoasted, regardless of which nut you might be using. The bars will keep in an airtight container for several days after baking, but I have to admit that they are at their very best on the day they are baked, when the bacon on top is the crispiest!
Maple Bacon Magic Bars
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional, but recommended)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1/2 cup diced bacon bits
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, oats and salt. Stir in maple extract and melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer, using your fingertips or a spatula.
Sprinkle chocolate chips in a layer on the graham layer. Sprinkle pecans in a layer on the chocolate chips. Sprinkle coconut in an even layer on top of the pecans, then sprinkle bacon on in an even layer on top of the coconut.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and maple syrup, and pour that mixture over everything.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown.
Cool completely before slicing.
Bars can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Makes 25 squares.