Magic Bars

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These Magic Bars are dressed up for Spring with pastel M&M’s, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year. Change out the colored candies to match a festive occasion or holiday! These bars start with a thick graham cracker crust and are loaded with chocolate chips, M&M’s, and oats. Sweetened condensed milk makes the “magic” happen by holding everything together and making these bars ultra gooey, sweet, and tasty!

Try our other variations on Magic Bars next time — these 7 Layer Bars or these 7 Layer Pumpkin Bars.

Magic Bars cut into squares

Magic Bars

These Spring Confetti Bars are consistently one of the most-made and loved recipes every year as springtime rolls around. So, it’s about time we add another holiday dessert bar! And while these bars certainly aren’t limited to Easter or springtime, they do make for a beautiful festive treat.

And BTW, Magic Bars are even easier to make than Confetti Bars — they come together ridiculously quickly!

Before we get too far, by way of a disclaimer, Magic Bars are incredibly rich and very sweet. If you don’t love super-sweet desserts, I’d recommend this Carrot Cake instead for a springtime treat.

Process shots: making the Magic Bars crust

Graham cracker crust

This is my favorite graham cracker crust. It’s sweet, buttery, and comes out perfect every time! Here are a few tips:

  • Measure the crumbs. While it’s easiest to just count graham cracker sheets to throw in the blender, there can be a good amount of variation from cracker to cracker and brand to brand. For a fool-proof crust, measure the crumbs instead of counting out graham cracker sheets.
  • Blend crumbs thoroughly. To be sure there aren’t large chunks of graham cracker in the crust (which will affect how nicely you can cut the Magic Bars), thoroughly blend the graham crackers until they are in fine crumbs. Add any large chunks back into the blender to fully blend into fine crumbs. Depending on the type of blender you have, you may want to blend crackers in batches.
  • Press down firmly. I like to use the bottom of a one-cup measuring cup to compress the crust and press it into a nice even layer. The tighter and more compact the crust, the better the bars cut.
  • Add salt. It may sound odd, but the salt in the crust helps cut through and balance the sweetness in these bars. While you can decrease the amount, I don’t recommend leaving it out entirely.

Magic Bars process shots: adding the layers to the pan: first oats, then chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and finally m&ms Magic Bars Toppings

After the crust, here’s what we add on top and a few notes about the ingredients:

  • Quick oats. So we can call these bars healthy of course! 😉 While you can use old-fashioned oats, we do like quick oats best in these bars — they soften better and are less over-powering than old-fashioned. Don’t use steel-cut oats.
  • Milk chocolate chips. We love the richness and sweetness of milk chocolate, but truly any type of chocolate works here. If you like dark chocolate best, use dark chocolate. If you want to cut down on sweetness, use semi-sweet chocolate.
  • Butterscotch and white chocolate chips. We love a combo of both of these chips, but you can use just one type of chocolate chip instead (1 cup butterscotch or 1 cup white chocolate instead of 1/2 cup of each).
  • M&M’s®. Any color of M&M’s work, but for a spring-focused treat, go with Easter or pastel colors. I don’t recommend large ones– peanut, peanut butter, or some of the special flavors– because they don’t hold in the bars as nicely.
  • Sweetened condensed milk. This is the “magic” ingredient that holds everything together and makes these bars gooey and sweet. See “quick tip” below.

QUICK TIP

It’s easy to pick evaporated milk or a similar product by mistake, but only sweetened condensed milk works in this Magic Bars recipe. Be sure to get the full-fat variety and avoid sugar-free cans. I personally use and love Eagle Brand’s® (not sponsored) sweetened condensed milk.

Magic Bars in the pan and cut into squares

Magic Bar Tips

  • Line the pan with parchment paper. These bars are nearly impossible to remove without first lining the pan. Don’t line the pan with foil or wax paper for this recipe. Leave an overhang of parchment paper to easily remove the bars and cut into them on a cutting board.
  • These bars are gooey and sticky! I recommend waiting for them to cool completely before cutting into them.
  • If the bars are too soft/gooey to cut into, cover them and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm enough to cut into.
  • Use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut.

Magic Bar on a plate

Magic Bar Storage

Store any leftover cookie bars in an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment or wax paper. Store in the fridge if the temperature is warm where you’re at or on the counter for cooler temperatures. There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and more firm, store them in the fridge.

These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days.

We haven’t personally tried freezing and thawing these bars (there have never been leftovers!), but here’s an article to read for tips on freezing/thawing baked goods.

