Made using a few readily available ingredients, these Eagle Brand magic bars have been a staple in kitchens for years!
Also known as 7-layer bars or magic cookie bars, this recipe is more like a dump cake. You layer everything into the baking dish (in the proper order), then bake, cool, slice, and serve.
The most work you have to do is make a graham cracker crust. From there, it’s just a matter of pouring in the ingredients.
You can have this in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The toughest part is waiting for these tempting treats to cool!
Eagle Brand Magic Bars
These incredible magic bars use graham crackers, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.
This version only includes chocolate chips, so they’re not technically seven layers. To make the seven-layer version, add white chocolate and butterscotch chips, too.
But to be honest, I think these are more than sweet enough.
When you add that layer of condensed milk, the whole thing becomes sticky and fudgy. Plus, it’s sweetened and super creamy, so you don’t need white chocolate.
For the nuts, I like to use pecans and walnuts. I prefer their buttery textures, but if you want something crunchier, use roasted peanuts.
What Are Magic Bars?
Magic bars are a layered dessert that gets baked as one to make a delicious, sliceable treat. They’re also known as 7-Layer or Hello Dolly bars. They consist of a graham cracker crust topped with chocolate chips, nuts, condensed milk, and coconut. However, they can also include butterscotch chips.
If you want that toffee taste, keep the butterscotch. But I recommend using dark chocolate chips alongside to help balance it out.
There are a bunch of variations to this recipe (which I’ll go over later). For this specific version, you just need six pantry-staple ingredients:
- Butter – If you’ve ever made a pie crust without butter, you can taste the difference. So, be sure you get the good stuff!
- Crushed graham crackers – You can buy crushed graham crackers in certain stores or add the crackers to a food processor. Pulse until they’re crushed, and you can’t see any lumps. Or, add the crackers to a Ziploc bag and carefully crush them with a rolling pin.
- EAGLE BRAND® sweetened condensed milk – Since this is an Eagle Brand recipe, look for Eagle Brand condensed milk. That said, you can use any sweetened condensed milk for this.
- Shredded or flaked (sweetened) coconut – Though you can use unsweetened coconut, I prefer the crispy texture of the sweetened kind. Although, if you choose to add white chocolate and butterscotch chips, it’s probably smarter to get unsweetened, so it’s not too sweet.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – Get decent quality chocolate because the cheaper stuff won’t melt properly.
- Chopped nuts – Nuts are technically optional in this recipe. If you or someone you know has an allergy, skip them altogether. However, if you want to add them for their buttery crunch, I highly recommend walnuts.
How to Make Magic Bars
These bars couldn’t possibly be easier! Just follow these simple steps:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) or 325°F (162°C) if using a glass baking dish. Grease and line a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and parchment paper.
- Mix the base. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with crushed graham crackers. Press the crust into the prepared pan, using a measuring cup to smooth the top.
- Pour the condensed milk over the crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, followed by the nuts and then the coconut.
- Press the top with a fork to ensure everything is well-packed. Bake it for 25 minutes or until the coconut is golden and crisp. Cool and slice into bars.
For more detailed and exact instructions, refer to the recipe card at the end of this post.
What Can Be Used Instead of Coconut in These Bars?
Chopped nuts and seeds can be used instead of coconut. Magic bars need a crust to hold everything together, and the condensed milk is key to the “magic” binding filling.
Apart from that, you can change out most ingredients, including coconut. Try slivered almonds or pepitas instead.
If you don’t like the taste or texture of coconut, there are a few great alternatives. They include chopped pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, or peanuts, along with sunflower seeds or pepitas.
Of course, you don’t have to replace the coconut at all. As long as you have the crust and filling, the coconut layer isn’t vital.
But it adds a chewy and slightly crispy element. You’ll miss it if you don’t find a substitute.
Tips for Making The Best Bars
These bars are totally foolproof! But following these tips will make them even better.
- Line the baking dish with parchment. Since they’re so sticky, the parchment will make removing them much easier.
- Make sure the fillings are spread evenly. You don’t want a cluster of dark chocolate in one corner and none in the other.
- Pour the condensed milk very slowly and from a height. If you pour it too close, you’ll end up with a thick layer at one end, and you might struggle to spread it out.
- Be sure you have full-fat condensed milk. And ensure you didn’t accidentally grab evaporated milk!
- Add the coconut last. You want it on the top so it can crisp up.
- Add a light sprinkling of sea salt. You don’t need a lot, but it will make them extra yummy. Do this when they come out of the oven.
- Be sure the magic bars are completely cool before cutting. If you try to cut them while they’re warm, you’ll make a sticky mess.
If you’ve never had these before, I suggest you make the original recipe. Then, when you see how delicious and easy they are, try one of these variations:
- Pretzels – Use crushed pretzels instead of coconut.
- Make it chocolatey – Make the crust with chocolate chip cookies or Oreos.
- Make it nutty – Add peanut butter chips instead of (or as well as) chocolate chips.
- Add color – Add a layer of mini M&Ms to the top.
- Bring the salt – Use crushed potato chips for crunch.
- Want something chewy? Add a layer of mini marshmallows for something insanely sticky.
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