Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pimped Out Magic Cookie Bars

I am so embarrassed to say this, but I'm actually going to my first ever MLS soccer game tonight. 

If you know a certain member of my immediate family, you'll know why I'm glowing red from this admission. I guess it is something you take for granted when you can probably go whenever you'd like. It's kind of like living by the Golden Gate Bridge for example. You know it's there and what the fuss is all about, but you've never walked up to or across it in the 100 years you lived 10 minutes from it.  

Regardless, I'm super excited. We'll also be seeing a very dear friend of ours at the game. His family live just over 3,300 miles from us, so our visits are far and few, but when they do happen, it's like time stood still and we pick up where we left off.

I absolutely ADORE their kids, but they won't be there. It's too bad really, because I love to spoil them with treats. I made these magic bars quite a while back and they went mad for them. Naturally, I'm making them again. Why fix something if it ain't broken? Am I right or am I fabulously right?

After all, what better way to tell someone you care about them than with sugar. And lots of it. Isn't that what are honorary Aunties are for? To love them, sugar them up, and laugh while the parents deal with them?

I'm sure their Mom & Dad will just love me in the morning.

Recipe adapted and modified from Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1¾ cups shortbread cookies, finely crushed
¾ cups butter, melted
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup plain M&Ms 
½ cup chopped candy bars - I used Butterfingers as I like the toffee effect it yields once melted, but you can use any candy bar of your choice
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1 cup toasted coconut, finely ground 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper. 

To toast coconut:

Spread sweetened shredded or flaked coconut on a baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. If toasting sweetened coconut, check and stir more frequently because the added sugar causes irregular browning. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter and mix until incorporated. Press into prepared baking dish.

Pour sweetened condensed milk over top of cookie base, ensuring you cover entire bottom.

Begin layering components. I stated with the walnuts and ended with the M&Ms. Using a fork or the palm of your hand (which I did), apply pressure to smush the ingredients and allow sweetened condensed milk to ooze through all the nooks and crannies.

Bake for 25 minutes. When there is 10 minutes left on the timer, add toasted coconut to top. This will prevent coconut from baking any longer and will give bars a nice nutty flavor with added crunch.  

Remove dish from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting. 

Yields: 24 servings