    Image of the dessert cut into squares ready to be eaten

    Magic Cookie Bars FAQs

    1Do you have to refrigerate Magic Cookie Bars?

    Store in the fridge if the temperature is warm where you’re at, or on the counter for cooler temperatures. There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and firmer, store them in the fridge.

     

    2What do you use sweetened condensed milk for?

    Beyond these amazing Magic Cookie Bars, here are some other recipes to use sweetened condensed milk in:

    3How do you cut Magic Cookie Bars?

    • These bars are gooey and sticky! I recommend waiting for them to cool completely before cutting into them.
    • If the bars are too soft/gooey to cut into, cover them and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm enough to cut into.
    • Use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut.

    4How long do Magic Cookie Bars keep?

    These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days.

    We haven’t personally tried freezing and thawing these bars (there have never been leftovers!), but here’s an article to read for tips on freezing/thawing baked goods.

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    Magic Bars

    These Magic Bars are dressed up for spring with pastel M&M's, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year. Change out the candy colors to match a festive occasion or holiday! These bars start with a thick graham cracker crust and are loaded with chocolate chips, M&M's, and oats. Sweetened condensed milk makes the "magic" happen by holding everything together and making these bars ultra gooey, sweet, and tasty!
    Print Recipe

    Magic Bars

    These Magic Bars are dressed up for spring with pastel M&M's, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year. Change out the candy colors to match a festive occasion or holiday! These bars start with a thick graham cracker crust and are loaded with chocolate chips, M&M's, and oats. Sweetened condensed milk makes the "magic" happen by holding everything together and making these bars ultra gooey, sweet, and tasty!
    Course Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine American
    Keyword Magic Bars
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Setting Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
    Servings 24 bars
    Calories 262kcal
    Cost $8.46

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup (12 tbsp; 170g) unsalted butter, melted
    • 2-1/2 cups (288g) graham cracker crumbs (measure when crushed into crumbs; about 20 crackers)
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
    • 1 can (14 oz.; 396g) full-fat sweetened condensed milk Note 3
    • 1/2 cup (48g) quick oats
    • 2 cups (325g) milk chocolate chips Note 1
    • 1/2 cup (90g) butterscotch chips (or more white chocolate chips instead)
    • 1/2 cup (90g) white chocolate chips (or more butterscotch chips instead)
    • 1 cup (215g) M&M's Note 2

    Instructions

    • PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176C). Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy bar removal. Don't line the pan with wax paper or foil. Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool back to room temperature -- using hot butter makes the crust greasy.
    • GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: Coarsely break up graham crackers and add to a powerful blender (you may need to do this in batches). Pulse/blend until all crackers are fine crumbs. Measure a level 2 and 1/2 cups (288g) of the crumbs and add to a large bowl, along with the salt. Stir in the melted, but cooled, butter and mix to create a thick mixture. Press this mixture into the prepared pan and use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to firmly press the crust into an even layer.
    • TOPPINGS: Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker crust. Spread it into an even layer with the back of a spoon. Evenly top the condensed milk with quick oats, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and finally the M&M's. Gently press everything into an even layer.
    • BAKE: Bake in preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, about 23-28 minutes. My oven is done right at 25 minutes.
    • LET COOL AND ENJOY: Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely-- about 1-2 hours. Speed up the cooling process by putting them in the fridge after they've cooled for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Use the overhang of parchment paper to remove the bars and use a sharp knife to make decisive cuts in the bars. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut.
    • STORAGE: Store any leftover cookie bars in an airtight container separated by layers of parchment or wax paper. Store in the fridge if the temperature is warm where you're at or on the counter for cooler temperatures. (There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and more firm, store them in the fridge.) These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days.

    Video

    Recipe Notes

    Note 1: We love the richness and sweetness of milk chocolate, but any type of chocolate works here. If you like dark chocolate best, use dark chocolate. If you want to cut down on sweetness, use semi-sweet chocolate.
    Note 2: Any color M&M's work, but for a spring-focused treat, use Easter or pastel colors. I don't recommend peanut, peanut butter, or larger M&M's because they don't hold in the bars as nicely.
    Note 3: It’s easy to pick evaporated milk or a similar product by mistake, but only sweetened condensed milk works in this recipe. Be sure to get the full-fat variety and avoid sugar-free cans. I personally use and love Eagle Brand® (not sponsored).

    Nutrition Facts

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 257IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg

    We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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    5 Comments

    1. will be making this soon can i use vegan butter as butter and ghee makes me vomit i never had magic bars before sorry for early comment as am in Singapore will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

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