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Magic Bars

Magic Bars

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.

Magic Bars
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.

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  • dawn
    April 20, 2009

    I will always love these. Even when I’m very old and have lost my teeth I will still love them. LOL

  • Dianna
    April 20, 2009

    The last time I made these I used the traditional semisweet chocolate chips and coconut and toasted almonds, but I also had some extra Kraft caramel bits so I added those too. SO good! I’m going to try adding oatmeal in the crust. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Candice
    April 20, 2009

    I dont know if its a Canadian thing, but I always called those Hello Dollies, or 7 layer bars.

  • Jennifer
    April 20, 2009

    The bars I’ve always made had Butterscotch chips in addition to the chocolate chips. I’d definitely be willing to “upgrade” to better chocolate, toasted salted nuts, and put oats in the crust, but I won’t be leaving out the butterscotch chips. 🙂

  • unconfidentialcook.com
    April 20, 2009

    I used to make these all the time in college–omg, I loved them…and now I’m re-inspired to make them again. Thanks.

  • Stephanie
    April 20, 2009

    This looks like one of the most amazing bad for you foods ever. Absolutely perfect for a college student, especially on 4.20

  • Baking Monster
    April 20, 2009

    these look so amazing!

  • Angie
    April 20, 2009

    I’ve been making these every Christmas since I was a little girl. My stepkids and hubby LOVE them. The version I grew up using uses crushed corn flake crumbs instead of the graham cracker and oats for the crust, walnut pieces instead of pecans, and the coconut is topped with finely chopped maraschino cherries. I also add a healthy sprinkling of coarse salt over the crust before adding the chocolate chips, and use Callebaut 62% chips for the chocolate because of the extra yum.

  • Steaveandrew
    April 21, 2009

    Hey i have tried the Magic bars, and seriously Magic bars is one of my favorite recipe, I am very thankful to you for posting this blog for me. I will always love them.

  • TropicGirl
    April 21, 2009

    I love these. The magic must be how much your hips expand after three bites!

  • Tracy F
    April 21, 2009

    I made some magic bars at Christmas. Anything with graham cracker crumbs in it does it for me. I like the idea of salted nuts. I have not tried that, but I think a little saltiness would complement the chocolate and sweetness well.

  • Elyse
    April 21, 2009

    Mmm, those magic bars look totally delicious. It’s amazing what sweetened condensed milk can do for a bar! Man, talk about yummy treats!

  • Janell
    May 4, 2009

    These were great! I have heard of them before but I have never made them. We live in Mexico so I cant get graham crackers. I had to use a graham cracker crust instead. I use the sweetened condensed milk here for caramel because we can’t get caramels here either! I just boil the can for 4 hours and it makes a great caramel for pies! I even used it when I made your Samoa bars.

  • Mrs C
    December 12, 2009

    Wish me luck, I planned to make these for a cookie exchange and the person hosting it doesn’t like coconut I found out. SO, for one batch I mixed 1/4 tsp of almond extract into the condensed milk and was just generous with the pecans. Hope this works!

  • Connie and Robbie
    May 9, 2010

    Mmmm, we loved em….. a perfectly easy treat to make for Mother’s Day. Keep up the good work!

    Nicole, I love your cookbook! The recipes are so well written and it’s beautifully photographed. Wishing you much success!

    Connie and Robbie

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