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Love it. My sister for years would not try them but she finally did and is absolutely in love with them. I’ve eaten them for ever and love them. They are so easy to make just a little costly for all the needed ingredients but well worth it.
I followed the recipe as written and the bottom was a bit too gooey. Any suggestions on how to fix this? Should I use less than the whole can of sweetened condensed milk? The flavor was fantastic so I would love some help getting the texture right.
This recipe is fabulous! I do not have a 9 x13 pan, so I increased all the amounts by 20% and made it in a 10 x 15 cookie sheet. Got 48 good-sized triangles. Perfect!
I *LOVE* Irvin and Eat the Love (easily one of the best written food blogs). My grandmother used to make these for us when I was a kid. So now I love Irvin even more for reminding me. I may even have all of the ingredients in the house! :)
Just read through the comments and reread the post – ours were layered in a different order. Crust, coconut, chocolate and then butterscotch chips, pecans and topped with (as another reader wrote) the sweetened condensed milk. The chips melt into the coconut a bit and the covers and seeps in the crags to hold it all together.
Do these freeze well?
Hi, MJ! Emma here, managing editor. My instinct is that, yes, these would freeze well. Wrap the bars tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then store in a freezer bag or other container. Allow to thaw on the counter for a few hours before serving. Enjoy!
Yes – as noted in my comment, my grandma used to make these for us. When I was lucky enough to get a ‘care package’ in college, I’d freeze them and sneak them one at a time when I really needed a taste of home. :)
I just made three batches for twenty or so hungry college students. My husband teaches an evening class, so each week I make goodies (different each week) for him to have out for his students. If there are any left over (usually there are a few) they will be his treat until they are gone. Thanks for the great idea!
My sister in law came up with this idea. Instead of using graham cracker crumbs she uses a small bag of crushed Pecan Sandies cookies for the base. It makes them so much better.
I am lactose tolerence. What can I use to substitute the can of condensed milk?
So the condensed milk is really important to this recipe. It binds everything together and I have never used anything else for these, so I can’t make any personal recommendations.
That said, I do know that there is a commercially made non-dairy sweetened condensed coconut milk made my “Let’s Do Organic”. It might be hard to find but it theoretically should work. But again, I have never used it so I can’t tell you how the final product will turn out or taste.
Also, there are numerous non-dairy condensed milk recipes out here on the web. A quick google search for “non dairy condensed milk” comes up with recipes for coconut condensed milk, cashew condensed milk, soy condensed milk, etc. I can’t necessarily suggest one recipe or another specifically because I haven’t tested any of them.
But if you do make your own non-dairy condensed milk substitute or use the canned sweetened condensed coconut milk, please come back and let us know how it turned out!I’m very curious!
Here is a suggestion: 2 eggs, 1 c brown sugar, and 2 T flour to substitute for a can of condensed milk
I just saw this recipe using puréed bananas (I haven’t tried it though): https://www.feastingonfruit.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-magic-bars/
I’ve never had these but will try a recipe for the grandchildren who are visiting for the summer. Sounds yummy.
I have made these for over 50 years, but was taught to mix it verything together, then stir in sweetened condensed milk and some vanilla (no butter). Then press the mixture into a parchment-lined sheet pan. This version eliminates the ooey gooey overly sweetness of the condensed milk, because it’s mixed in. Try it! Also prefer using walnuts. Cut bars while still warm and store when cool wrapped in foil. Make day ahead for best flavor.
This was a bad suggestion…it ruined the recipe. I should have stuck with the original recipe. Ugh!
I grew up eating these (in the 50s, in New England, where they were also called Magic Bars, at least by my mom. She used walnuts instead of pecans, though. So I suspect they are not a pure Midwestern treat as much as a pure American treat brought to us by the brave new world of advertising and convenience foods, and the longstanding tradition of church potlucks. But I still love them!
Hi Janice, I also grew up in New England, but in the 70s, and we also called them Magic Bars. My neighbor first made them, then my mom, and we usually had them at Christmas time. My mom would have them with her morning coffee if there were any leftover. They are so magical!
In my family’s recipe, we mix the graham cracker crumbs with the coconut for the crust, omit the butterscotch chips, and drizzle the SCM over the whole thing instead of making it a layer – though I want to try that to see how it comes out. They are a summer cookout treat, I actually can’t imagine eating them in winter even though there’s not necessarily anything seasonal about them!
Instead of the chocolate and butterscotch chips, I use a 6 ounce bag of dried apricots, chopped up into teeny, tiny pieces and a 6 ounce bag of white chocolate chips. These don’t last long in the office, no matter how I make them!
We are from the midwest also, but I have never used butterscotch chips. BeEnjoy making these for 40 yrs, husband’s favorite.
Can the condensed milk be substituted for something non-dairy?
I’ve only made them with condensed milk but there are numerous recipes out there for making non-dairy condensed milk substitutes. Just google “non dairy substitute for condensed sweetened milk” and find one suitable for your dietary needs. If you do make them with a non-dairy substitute, please report back! I’d love to hear your feedback.
I tried using this egg substitute: 2 eggs, 1 c brown sugar, and 2 tblspn flour. I tried it because I love these bar cookies but wanted something less aggressively sugary. I loved it. It has a thick texture like condensed milk and added the right amount of sweetness for my taste.
Such a great idea to post this — we forget about the oldies but goodies after a while.
These are so good — put out a plate of these and a plate of almost any other cookie and these will disappear first!
These are a great recipe for making with kids, because it’s foolproof, quick, and easy.
Among the many random ingredients that may be added are marshmallows, for the s’mores lovers or broken pretzels for the salt lovers.
What is the best way to store them? If I make them the night before for an event, will they still be as good the next day? Thanks! These look fantastic! I love condensed milk!
They store best in the fridge, in an airtight container. I would layer the bars between parchment or wax paper. You can serve them cold (they are more chewy) or you can bring the to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter for an hour ahead of serving. But you can keep them at room temperature too if you want. They definitely will be good the next day! Some actually like them after a day or two of sitting around.
These were what we left out for Santa when I was a little kid. My mom puts in whatever random baking odds and ends she has laying around. They’re great with pecans, with or without coconut, and I love them with Heath toffee bits.
We called them Magic Cookie Bars – my mom made them with walnuts and I hated them only because of that. I’ll try it with a different nut, thanks for reminding me of them!
My grandma always made these. They were a staple at every family function! And I can’t eat these without thinking of her with her powder soft wrinkles, old lady heels, and pink peppermint laden purse. Think I may have to go home and make some and restart the tradition.