This is another recipe by "chance" that I had discovered and luckily I was able to salvage my error by putting something together quickly. I had attempted to make a homemade batch of dulce de leche for one of my cookie recipes using a can of sweetened condensed milk by boiling it for an hour and a half and totally FAILED. (Ugh). The sweetened condensed milk was supposed to caramelize and turn a darker color and my end results were not successful because it slightly darkened and it was not the thick consistency that I was looking for. I didn't want to toss a perfectly good can of dulce de leche and there was so much eating it by the spoonfuls that my stomach could handle. Luckily there was a magic bars recipe around the band of the can, and thank heavens my kitchen pantry is always stocked with goodies to make these on the fly.
Back in my college days when I used to work the coffee shop, I remember seeing these magic bars in the pastry case. I think they were called "7 layer bars" and looked sooo sweet and gooey with bits of chocolate and toasted coconut and the customers loved them. I knew it would be a great addition to my Twelve days of Christmas cookies and treats, too. In dealing with cooking disasters, you always try and find the silver lining because these magic bars were easy enough to put together and you don't want to waste ingredients - there is a recipe to make anything and everything. I didn't have enough graham crackers so I added a little bit of almond meal to give an additional nutty flavor. I also wanted to clean out the rest of my opened candies in my pantry and added some peanut butter cups and mini marshmallows for that extra pop of gooey-goodness. The end result of the magic bars were moist, chewy, crunchy and absolutely addictive. It’s a bonus that they are so simple to make - it's like the kitchen sink of cookie bars.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup almond meal or slivered almonds
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini peanut butter cups
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a sling for your 13x9 baking pan by using two sheets of foil or parchment paper. Place the sheets inside the pan and allowing room for overhang.
In a food processor, add the graham crackers and almonds and grind until fine. Add the butter and mix to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. Add a layer of chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, marshmallows, walnuts, and top with coconut.
Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the bars using the overhang and lift it from the pan. Cool in the fridge and cut into bars or diamonds. (Cutting them cold is easier on the knife, and you avoid the sticky mess!)
Day 10: Oreo Mint Truffles
Day 9: Hazelnut & Dried Cherry Biscotti
Day 8: Spritz Cookies
Day 7: S'mores Cookies
Day 6: Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies
Day 5: Gingerbread "Army Men" Cookies
Day 4: Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies
Day 3: Shortbread Almond Cookies with Guava
Day 2: Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Day 1: Cookies in a Jar