Magic Bars

5 from 4 votes
|

posted: 12/01/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
|
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Magic Cookie Bars are the one classic treat that you must have in your recipe box. These seven layer bars are easy to make, and perfect for gifting.

an up close picture of a stack of magic bars with a bite missing from the top one

Recently, Quinn (middle kid extorodanaire) told me she needs to do a school project on a family tradition around the holidays. It needs to be something she can give a speech on. Something that goes back generations. I stood there like a deer in headlights and then it hit me!

Food! Christmas treats! Her great grandmother baked hundreds of cookies. There were trays and trays out around the holidays. (Italian grandmas, am I right?)

Her grandmother made tons of Christmas treats and passed down the tradition of giving them to her kids. I vividly remember Christmas baking with my mom (like these amazing cut out sugar cookies).

Even better, I remember my brothers, 5 and 7 years older than me as teenagers baking away at the holidays. They would put together box after box for neighbors, friends, and family filled with goodies. And they always had these Magic Bars in them.

four seven layer bars sitting on parchment paper on a wood board with coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips around them

HOW TO MAKE MAGIC BARS

  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, making a crust layer
  2. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the crust layer.
  3. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Add butterscotch chips.
  5. Pour shredded coconut over the chips.
  6. Sprinkle on pecan pieces.
  7. Gently press everything down.
  8. Bake, allow to cool, eat, see colors you didn’t know existed in the universe.

I love how easy this magic bars recipe is!

BAKING TIPS FOR MAGIC BARS

To know when your magic cookie bars are done, watch for the middle of the pan to begin to become golden brown. It should reach this color without the edges burning.

DO NOT BUY EVAPORATED MILK. (Yes, this needs all caps.) It has the same packaging/can size as sweetened condensed milk and will ruin the recipe.

Line your baking dish with parchment paper. Using two pieces of parchment paper (one cut for the long way and one cut for the wide way) will allow you to just lift the bars out of the pan.

If you don’t use parchment paper, lightly spray your baking dish with cooking spray. Make sure you get the sides, sweetened condensed milk is very sticky as it bakes.

Cut your magic bars at room temperature. They don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator but if you used that to cool them faster, make sure they are room temperature to cut.

You can substitute the butterscotch chips for more chocolate chips. If you don’t have butterscotch chips, double the chocolate chips. I just love the flavor the butterscotch chips give.

a stack of four magic cookie bars, layer of graham cracker, chocolate chip, coconut, and pecan pieces visible

STORING SEVEN LAYER BARS

Store these in an air tight container at room temperature for up to one week. They do not need to be refrigerated.

You can also freeze magic cookie bars.

  • Cut the baked and cooled magic bars to desired bar size.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer for one hour.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to three months.

MAGIC COOKIE BAR VARIATIONS

For years, I’ve been making spins on the magic cookie bar. About time we got the original, don’t you think?

These variations are some of my most popular dessert recipes. With such a simple base recipe the possibilities are endless.

Here they are in order of my most favorite (but they are all delicious):

As you can see, you can easily make magic bars without nuts or without coconut. There are so many different combinations. Let me know what combination you come up with!

up close overhead picture of a seven layer bar on a piece of parchment paper with a bite missing, coconut shreds and pecan pieces visible on the top of the gooey bar
up close overhead picture of a seven layer bar on a piece of parchment paper with a bite missing, coconut shreds and pecan pieces visible on the top of the gooey bar
5 from 4 votes

Magic Cookie Bars

Serves: 20 bars
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Magic Cookie Bars are the one classic treat that you must have in your recipe box. These seven layer bars are easy to make, and perfect for gifting.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 113 grams, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs roughly 11 traditional American graham cracker sheets or 160 grams
  • 14 liquid ounces sweetened condensed milk be careful not to buy evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 175 grams
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips 175 grams (or replace with another cup of chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded coconut 113 grams
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 119 grams

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the graham cracker crumbs right in your food processor, or if you use a plastic bag and a rolling pin to crush the graham crakcers, combine the crumbs with the butter in a large bowl.
  • Press the combined butter and crumbs into a 9 by 13 inch baking sheet that is lined with parchement paper.
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the crumb crust completely. If you need to spread it, do so carefully.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over the sweetened condensed milk layer.
  • Add on the shredded coconut and then the pecans. Very gently press down.
  • Bake for 25 minutes on the middle shelf of your oven, rotating half way through, until the middle of the pan just begins to turn golden brown.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
up close overhead picture of a seven layer bar on a piece of parchment paper with a bite missing, coconut shreds and pecan pieces visible on the top of the gooey bar

did you make this

Magic Cookie Bars

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:




  1. Carol says

    5 stars
    What a great classic! We used to use walnuts instead of pecans, and Ive been known to toss in toffee bits or peanut butter chips instead of the coconut. I’m going to try yours with the pecans.

    • Lisa Longley says

      OMG, toffee bits sounds amazing! I should add that to my list of variations to try!

  2. Kimberly says

    5 stars
    I used to make these every Christmas. So happy to come across the recipe! Can’t wait for my grandchildren to try them.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope they love them Kimberly!

  3. Rose Robke says

    Can the coconut be omitted?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yup! Did you check out my variations list? There are tons of great ways to do this recipe!

  4. Florence Martin says

    for non nut lovers, try pulverizing walnuts and adding them…I used to do that with butterballs….

  5. Ellen Smith says

    These have one of my go to holiday cookies for almost fifty years. Last year my grocery store did not have butterscotch chips for some reason. While I was debating more chocolate chips or not I spied a bag of Heath Bar candy chips. Used those and got lots of raves. Will use again this year.

    • Lisa Longley says

      OMG, I love those Heath Bar candy chips! Using those next times! Maybe instead of pecans for my nut hating friends.

  6. Judy Johnson says

    These look and sound delicious! Did you use sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I use sweetened shredded coconut!

      • Judy Johnson says

        Thank you

        • Judy Johnson says

          5 stars
          OMG! These turned out so good. I sent the majority with my daughter to her co-workers to try. She said they were gone before her first break. Told her to let me know they are definitely a keeper. I also used the Heath Bar Chips in place of the butterscotch chips. I’ll be making them again this week for my family’s Christmas party this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. June Long says

    Can you use butterscotch syrup?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that, but I bet it would be delicious!

SUPER-SIMPLEFAMILY FAVORITES
Broccoli Pasta"Omg! I didn’t think anything so simple could be so good!"
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe"My family absolutely loved this recipe. Even my finicky eaters."
overhead photo of a gray skillet filled with beef and broccoli recipe, garnished with sliced green onions
Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry"I have made this a couple or more times. It’s easy & quick to prepare. I like this for a quick meal. It will be my go to recipe."

SUBSCRIBE & RECEIVE

MY TOP 10 EASY DINNER EBOOK!