Peanut Butter Pretzel Magic Bars

These bars are quite rich and decadent. Cut into 25 squares if serving at a potluck or large gathering, or into 16 squares if you're in the mood for a bigger treat.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 large bars or 25 small bars

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups (5 oz) mini pretzels, for the crumb crust, plus additional whole pretzels for topping
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (397g), divided
  • 1/4 cup (57g) smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cups (100g) peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup (100g) mini chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups (75g) unsweetened coconut flakes

Method

1 Prep pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing a couple inches to overhang down the side of the pan. Generously, coat with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Set aside. If using a glass baking dish, lower the oven temperature to 325℉.

2 Warm the peanut butter: Pour 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk into a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl small bowl, add the peanut butter and remaining condensed milk. When combined you should have about 1 1/4 cups. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Seven Layer Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels add the milk7 Layer Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels warm the peanut butter

3 Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, add 3 cups whole pretzels and process for 15 seconds until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Measure out 1 1/4 cups (120 g) pretzel crumbs and return them to the food processor bowl. (If you have extra crumbs save them to sprinkle on ice cream!)

Add the sugar and melted butter and process continuously for 20 seconds. The mixture will look like wet sand.

Pour the pretzel mixture into the prepared pan. Use a measuring cup or glass to press the mixture firmly into an even layer in the bottom of the pan.

Seven Layer Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels weigh the pretzels Magic Cookie Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels press the crust into the pan

4 Bake the crust: Bake the crust until it feels firm to the touch and is slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes.

5 Assemble the first layer: Stir the peanut butter and condensed mixture again, then pour 3/4 cup of the peanut butter mixture over the baked crust. Use a towel, or oven mitts to gently tilt the pan from corner to corner so the peanut butter mixture completely covers the crust. Top with half of the shredded coconut, half of the peanut butter chips and half of the chocolate chips.

Magic Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels add the coconut Magic Cookie Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels add the chips

6 Finish assembling: Pour remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter and condensed milk mixture over the entire layer. Top with remaining shredded coconut, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Arrange whole pretzels on top and use your hands to gently press the bars down to ensure the layers are compact. Drizzle with the reserved condensed milk.

Seven Layer Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels add the peanut butter 7 Layer Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels add the pretzels

7 Bake the bars: Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes until the edges are turning golden and the center is just starting to take on color. The center might be a little soft but the bars will firm up as it cools.

Magic Bars with Peanut Butter and Pretzels

8 Cool: Remove the bars from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 1 1/2 hours. Take out of the pan and remove foil. Continue cooling on rack for an additional 1 hour. Once bars reach room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. This will ensure that the bars slice cleanly with the least amount of crumbling. You can cut them once they’ve cooled to room temp, but the crust may crumble.

9 Serve & store: Once the bars are chilled, slice into 16 squares and serve. Store leftover magic bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 7 days or at room temperature for 5 days.