Saturday, April 16, 2016

Magic Cookie Bars: a Classic Mid-Century Recipe

If you've never eaten a Magic Cookie Bar then stop what you are doing and make these now--life is too short to miss out on this scrumptious treat!  I've been baking a lot recently and I suddenly had a craving for these. My mother often made these for potlucks or other get-togethers when I was a kid and I hadn't had one in years. As you can see from the photo, I didn't let these cool down quite enough before I cut them. Melted chocolate everywhere...because I just couldn't wait!

Sadly, many people have never heard of or tasted this scrumptious mid-century classic, and that is what prompted this post today. As far as I know, the recipe premiered in The Dessert Lovers' Hand-Book, a booklet of recipes produced by Borden in 1969 to feature Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. I inherited my copy from my mother, and you can see how well-loved it has been in the photo below.

The bars are very easy to make! I'm sharing the original recipe along with my tips to make sure yours turn out just right.

Magic Cookie Bars 
(Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2 inch x 3 inch bars)


1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips**
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (shredded is also okay)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

*Make your own crumbs by placing about nine full size graham cracker sheets in a Ziploc bag, and then crush them with a rolling pin.

**I use a full 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips because I am a chocoholic.

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the sides a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with a little of the butter, and then put the rest of the stick in the bottom of the pan. Put it in the oven until the butter melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom. Mix so that all of the crumbs are coated evenly with the butter. Lightly press the crumbs down at the bottom of the pan as though you were forming a graham cracker crust.

Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the crumbs. Scatter the chocolate chips over the nuts, and sprinkle the coconut evenly over the chocolate chips.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the coconut. It's very thick, so use a rubber spatula to remove all of the milk from the can and drizzle it over the coconut. It's important to cover as much of the coconut as possible so it won't burn during baking.

Now wait for about five minutes to allow the condensed milk to soak through all of the layers. Then put the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges of the bars. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.

And there you have it! One of the best cookie bars you will ever taste. Enjoy!


  1. I haven't made these in ages! Yum!!!!!

  2. I hope that you'll make them again soon! I might. The batch in the photo are all gone now...! :)


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