When it comes to easy recipes, magic bars are hard to beat. They’re an unusual type of bar cookie where the ingredients are layered together, then topped with sweetened condensed milk. The milk binds everything together and adds some nice sweetness to the mixture. These Chocolate Raspberry Magic Bars are a little unusual because they include fresh raspberries and layer of raspberry jam, adding a fruitiness to the bars and giving them a completely different flavor profile than most magic bar recipes.
The bars start with a base made with chocolate wafer crumbs and quick cooking oatmeal. I love adding oatmeal to the base of these magic bars because it not only adds a nice flavor, but it helps to soak up some of the moisture from the jam and the sweetened condensed milk. The result is a base that is firm, not soggy or sticky, and easy to handle. The cookie base is topped with raspberry jam, slivered almonds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and fresh raspberries. The raspberries have to be fresh, not frozen, or they’ll loose their shape when they’re in the oven. The fresh berries keep their color, flavor and shape as the bars bake. The bars take a little bit longer in the oven than some other magic bars due to the added moisture of the raspberry preserves, for those of you who are familiar with this style of bar cookie.
The finished bars are absolutely delicious. They remind me of an Almond Joy, but with a big burst of sweet-tart raspberry flavor. They’re fairly tall bars, so I cut them into slices that yield 2-3 bites per piece. The bars will be a bit firmer if you chill them, but the chocolate chips on top tend to bloom when refrigerated, so I prefer to let the bars completely cool at room temperature before slicing and serve them that way.
Chocolate Raspberry Magic Bars
1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, oatmeal and butter until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into a firm, even layer.
Gently spread raspberry jam on top of cookie layer using a spatula, then top with coconut, chocolate chips and fresh raspberries. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top of everything.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the sides of the bars are golden brown and the center of the bars does not appear wet. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate before slicing.