When I sat at my desk to write up this recipe, I began to think of how many times my mom would make these when I was younger. In fact, she still makes them now! This was my first attempt at making them and I knew I wanted to do something a little different. You see, traditionally, the condensed milk is added on top of the graham crumb layer, but I have found that leaves the based soggy, and also allows for the falling away of the other ingredients which are just piled on top. By adding the condensed milk last, I was able to create a deep golden colour, a chewy, toffee like layer of sweetness which holds all of the other toppings in place.
Now, even though my mom made these religiously, and I remember seeing the recipe on the Eagle Brand condensed milk can, I thought I’d do a little digging to learn the history of these squares. It turns out, Eagle Brand did not create the recipe. Here’s what I found:
Magic Cookie Bars go by many names. They are a baked sweet treat made of butter, graham crumbs, chocolate chips, coconut, and condensed milk. Magic Cookie Bars do have a history behind them. These magic bars were made in the 1960s. It was credited as an Eagle Brand recipe that many people loved, although it was not originally created by Eagle Brand. The first of these bars were made in 1856, by a man named, Gail Borden. He invented a stable milk product for feeding babies which needed no refrigeration. He started to sell these cookies from a cart in New York City. During the Civil War, and both World Wars, this condensed milk, known as Eagle Brand, became famous as a needed source of milk and sugar. After World War I, refrigeration was brought to America, and destroyed the purpose of condensed milk. Eagle Brand condensed milk then became a popular ingredient for making desserts.”
However you slice it, or whatever you want to call it, a Magic Cookie Bar is simply scrumptious!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups graham crumbs
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1⅓ cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 300ml can condensed sweet milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 9x9" pan by lightly greasing the sides with butter and layering parchment paper in the bottom. Set aside.
- Melt the butter on low heat - don't allow the butter to get hot. Remove from heat.
- Add the graham crumbs and stir with a spoon until the butter and crumbs have been fully incorporated.
- Lightly press the graham crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Do not press too firmly, just lightly and enough to create a solid base.
- In a bowl, gently toss together the chocolate chips, coconut flakes and pecans, and spread evenly over the graham crumb base.
- Drizzle the entire contents of the can of condensed milk over the top of the chocolate and coconut mixture. Be sure to coat the top as evenly as possible and be sure to get into the corners.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. When the condensed milk is golden brown ad starting to bubble, remove fro oven and allow to fully cool before cutting into even-sized squares.