Ultimate Magic Bars
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that our little family has recently moved, and although we didn’t move far (only about 10 minutes from where we were living previously), it kind of threw us into a different area in terms of grocery store, restaurant and pizza options. That means we’re ordering pizza from multiple locations to see which one we like the best, figuring out which places are the best for take out, and, maybe most importantly, I’m trying to orient myself with a different grocery store so that it doesn’t take me two hours to shop.
The week that we moved in, my mom was here helping us unpack and she ran out to the grocery store to pick up a few things for us. She stopped at a local bakery on her way back to get an assortment of sweets and, oh my gosh, talk about insane. I had been to the bakery before, but I forgot how amazing the desserts are. I couldn’t stop eating their chocolate caramel bar, which is a five-layer bar, which is basically a magic bar on steroids. I immediately tried to figure out how to recreate it at home.
My first attempt was a disaster, but this next one was fabulous and I think it’s pretty darn close to those insanely delicious bars. The base is a brown sugar shortbread crust, on top of which I poured a can of sweetened condensed milk, a la magic bars. I then topped the milk with chopped pecans, coconut, caramel and chocolate chips. They’re not quite as epic-looking as the ones from the bakery, but they are every bit as delicious.
The fact that I could stop at that bakery every time I go to the grocery store is totally dangerous!
What’s your favorite bakery treat?
One year ago: Salted Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies
Four years ago: Gazpacho
Five years ago: Baby Shower Sugar Cookies
Ultimate Magic Bars
For the Crust:
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups (281.25 g) all-purpose flour
For the Bars:
- 14 ounce (396.89 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups (148.5 g) coarsely chopped pecans
- 1½ cups (120 g) shredded coconut
- ¼ cup (56.5 ml) caramel sauce, microwaved for 15 seconds
- 1 cup (180 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over all sides.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour and mix until crumbly. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, then sprinkle the chopped pecans over the crust, and top with the shredded coconut. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over top, then drizzle with the melted caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and return to the oven until the edges are light brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. The bars can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I made these with evaporated milk/chopped almonds instead. It turned out perfect! also very addicting. I think next time I’ll use a 9 x 13 plan so that they aren’t as thick.
Made these and they turned out perfectly!! Did the recipe exactly as it is and turned out great!!!! The one and only thing I did was to double the recipe for friends and they loved tDanny hem. Thanks so much. I also made the Carmel sauce and it was perfect as well.
Thoughts on browned butter for these?
I think that sounds AMAZING! 🙌
Awesome! Can you think of any modifications for amounts of ingredients? I am thinking I don’t need any…just brown the butter and let cool slightly.
Also, I will email you…I want to bounce a cheesecake idea off you for my hubby’s bday planning :-)
I agree, I don’t think you need to make any modifications!
I wanted to make 7 layer bars, but didn’t have graham crackers – did a search and found your recipe – yay! I thought the crust seemed too thick for a 9×9, so I put it in a 9×13 which is what I wanted to make anyway and it was perfect! I only used 1/4 c sugar in the crust. Other than that I just used my reg 7 layer bar recipe – it works fine using 1 can sweetened condensed milk with a 9×13 believe it or not and I bake at 325 because it allows for more even browning on top – not just around the edges. I don’t like over baked nuts. Thanks for being there!
Good morning…did you toast the pecans or coconut in this prior to sprinkling on top?
Hi Carolyn, I did not, but you can definitely do so!
Left a comment, which I thought was a review on the 7 layer bars, oops!! In any event these are delicious and my specific tweak (referenced the different types of oconut I used in each individual batch). 5 Stars for sure! Quick, easy and very tasty! Thank you!
I’ve made these twice, once with organic sweetened coconut and tonight with organic desiccated unsweetened coconut (finely shredded) only because it’s what I had in the freezer left from a previous recipe. I used a Carmel Sauce made by Torani (found it in the chocolate, coffee syrup isle). Both were delicious, obviously the unsweetened coconut makes this dessert less sweet, but not by much! I also ALWAYS use pure Mexican vanilla in all that I bake. I buy it from from MexicanVanilla.com they’re the best, and no, I have no affiliation with them!!
Fabulous recipe. I made it today in a 9×13 pan. It is beautiful. I added vanilla chips for color variation..
As I was making these today, I wondered why there was no salt in the crust. Wish I had gone with my instinct and added a 1/2 teaspoon or so. I do like the idea of a shortbread crust instead of the usual graham cracker crust, but it did need a little salt. To compensate for that, I sprinkled the top of the baked bars with kosher salt just before serving. I also would use unsweetened coconut next time. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 10 X 15 pan. Worked well
In your write up you say that you poured the sweetened condensed milk on the crust, then added the toppings; but in the recipe directions, it says to add the nuts, then the coconut, and pour the condensed milk over top of that – could you please clarify the correct order?
Hi Vanna, My apologies for the confusion; you should make these as directed in the recipe.
Perfect, thanks so much! I made them as per the recipe and they’re delicious! :)
I have made this recipe so many times and it is a huge hit. I absolutely love it!
PLEASE NOTE: pan size should be 9×13. Wouldn’t it be great if comments were constructive and not just self-congratulatory back-patters who have their own blogs? Don’t leave a comment unless you have something constructive to say. Thanks.
Actually, the pan size listed in the recipe (9-inch square) is correct for the recipe as written. If you’d prefer a much thinner bar, then a larger size pan would achieve that goal. Anyone is free to comment here, but if you’re looking for feedback from those who have made the recipe or asked questions, all you need to do is click on the “reviews” or “questions” tabs at the top of the comment area. Hope that helps.
do you use sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut?
