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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Magic Cookie Bars

Well, my little guy is taking his sweet time getting here, but my maternity leave from work has started and I haven't had anything planned because we're so close to the due date. And having irregular contractions for days on end calls for some comfort food! So I'll sneak in another recipe or two.

Recently we had some graham crackers leftover from making s'mores up the canyon. On a whim I tried the magic cookie bar recipe on the back; I have always loved these seven layer bars, with coconut and chocolate and nuts, but haven't tried to make them myself.

I found the result of the recipe on the back of the graham cracker box to be way too sweet for me, with butterscotch chips, sweetened coconut, and sweetened, condensed milk, and I even substituted dark chocolate. Also the graham cracker and butter crust just crumbled and wouldn't hold a shape. So, as I started looking for other options, I found this one from the New York Times that set out to solve these two problems: the cloying sweetness and the flimsy crust! And it succeeds pretty well, Eli and I agree. "Tookie, pease, Mama!"


Magic Cookie Bars

Source: New York Times
Yields a 9x13 pan of deliciousness

For the crust:

6 T unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled; more for greasing the pan
20 graham crackers
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas kosher salt
1 large egg

For the topping:

1 14-oz can sweetened, condensed milk
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1 1/2 c)
1 c pecans, chopped
2 c unsweetened, flaked coconut

Heat oven to 350F. Butter (or spray) a 9x13 pan, then line with parchment paper.

Process the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Then add the sugar, baking powder, and salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. With the machine running, add the egg and melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened and clumps form.

Place the crumbs in the prepared pan. Use your fingers to separate the clumps and then press the mixture into an even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, until crust is set and dry.

Pour the milk over the crust and use a spatula to spread it out into an even layer. Sprinkle half the chocolate and half the pecans over the surface, then sprinkle all of the coconut on top. Finally add the remaining chocolate and nuts.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the toppings are golden brown. Let the bars cool in the pan, on a wire rack. To cut, pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Though less sweet than the first recipe I tried, these are still quite rich so cut them small!

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