I first encountered Magic Squares in college. Sweet, chewy, and ooey-gooey, they were just the perfect fuel for late night study sessions. I've added crushed potato chips, pretzels, and chopped peanuts to make Kitchen Sink Bars, but it was the Head Spy herself, the fabulous Jessie Oleson, who opened my eyes to the possibilities of a Magic Bar Pie.
As Jessie said in her new book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, "Magic Cookie Bars are, as their name might imply, no ordinary treat. Starting with layer upon layer of unrelentingly rich, buttery graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut, chocolate and butterscotch chips, and nuts, they get even better when they’re smothered in rich sweetened condensed milk. With all that awesome, some might argue that a small serving is best. But I disagree, and to prove it, I’ve created those magical bars in pie form, which is naturally best served in thick, fat wedges. You’re welcome."
CakeSpy's recipe includes brilliant addition of peanut butter in place of plain chopped nuts which ups the saltiness factor. As much as I love sweet treats, I tend to knock my magic bars down just a bit. Here I substituted unsweetened coconut for sweetened toasted coconut, upped the amount of chocolate chips and took down the amount of butterscotch chips. The result was ab-so-freaking-lute-ly delicious.
For the crust: 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided 13/4 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
For the filling: 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky 1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup butterscotch chips One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan pan over low heat; add 1 cup coconut and graham cracker crumbs and stir until the mixture is well combined. Let this mixture cool until it is still warm but not too hot to handle; using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake it for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. If the crust slumps at all, just wait until it is not too hot to touch, then pat it back into place with your fingers. Let the crust cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
Place the peanut butter in teaspoon-size dollops, evenly distributed on top of the crust (think polka-dot pattern).
Scatter the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips on top of the peanutbuttered crust.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a slow, steady stream over the filling, then gently shake the pan to make sure the liquid has settled evenly. Scatter remaining coconut on top.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
You can get this and 59 other amazing CakeSpy recipes in CakeSpy's book wherever books are sold. And thanks to Jessie's publisher, Sasquatch Books we have a copy of the book to giveaway.
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