You’ll be singing “Hello Dolly” when you taste these fantastic bars!
New Twist On An Old Favorite
When you’ve been around s long as I have, you see there is nothing new under the sun. These delicious bars are one of those things.
Back in the 70s, these bars emerged as “magic cookie bars,” and they were featured in every magazine advertisement for Eagle Brand condensed milk. I think everyone tried them–at least once. I remember thinking that they’d be cloyingly sweet with all those ingredients. However, much to my surprise, they actually were not and were quite good, given how easy they were to make.
Make Them Even Better
You can improve on perfection and these bars prove it.
The originals only had chocolate chips, but this version includes the addition of butterscotch chips. This really enhances the caramel flavor the condensed milk takes on as it bakes. That was another surprise for me since as a rule, I’m not a lover of butterscotch-flavored chips.
Also, the old version only used a graham cracker crust. Now that’s delicious, but the addition of chocolate wafer crumbs takes these bars to the next level. I noticed that the chocolate wafers actually toned down the sweetness somewhat and added a delightful slight bitter undertone. This is a perfect marriage of sweet versus bitter.
Another swap I made was using unsweetened shredded coconut (merely because I had it in the pantry). Again, I thought I could tone down the sweetness, but if you don’t have unsweetened, use the regular sweetened variety. It was always fine in the original and it will be here too.
Finally, the ante is upped by swapping out the original walnuts for sliced almonds. This produces a much better flavor in my opinion, but I like almonds better than walnuts anyway.
Don’t Skip This Step
The old Magic Cookie Bars didn’t call for lining the pan with parchment nor chilling before cutting. But here, please don’t skip lining the pan with parchment because not only will you have an easier cleanup, but you may not be able to remove the bars from the pan because of the cooked condensed milk.
You have to invert the pan to cut the bars and trust me, they will be much easier to cut if you have them upside down to do so.
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- 2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter
- 2 tbs sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 - 9 oz box chocolate wafers (like Nabisco Famous)
- 9 whole graham crackers (about 4.5 oz)
- For the bars layer in this order:
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1½ cups shredded coconut (unsweetened preferred but sweetened is OK)
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick spray. Also line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray that too (don’t skip this step!)
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve; remove from heat.
- In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafers and the graham crackers until you get fine crumbs. Add the cookie crumbs to the butter mixture in the saucepan and mix well to combine. Press into prepared pan.
- Layer the fillings in the order given, spreading evenly. Pour the condensed milk on top trying to keep that even across the top too.
- Bake bars for 35-40 minutes, until the nuts and coconut are nicely toasted. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for about 45 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Invert pan over a large cutting board and tap bottom of the pan to release. Peel off parchment and cut into 32 bars.
*Adapted from Cuisine At Home