Hi Wendy, I used sweetened, but you could use either.
Can you use chocolate flavored sweetened condensed milk
Hi Renee, I have never heard of chocolate-flavored sweetened condensed milk!
The chocolate sweetened condensed milk was new last year and is called a “Special Edition”. They also have a caramel flavored one, which is pretty much like caramel ice cream topping, just a little richer.
I made these and they were delicious, but the topping was sooooo gooey. When I cut the bars into squares, the topping did not hold it’s shape at all and oozed all over the plate. I wonder if I did not bake them long enough (22 minutes, caramel was bubbling on top)??…I refrigerated them overnight. I’d love to try these again and hope they turn out a little more user-friendly :)
I made these a while back when you first published it and forgot to tell you how wonderful and easy they are. Getting ready to make again tomorrow, so I came back to review the instructions. I am going to double the recipe with a 9×13 pan and freeze some. I’ve made so many of your recipes and love every one. I can always depend on you to deliver delicious food and dependable instructions. Thank you so much.
Made these today. These are heaven. Easy recipe. Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce was perfect. The whole recipe took no time at all. Thank you for a new bar on my Christmas list.
These look unreal I’ll definitely have to try them. Thank you!
Made these yesterday, love em! I liked the caramel addition. Question, do you think the crust would do ok in a 9×13 pan? I thought the crust was just a little bit too thick for me. Txs.
Hi Kellee, I think you could, yes.
These magic bars is perfect treat for study days. Imagine that, no more suffer just joyful. No serious guys, i have to make this. Examinations are right around the corner.
I love your food blog!
What a beautiful recipe and photos. Makes me want to run to the kitchen!
Also, as far as favorite bakey recipes, many years ago I used to go to a bakery (that sadly is no longer in business) that had the most deliciously different corn muffins you can imagine. They had a taste that I was never able to recreate when “reverse engineering” the recipe as I like to say. They had some kind of sweetness to them that wasn’t just sugar or honey. It was so disappointing to me that I never could figure that out. I’ve never found a recipe like it anywhere.
I feel like it’s throwback Thursday because it’s been at least 15 years since I made magic bars! This recipe looks fantastic, so thank you!
This looks amazing! I really want to make it myself but I don’t think you can get canned caramel where I’m from (the Philippines!) is there a recipe that you would recommend to replace the canned stuff with? Thanks!
Hi Dylan, Yes! This is my favorite homemade sauce (you can omit the salt if you just want a plain caramel sauce): https://www.browneyedbaker.com/homemade-salted-caramel-sauce-recipe/
I’m glad someone else feels this way! I so feel your pain! We moved a month ago and not far from our old place but everything changes! New stores, new pizza place, a longer trek to Trader Joes on Saturday, and even new walking paths for our dogs. With that said, your magic bars look amazing!!
I make these but use a Gram Cracker crust. And Butter Scotch chips One of my Favorites recipes.But the Short Bread crust sounds even better.
These look delish! I love Bartrams :) I think you moved quite close to my mom’s house where I grew up- if so, try Aviva Brick Oven Pizza in Warrendale- especially their vodka pizza- sooo good!
They look insane. Magic Bars on speed :) And I love magic bars! Pinned!
Well now I’m insanely jealous that you live so close to what looks like an AMAZING bakery! These are going on my must-make list as I love anything with shortbread involved.
Do you think they could be made as individuals in cupcake molds?
Hi Isabel, I haven’t tried that, if you do, let me know how it works out!
These look incredibly insane!
These look so amazing :) I love shortbread — that shortbread crust on the bottom has got to be sooooo good :) And anything with sweetened condensed milk is definitely delicious!
Your timing could not be better! I was just thinking about making Magic Bars for an office birthday party – definitely going to make these – the caramel is a great addition. Thanks Michelle.
BTW – Joseph is absolutely adorable!
These look so good. I’ve never had a magic bar, due to the coconut. I really want to try these. Is there something that can replace the coconut or can it be left out without changing the bars structure? I have all the other ingredients and can’t wait!
Hi Christi, You can omit the coconut if you’d like, there just won’t be as much chewy texture.
I don’t like coconut, but I love these bars!
I love magic bars. They are the perfect picnic treat!
When I worked at a bakery in Cranberry, we used to add butterscotch chips to our Magic bars and Magic bar cupcakes. I think that made them extra special.
As for local pizza shops, I’m always looking for a good one. We love Olives & Peppers, but for quick delivery, we usually default to Adrian’s. If you find a good one, let us know!
I’m sorry, I don’t understand this bit of the instructions:
“The bars can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.”
How do you manage to keep them for 5 days?? I think I’d struggle with one… Look absolutely delicious, thank you
Daaaang it!! I don’t have time to bake today, so I guess I’ll be running to Bartram to get me some amazing treats. I love their apple strudel and caramel bars. They are my absolute favorite local bakery.
Anything with the word magic in the title is bound to be spectacular! This looks like the perfect mixture of magical ingredients! Yum!!!
I shouldn’t have looked before breakfast! No doubt I’ll be making these before sundown!
This looks amazing!
I’m curious, what do you use for the caramel sauce?
Yes, I’d be interested also. Homemade or store-bought?
TJ’s Salted Caramel would be awesome in this!
Hi Shauna, I had some store-bought that needed to be used up, so I used that. But otherwise would definitely prefer homemade!
W-O-W! These absolutely look insane as you have described. I will have to make these for an occasion where several people can enjoy (otherwise I would consume the entire batch in probably one sitting).