Welcome to my Sweets Blog!

Welcome to my Sweets Blog!
I've been looking for a way to share my sweet creations with everyone, and I think I have found it--here is my sweets blog! As I experiment with delicious desserts & sweet treats, I will post pictures, recipes, and how-to tips & tricks. Hope you enjoy reading about my sweets as much I enjoy eating them!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Magic Cookie Bars

Hello there Blog, it's been a while! I'm happy to come back with a post about one of my favorite cookie bar recipes of all time...

Magic Cookie Bars! 

Also known as Seven-Layer Bars. Whatever you call them, they are incredibly, insanely, magically delicious. 

And they really are pretty easy to make. 

There are lots of ways to vary the recipe, but I will share my favorite, tried & true combination of ingredients & layers. It's a variation on Eagle Brand's Magic Cookie Bar Recipe {click here for the original recipe}.

The ingredients you will need are: one stick of butter, one "sleeve" of chocolate graham crackers, one can of sweetened condensed milk, a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a cup of butterscotch chips, one and a third cups of shredded coconut, and a cup of chopped walnuts. 

The decorative extras can't be forgotten. I made this little batch of magic as part of Operation Cookie Takeover, an amazing project organizing shipment of 10,000 cookies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Such an honor to participate. Patriotic M&M's were a must for this project, along with red and blue sanding sugar. And I added some red heart sprinkles, because I thought the troops overseas could use a little love. ❤

OK back to the magic. I like to get everything ready so the layering process can be quick and easy. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Crush the graham crackers (either in a food processor or by hand in a ziplock bag), chop the walnuts, and measure out the rest of the ingredients. 

Melt the stick of butter - place it in a 9x13 inch baking pan and put it right in the preheated oven. Keep an eye on it. 

When the butter is mostly melted, you can take it out of the oven. Tilt the pan around to make sure the whole bottom is covered. Next up is the chocolate graham cracker crust. Pour it evenly over the butter.

Next, open the can of sweetened condensed milk. Pour the whole can evenly over the crust, leaving about an inch around the edges. Later, when all the layers are flattened out, the edge will get plenty of love!

And now for the good stuff. All of these delicious textures and flavors will melt together and it will be life-changing. 

Now you can add the decorative elements, the M&Ms and sprinkles. Flatten the whole thing out, as much as possible, with the bottom of a spatula. 

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the coconut is starting to turn golden. You may see some bubbling of the sweetened condensed milk around the edges. Don't worry, those pieces will still taste amazing, even though they may not look as pretty as the middle pieces. 

Your house will be smelling fantastic at this point. Now, while it is still warm, run a knife around the edges. Let the pan come to room temperature and then chill it in the fridge for a little bit. The bars will make it much easier to cut at room temperature or chilled. Do not try to cut it while it's warm. It will taste great, I'm sure, but the layers will fall apart. Cut it into bars with a sharp knife. (Beware, sometimes the first bar is tough to get out of the pan...just use that one as your taste test!) 

Eagle Brand has a great tip on their recipe page: "For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into bars." I've tried it with parchment paper, and it works well! 

The Recipe

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers, crushed
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts 
M&M's (optional)
sprinkles (optional) 

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (325˚F if using a glass baking pan).
2. Place the stick of butter in a 9x13 inch pan, and place in the oven to melt.
3. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan.
4. Pour the graham crackers evenly over the butter.
5. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker crust, leaving about an inch around the edges.
6. Add the chocolate chips in an even layer.
7. Add the butterscotch chips in an even layer.
8. Add the shredded coconut in an even layer.
9. Add the walnuts in an even layer. 
10. Finally, add any decorative toppings such as M&Ms or sprinkles. 
11. Press the top firmly with the bottom of a spatula, over the entire pan. 
12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the coconut begins to get golden brown. 
13. Loosen the edges from the pan while still warm.
14. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Yields approximately 18-24 bars (Or more or less depending on how large or small you cut the bars!)


I hope you will believe me that nothing beats the flavors of the layer combinations that I described above. However, please feel free to try other combinations.  Might I make a few suggestions...

  • Use regular graham crackers for more of a "Blondie" feel
  • Try a cinnamon graham cracker crust
  • Use raisins or craisins instead of the butterscotch chips
  • Use peanut butter chips, Reeses pieces, or crushed Reeses peanut butter cups
  • Sprinkle the top with crushed peppermint candies (perfect for the winter holidays!)
  • Get a sweeter flavor by using milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chips
  • Make s'mores bars by adding mini marshmallows in place of the butterscotch chips 
  • Substitute hazelnuts or peanuts for the walnuts
  • Use any color M&Ms to fit your occasion & any decorative sprinkles to fit the season!

Have fun with it, use what you like!

I like to serve the bars in decorative cupcake liners. I've used standard size for larger bars, like the Christmas Magic Cookie Bars below, or mini cupcake liners for Magic Cookie bites! 

I hope you enjoy this little bites of magic as much as I do! 

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