Magic Cookie Bars are probably one of the most popular Holiday Cookie Bars ever baked. Layers of cookie crumbs, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut and sweetened condensed milk make these everyone’s favourite!
Magic Cookie Bars
I have been sharing Christmas Cookies for a few years now including these Magic Cookie Bars, but I decided to change it up a bit by turning this bar cookie into a tribute to my amazing family.
And here we have Hazelnut Cream Magic Bars, these are based on that icon of a Christmas Bar, better known as Magic Cookie Bars, 7 Layer Bars or even Hello Dollies.
I substituted the ingredients with four of our favourites Nutella, Peanut Butter Chips, Dark Chocolate Chips and chopped Hazelnuts. The Nutella is used as a substitution for sweetened condensed milk.
How to make Hazelnut Cream Magic Bars
- In a 6×8 inch baking dish, add the crumbs and melted butter, mix well together and press down in the pan.
- Spread with a very spreadable Nutella or your favourite hazelnut cream spread. I placed the Nutella in a bowl over a pot of boiling water to thin it out for easier spreading or you could microwave it if you prefer.
- Top with chocolate chips and then top with the chopped hazelnuts.
- Press down firmly.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
How to make Classic Magic Cookie Bars
- In a 9 inch square baking dish, add the crumbs and melted butter, mix well together and press down in the pan.
- Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and top with the chocolate chips.
- Then pour the sweetened condensed milk on top.
- Sprinkle with the coconut, and a little extra nuts and chips on top, then lightly press down.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
It’s actually easier to cut the squares if you refrigerate them for about 30-45 minutes. Use a sharp knife to make even squares.
How to store Cookie Bars
The cookies should be stored in an airtight container. It’s best to separate the bars with parchment paper. They can be kept at room temperature, as long as the room is not too hot for about two to three days.
If your house is warm then it is best to refrigerate the bars. They will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
They can also be frozen, freeze the cooled bars in a freezer safe air tight container, separated with parchment paper. They will keep for up to three months.
Different ways to make Magic Cookie Bars
The recipe I include here is more or less the way my Mom made them. After experimenting with a few different alternatives I always came back to this method.
- I prefer digestive cookie crumbs rather than graham cracker crumbs.
- I drizzle the sweetened condensed milk on top of the chocolate chips, some like to drizzle it on the cookie crumbs or even on top of the coconut.
- I like to use mini chocolate chips but that is just a personal preference.
- I use dark chocolate chips (50-60% cocoa) rather than milk chocolate.
- You could mix up the chips and use both and throw in some butterscotch too.
- Before I bake them I like to sprinkle a few extra tablespoons of chopped nuts and chips on top of the coconut, because you can never have too much chocolate!
- I use a slow oven, because I find the higher heat can brown the top too easily.
- I always place the cooled cookies in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes, it makes it easier to cut the squares.
A little Italian Baking Story
I remember our first Christmas in Italy. I wanted to share some of the wonderful traditions that I grew up with, one of which of course was holiday baking. The first cookie I chose to make was the ever popular Magic Cookie Bar.
My Mom could make this cookie in under 10 minutes. So naturally I assumed I could have it done in 15, maximum 20. No such luck, little did I know that in Italy at the time there were no graham cracker crumbs (still aren’t by the way), chocolate chips, nope non of those either!
Nuts of course, but I had to smash them myself, just like I did with the chocolate. Oh and don’t forget no sweetened condensed milk either.
I had to make that myself. At least I found the coconut flakes. So there I was putting pieces of chocolate in a double plastic bag and smashing it with a hammer, ditto the nuts and the cookies I smashed with a rolling-pin.
Of course now I can find the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, and at least now I make cookie crumbs with my food processor.
When it was time to serve these cookies, I’m telling you, there wasn’t one crumb left on the plate. To this day, my Italian friends and family rave about Magic Cookie Bars. I hope you enjoy them too!
Magic Cookie Bars (2 ways)
HAZELNUT CREAM MAGIC BARS
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (or digestive cookies)
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate mini chips
- 1/3 cup peanut butter mini chips
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
MAGIC COOKIE BARS
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs or digestive cookie crumbs
- 1/3 cup butter melted
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 -1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 -1 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup coconut flakes
- 2-3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
- Pre-heat oven to 325° (160° celsius).
HAZELNUT CREAM (NUTELLA) BARS
- In a small (6x8 inch / 16 x 20 cm) baking dish, add the cookie crumbs and melted butter, mix well together and press down in the pan.
- Spread with Nutella (I placed the Nutella in a bowl over a pot of boiling water to thin it out for easier spreading or you could use the microwave), top with chocolate chips (I mixed the two together) and top with the chopped hazelnuts.
- Press down firmly. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely then place in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes for easier slicing. Enjoy!
MAGIC COOKIE BARS
- In a 9 inch baking dish*, add the cookie crumbs and melted butter, mix well together and press down in the pan, sprinkle on top with the nuts then the chocolate chips.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk on top. Sprinkle with the coconut, and the extra nuts and chips on top, then lightly press down.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely then place in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes for easier slicing. Enjoy!
- *For easier removal of the squares you can always line the pan with parchment paper, mix the crumbs and butter in a separate bowl then evenly spread.
Updated from December 10, 2014.