Pumpkin Magic Bars



This weekend, a friend from college and I were going to go apple picking. Then we were going to make awesome apple-filled desserts. Then it rained.

So, instead, we “picked” apples from A&P, as well as some other goodies, and decided to try a recipe she had found on Baker’s Royale for pumpkin magic bars.  Now, I’m all about magic bars.  I’ve posted them before here, and the addition of pumpkin was brilliant in my opinion. However, baking is always an adventure, and there are definitely some modifications I would make to this one if I were to try it again.

But first, let’s go through what we actually did.

Melt the butter and mix it with the graham cracker crumbs, pressing it into the bottom of a 9×13 pan lined with aluminum foil.




Combine the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl. Pour over the crust.



Peel and core the apples, and then use the large side of a grating box to shred them.  Add them on top of the pumpkin layer.


Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, the chopped almonds, and the coconut.




Bake at 350°F for about 35 to 45 minutes. The coconut on the top should be browned.  Allow to cool completely in the pan, then chill in the fridge before slicing.


Now, full disclosure, we didn’t chill it before slicing it, which could have been the culprit in why we ended up with more of a magic bar crumble than anything that could actually be a bar.  And, really, there is no problem with serving this particular dessert in a bowl with a spoon and just digging in.


But, over dinner, we discussed some changes that could be made, probably to the benefit of the recipe.

First, use an 8×8 pan.  The bars were to thin. You would probably have to cook them on the longer side for this, but that’s fine.

Second, drizzle the pumpkin/condensed milk mixture over the top of the bars rather than over the graham cracker layer.  This would better seal in the coconut and toppings and probably help with the structure.

Third, the apples really had no place in this.  You could leave them out and have a better result.

Now, I’ll post the recipe as I baked it, so you know what you’re getting (magic bar crumble, in case you forgot), but feel free to try the modifications and let me know in the comments how it went!


Pumpkin Magic Bars


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 apples, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup salted almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Melt the butter and combine it with the graham cracker crumbs.  Press them into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl. Pour over graham cracker crust.
  3. Sprinkle the shredded apples over the pumpkin layer.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, almonds, and coconut on top.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely in pan, chill in fridge, and slice into bars.

Magic Bars



I had a really hard time deciding what to bake this weekend.  I was home in Massachusetts with my parents, who are currently in the the process of selling the house I grew up in, and when I have the whole kitchen at my disposal I always feel like I need to make something extra special.  Also, when I bake at their house, I know that I won’t have to bring the treats home with me, so there is little danger that I will eat them all.  This also makes me want to bake more extravagant things.

However, at the same time, I was running into the problem of not wanting to spend my whole weekend baking when I only see my parents once every couple of months.  So I finally settled on something that is both extravagant and fast: Magic Bars.

For those of you reading from my Yale past, these are the same magic bars they served in the dining hall – you know, the ones that people would horde in napkins to smuggle back to their rooms and save for late night studying.  They’re also called seven layer bars due to the seven different layers of deliciousness that go into them.

First step, melt the butter.  I need to find a butter cup like the one my mom has – it’s my favorite way to melt butter. (I’m sure not many people have a favorite way to melt butter, now that I think about it.)



Then, mix the butter with the graham cracker crumbs in a bowl with a fork.  If you’re lazy like me, you can use the pre-crushed graham crackers.



Press the graham cracker into the bottom of a greased 13×9 inch pan.  You probably don’t actually have to grease the pan with the amount of butter that goes in, but better safe than stuck in the pan forever.


Next, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the crust.


Then sprinkle the butterscotch chips on next.  You can substitute peanut butter chips here and end up with an equally delicious result.


Then, sprinkle the coconut on top of the chips.  Remember to always pack coconut when you’re measuring it.  At least, that’s what I do since my mom is a coconut addict.


Then, add the chopped nuts.  I used walnuts, but you could also use pecans or some combination of nuts if you like that better.


Finally, drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over you other layers to cement it all together.



Now, those of you that are counting layers are having a moment of panic.  Wait! Meg! You said SEVEN layer bars!  I only count six!  That, my friends, is because you are forgetting the butter.



When you use a whole stick of butter and it doesn’t totally fit in the butter cup, that warrants being considered a layer of its own.

Anyways, bake the bars at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until milk is bubbling and edges are slightly browned.


Allow to cool in the pan completely before cutting into bars.



Magic bars can be stored covered at room temperature.  If you want to try something a little different, though, I did discover in college that if you keep them in the fridge they turn into a really awesome texture as well.  Definitely worth a try.



Magic Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs with a fork.
  2. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased 13×9 inch pan.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of crust.
  4. Sprinkle butterscotch chips evenly on top.
  5. Sprinkle coconut for the next layer.
  6. Add the chopped nuts.
  7. Drizzle condensed milk over the top of the layers.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned.
  9. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.