Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tricia's Magic Bars

Magic bars are composed of 4-6 layers of goodness. The most common type of Magic bars consist of a graham cracker crumb base followed by layers of coconut, chocolate chips and nuts. Here is a modified recipe that consisted of all the sweets that Siddharth and I like. This is a VERY simple and easy recipe that pretty much anyone can do because it does not require any preparation (no cooking, no measuring, or extensive mixing). It is all about what you use for your layers- the order of the layers doesn't even make a difference (except the coconut and nuts layer which I will discuss later). You can also add more than 6 layers if you desire, then it would be almost a sweet lasagna!

Tricia's Magic Bars:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker/Animal Cracker/Vanilla Wafer crumbs
cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
semisweet chocolate chips (any chips will do)
chopped walnuts or pecans (any nuts will do)
14 oz (1 can) of sweetened condensed milk

First, preheat your oven at 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. While the butter is melting, take your graham crackers (I also used chocolate Animal crackers for more flavor and variety) and crush them either with a food processor or put the crackers in a plastic bag and lightly hammer them into fine crumbs. Once the butter is all melted, add the crumbs to the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are wet in texture. This will help you spread this crumbs on your pan with ease to make a nice crust.

In a 9x9 baking dish that has been pre-coated with butter, spread your crumb mixture on the bottom of your dish and press the crumbs with a spatula to create a uniform layer crust.

Ok, here's the fun and creative part, adding your layers of goodness. Siddharth loves every single chip out there (i.e. chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, Reese's pieces etc), not to mention sweetened coconut flakes. I'm a big fan of Heath bars and I was able to find Heath bar crumbs at the supermarket. As I said before, the order of the layers are up to the baker but I strongly suggest putting the coconut flakes and the nuts (if you are adding any) somewhere in the middle of the bar so that they do not burn during baking in oven (see below for nuts preparation). In this case, I first added a layer of coconut on top of the crust. Then the Heath bar crumbs and the chocolate chips (milk and white!).

 We used pecan nuts. Grab a handful or so and quickly toast the nuts under low heat in a pan. Careful, once you smell the aroma of warm nuts, remove the nuts off the heat because they will start to burn. Once the nuts are cooled, give the nuts a rough chop and sprinkle them as a layer.

 After you have added your desired layers of goodness, you need to add your "glue," a 14oz can of condensed milk. Pour the condensed milk almost evenly on your layers. Gently tap the baking dish so that the milk seeps through the layers.

Bake the bars for 30 minutes at 350 degrees C or at least when the toothpick comes out clean after poking the middle of the bar. After that you should have very dense cookie-like bars that smell absolutely delicious. The graham cracker crust provides a very stable cookie base and the coconut will add a different texture that will complement the sweetness of the chocolate and other caramel additions. The condensed milk should hopefully keep the bars moist and give the bar its chewiness. Store any uneaten portions in the fridge. 


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