1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) graham cracker crumbs (or crushed Digestive Biscuits)
1 1/3 cups (90 grams) sweetened or unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (100 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans
1 - 14 ounce can (396 grams) sweetened condensed milk
Magic Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan.
Melt the butter and pour it evenly over the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter. Sprinkle the coconut over the crumbs. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the coconut. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate chips. Finally, evenly drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over all the ingredients. Do not mix the ingredients together, just layer them.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the squares comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator. These bars can be frozen.
Makes about 16 - 2 inch squares.
Magic Bars, also known as Hello Dollys, live up to the adage that bar cookies are the easiest of all the cookies to make. This recipe, or maybe we shouldn't even call it a recipe as it is so little work, is just about layering and baking six ingredients; melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, flaked or shredded coconut, chocolate chips, chopped walnuts (or pecans), and a can of sweetened condensed milk (in that order). I guess the "magic" comes in the fact that six layers of ingredients, with no mixing, can almost "magically" turn into a cohesive bar. While I must admit they are not much to look at, they are deliciously sweet and gooey with wonderfully crisp edges. Magic Bars seem to get even better tasting after a day or two in the refrigerator. This is a great recipe to add to your Christmas baking repertoire or to keep them in mind for the next time you need to make something for a bake sale or potluck supper.
Sweetened condensed milk is what binds all the dry ingredients together in these Magic Bars. It is made from a mixture of whole milk and sugar that has had about 60 percent of its water removed. Its consistency is thick and sticky (like honey) and it is very sweet tasting. It is most often used in baked goods and it takes on a lovely caramel flavor and color when baked. To give you a small bit of history, condensed milk was the result of Gail Borden's (1801-1874) determination to invent a milk that could be stored and distributed over long distances. At the time of its invention (1856) milk was not pasteurized so it was difficult to keep it fresh and free of germs. After Borden received a patent on his invention he starting producing condensed milk, but it wasn't until it became standard issue for the troops during the Civil War that it really gained popularity.
Finally, these Magic Bars contain six layers, but you can magically turn them into Seven Layer Magic Bars, just by adding one cup (170 grams) of butterscotch chips to the recipe. Layer the butterscotch chips after the chocolate chips.