The Texture Of Things

A Recipe for the New Year

January 1st, 2008

In our family, we call them Magic Bars. Legend has it My grandma once told me that she found this recipe in a ladies magazine, clipped it, and made them for every major holiday for many years after that until “every major holiday” came to mean “Christmas.”

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mmmmmmmmmm

When she finally got too old and tired to make the hundred billion cookies that defined our Christmas Eve family gathering, the recipes were handed down to me and now I don’t really make them either. In fact, I’ve nearly lost this recipe at least three times (it’s on a beat-up, faded yellow post-it note right now), so into the intertoobs it goes.

Get thee to a 13″x9″ baking dish. Fire up your oven to 325 degrees for a glass dish or 350 for any other dish. I’ve only ever used glass, so I have no idea how they’d turn out in metal.

What you’ll need:
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 C of graham cracker crumbs
1 1/3 C (3.5 oz.) of coconut
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 C chopped walnuts
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

What you should know:
1. Do not substitute margarine for butter unless there is no butter left on earth.
2. You can buy the box of graham crumbs in the baking aisle, but graham crackers crushed to almost crumbs seem to hold up better. I don’t know why. Also, one rectangle pack roughly equals 1.5 cups.
3. Do not buy cheap coconut. Do not use last year’s leftover coconut. I buy only Baker’s.
4. If you need me to tell you which chocolate chips to buy, email me. I will tell you, but then I’ll make a disappointed face every time I think about it.
5. I have not noticed an appreciable difference between the good, name brand walnuts and the store brand walnuts. Use what you like, but run them through the handi-chopper or put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin to bring them down a notch.
6. I have only ever used name brand sweetened condensed milk, but I’m not above cutting a corner here. I can’t even remember the last time I used full fat s.c. milk. I do, however, remember setting up an experiment one year, making one of each and tasting them. No difference, really.

What you do:
Put the butter in the pan and put it in the oven to melt while the oven preheats.
Once melted, apply graham cracker crumbs evenly and pat down with back of spoon.
Spread out coconut layer. I like to think about cirrus clouds when I’m doing it.
Sprinkle chocolate chips.
Cover with walnuts.
Pour s.c. milk over whole thing.
Try to make all layers as even as possible.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and delicious.
Cool.
Eat one while they’re still molten and burn the roof of your mouth.
Cool some more.
Eat for breakfast next day. Great with coffee.

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HG claims this pan for England himself

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