There are a lot of things I love about the holidays. The family time, the decorations, the lights, the sounds, the foods and the traditions. Baking is one of my favorite holiday traditions, creating delicious sweets and treats to share with family and friends. Out of all the baking that I do, I have one recipe that I look forward to more than all of the rest. Hello magic cookie bars!
Magic cookie bars, or Seven Layer Bars, are a long time favorite in my family. My mom used to make them for my brother and I, and they hold a special place in my holiday memories. This year I upped my magic cookie bar game by adding caramel. Caramel Magic Cookie Bars. Glorious, delicious, messy, caramel. You still get the delicious, original magic cookie bar taste, but with the additional kick of ooey, gooey, caramel. It certainly is the most wonderful time of the year!
These bars can be a
bit lot messy. But then again, most of my holiday baking is messy, the whole kitchen can become a bit of a disaster in a flurry of sweets and treats creation. But sometimes those messes are totally worth it to create delicious foods, traditions, and memories for my family. And thanks to my friends at Bounty, it’s easy to focus on the baking, decorating and spending time together, and not the mess that happens in the process. While sometimes it can seem a bit overwhelming to have a kitchen (and possibly kids) covered in flour, sugar, frosting and sprinkles, you won’t look back years from now and think about the messes. You’ll think about the memories you made together. Thank you to Bounty for sponsoring this post.
Don’t you just want to grab a fork and dig in? Here you go.
While I like to bake and decorate during the holidays, I also like to keep things simple. I want to devote my time to friends, family and festivities, not elaborate recipes or fancy entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I love a complex recipe and a beautifully set fancy table, but for us keeping things as simple as possible during the holidays helps reduce some stress and add some enjoyment. And this recipe, like many of my holiday dessert recipes, is about as simple as it gets. You don’t even have to use a mixing bowl, you just layer it all into your pan.
Magic Cookie Bar Tips
One of my holiday cleaning tips is to line your baking pans with foil. This allows you to pull your baked goods right now. Not only does this help with clean up, but if you are like me and baking a lot at once, it frees up that pan quickly and easily to be filled with another batch! To make these magic cookie bars you crush up your graham crackers (or just buy the crumbs), mix them with some butter, and create your crust, which gets pressed into the pan.
Then you start layering your ingredients which include sweetened condensed milk, coconut, chocolate chips, nuts (I went with dry roasted salted pecans to compliment the caramel) and some caramel. That’s it, this one definitely falls into the easy holiday recipes category!
I layered in half of my ingredients, then added my caramel, then finished with the remaining ingredients. And into the oven it goes. SO simple.
I will say, you might want to put off making these until the very last minute, as they are VERY hard to resist. Just trust me on that one. Serve them up to family and friends and enjoy your holiday time together. Your friend and family will love these caramel magic cookie bars!
Caramel Magic Cookie Bar Recipe
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1 cups and 1/2 graham cracker crumbs
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups chocolate chips (I prefer dark or semi-sweet but milk works as well)
- 1 cups and 1/3 flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans (dry roasted and salted or ideal walnuts also work)
- 1 14 oz pkg Kraft Caramels
- 2 TBSP cream heavy cream or even half and half will work
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray or line with foil and then coat with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour half of sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer with half of the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
- In a heavy sauce pan cook caramels and cream over medium heat until completely melted, stirring constantly. Once melted, carefully (it's hot!) pour over magic cookie bars. Follow with remaining sweetened condensed milk, coconut, chocolate chips and nuts.
- Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.
And here are some great magic cookie bar recipes made by other bakers and bloggers around the web…