This recipe started with a book I wrote recently about cookies. While conducting research, I came across this recipe for Magic Bars.
Magic bars are one of those things I know I must have had at some point, but don’t specifically remember when or where. Still the combination of such great flavors — a Graham cracker crust, chocolate and butterscotch chips, and coconut — sounded, well, magical.
The minute I read it, I knew I had to make it. Then, like most things that inspire me, I completely forgot about it.
Until this weekend, when Sandi and I found ourselves at Trader Joe’s doing some holiday shopping. TJ’s has a surprisingly diverse and affordable wine offering and this year’s gift giving is all about wine.
I came across a package of coconut flakes and instantly recalled that I wanted to make Magic Bars.
Flash forward to later that afternoon, and these temptingly delicious and easy-to-make cookies were cooling on my stovetop.
It’s a testament to how delicious these Magic Bars were that Sandi made sure I gave them away as quickly as possible. I don’t think she wanted the temptation of of these super-sweet cookie bars hanging around for a moment longer than they had to.
For the remainder of the weekend, Sandi was recommending people who would really like these cookies. She herself admitted that they were pretty darn good, even though she “doesn’t like coconut.”
Coconut is one of those divisive ingredients that turns the world into a black and white place. There are those people who like coconut and those who don’t.
In other words, you are either an Almond Joy person or a Mounds person.
Personally, I don’t like coconut, either. I would always choose Ho-Hos over Snowballs, and I don’t like Pina Coladas (or getting caught in the rain, for that matter).
But coconut tasted incredible on these cookies, possibly because it was toasted during the baking process. More likely, however, it was because the coconut was swimming in the sickeningly sweet condensed milk.
By Sunday night, nearly all of the Magic Bars had magically disappeared, having been packed off with anybody and everybody who showed even the slightest interest in them.
1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1-1/3 cup Coconut Flakes
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13″x9″ baking pan with aluminum foil, including the sides. Spray the foil with pay spray.
2. Combine the melted butter with the Graham crackers and mix well then press into the bottom of the baking pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts and coconut even over the crust. Pour the condensed milk even over the top of everything.
3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan. Life up the edges of the foil to remove the Magic Bars from the pan. Cut into squares and lift each cookie off the foil.
By Monday morning, they were all gone!