Monday, July 13, 2009

Magic Cookie Bars

This is it folks -- the mother of all desserts: Magic Bars. These little babies combine my three favorite dessert ingredients: chocolate (of course!), caramel, and nuts.

There are many different names for these bars: Magic Cookie Bars, Hello Dolly Bars, Seven-Layer Bars, and (the very creative) Chocolate Coconut Bars. But they all equal the same thing: a dessert so rich that you only need about one piece to satisfy your sweet tooth. Unless you have my sweet tooth, which means you'll eat until your stomach hurts.

I combined a few of the recipes I found to make a more wholesome version of this recipe. Notice I didn't say "lighter" version, just "wholesome". So even though they're still loaded with calories, they'll make you fuller, which means you'll eat less of them. Unless, of course, you're like me. I think I may have a problem.

Magic Cookie Bars
  • 1 cup whole wheat graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325°F . Line a 8x8-inch baking pan.
2. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter; mix well.
Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of baking pan.
3. Sprinkle chocolate chips, coconut and pecans on top. Pour the condensed milk evenly.
4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden on top.
5. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.


  1. Those look amazing! I can't wait to try them!

  2. I couldn't agree more on your favorite dessert ingredients! These cookie bars look soooo good. If only I could find graham crackers in this country :( I might require a care package soon, so that I can make all your great recipes.

  3. These have lots of good stuff. I can't believe they are so good and have oatmeal. They are magic.

  4. Hello,
    I came across a great purchase, 5 pounds of Scharffen Berger Petite baking squares for $10.00. They are bittersweet, and 70% cacao. I used them for making toffee, but, nobody liked the bittersweet of the chocolate. (Except me!) I am looking for some recipes for candy or maybe cookie bars, or cookies using this chocolate. Can you help? I would greatly appreciate it! They have an expiration date in September. Thanks again.

  5. Hi Joann -- I would highly recommend using that fantastic chocolate on some brownies. I really like Dorie Greenspans classic brownie recipe (just google it). I've also heard that the America's Test Kitchen recipe is good. You can also chop it up and put it in some chocolate chip cookies (Alton Brown has a great chewy recipe), but I think good chocolate has more of an effect in a brownie or chocolate pudding, or chocolate mousse.

  6. Yum! I love these so much! Thanks for mentioning my bars!

  7. This is very similar to Carmelita's recipe a friend at work gave me years and years ago, instead of sweetend condesensed milk it used caramel ice cream topping - yummy

  8. I am going to try these, using ritz crackers instead of the grahm crackers. I think the saltiness might enhance the chocolate sweetness. I guess I will adjust the sugar content a little.
    I am going to make about half of the recipe without the coconut. My husband is allergic, unfortunately. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what would be a good substitute for the coconut? Or should I not even try, since there is no good substitute for coconut?
    I think that macadamia nuts would work well in this, too!

  9. Thanks everyone for the sweet comments and thanks HoneyB for the recipe inspiration!

    Hi Hillary. Ritz instead of graham crackers sounds like a delicious idea. As for the coconut, I don't know of any good substitutions, so I would just not at it. These bars will still be awesome even without the coconut.

  10. Did you use Regular oats or Quick oats? Also did you grind up the oats at all?

  11. Hi KatieDi -- I used regular oats and I didn't grind them up when I posted this recipe. However, I've made them since with ground up oats and I think they were better, so yes! definitely grind up the oats if you can.