Magic Cookie Bars Recipe

4.62 from 13 votes

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This Magic Cookie Bars Recipe makes for a great go-to treat when you are looking for a fast and simple dessert to put together. Warning: Do not expect leftovers from this one!

A coconut dessert bar

What are these?

We came across this magical dessert recipe from the New York Times Cooking section, one of our many sources of awesome food ideas.  When I first saw the recipe my taste buds jumped into full gear for their obvious appeal and my heartstrings tugged just a bit because of their similarity to my late mother-in-laws’s legendary Boat Bars Recipe which we featured a while back here on Platter Talk. This is a sweet and gooey addictive dessert that is sure to become a part of your permanent dessert routine.

A dish of dessert bars

What you need to make them

  • Graham crackers
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Egg
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Bittersweet chocolate
  • Pecans
  • Unsweetened coconut

Magic cookie bar with mild on table

As with most recipes, some of these ingredients are optional. Like the my mother-in-law’s Boat Bars Recipe, you can omit the nuts in this  magic cookie  bars recipe. Don’t care for coconut (which I just don’t understand), leave it out. You get the point.

The critical parts of this recipe are naturally the ingredients that make up its base: Graham crackers, brown sugar, egg, and baking powder (which acts as a leavening agent and helps hold the whole thing together).

Ever wondered what the difference is between baking soda and baking powder?

For the toppings, make it your own! Caramel chips, Nutella, oatmeal, and… You get the point.

A bunch of dessert bars with a glass of milk

When to make these

  • Church functions
  • School activities
  • Family reunions
  • Work treats
  • Baby or bridal showers
  • Bake sales

Take a look at the short video below to see just how simple this magic cookie bars recipe is to make. Then, crank up the oven and get your magic on!  -Dan

Other delicious bars

Magic Cookie Bars Recipe

4.62 from 13 votes
This classic dessert bar has many names: Hello Dolly Bars, Coconut Dream Bars, and Magic Cookie Bars No matter what you call them, they are an irresistible treat that you are certain to love.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 24 servings


for the crust

for the topping

  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13" baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 sides.
  • Use a food processor to finely grind the graham crackers. Add the brown sugar, baking powder and salt and process until well combined. Next, add the butter and egg while processing. Pulse process until mixture is moist throughout and large clumps are formed.
  • Pour the graham cracker mixture into prepared baking pan. Gently pat down, using the palms of your hands, until evenly distributed. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the baked crust and then spread evenly, using the back of a spoon. Next,  sprinkle half of the chocolate on top of the condensed milk, followed by half of the chopped pecans. Be sure to evenly distribute each. Next, evenly distribute the coconut flakes over the chocolate and pecan layer. Finally, evenly sprinkle remaining half of chocolate and pecans over the coconut layer.
  • Bake in oven for about 25 minutes until evenly browned on top. Allow to cool on wire wrack for at least ten minutes, in pan. Then, use overhang of parchment paper to lift bars out of the pan and transfer to cutting board to slice and serve.



Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 179mg, Potassium: 231mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 150IU, Vitamin C: 0.6mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    This yummy recipe has my mouth watering with delight! I love making dessert bar recipes around the holidays, and this one’s a keeper!

  2. 5 stars
    Great bar cookies. They are magical because you see them and all at once you don’t. Hocus Pocus and somehow they’re gone. Well, just looking at the ingredients I can see why they wouldn’t last long. Super yummy at Christmas and any time of year.