The Original Magic Bar

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When I was a kid, my mom tried to make things that made my sister and I feel like all of the other kids (we were Italian and, although my mom was pretty cool [she even bought us TV dinners to try!] everyone knew we were Italian.  When all the other kids had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we would have a huge panini filled with thinly sliced homemade sopressata, sliced Italian cheese, melanzana [homemade pickled eggplant) and some hot peppers.  Today, we would be a hero to our friends who would look at a sandwich like that with envy.  But, 45 years ago, we were made fun of because of all the funny stuff in our buns.

Well, my mom would have none of that, so she quickly learned how to make “Canadian” things.  Most of them were really American but they almost always included lots of sugar, so we weren’t about to tell her any differently.

These cookie bars were in her repertoire.  In the 60’s, they were called Hello Dollies and they were always made exactly the same way…the way the original recipe said they should be made – graham crumbs, coconut, pecans, chocolate chips and Eagle Brand condensed milk.

Never, ever, did you change it.


Well, we all know better now and people are so much more “adventurous” when it comes to baking.

So, try this today.  It literally take 6-7 minutes to throw together.

And who doesn’t have 7 minutes to spare?  Ya, ya…you could do 50 sit-ups or something but this will get ya more friends!




2 c graham cracker crumbs (if you want to make these now but don’t have graham crumbs, see #2  for another option)

1/2 c butter, melted

3 cups topping (choose from things like peanut butter chips, Skor pieces, nuts, coconut, white chocolate, broken candy bars, marshmallows, granola, etc)

1 c chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk


1.  Line a 9 X 13″ pan with parchment if you have it (if you don’t just spray the pan with cooking spray);  pre-heat the oven to 350.




2.  If you don’t have graham crumbs, just grab whatever cookies you have (even crunchy cereal will work and put it in your food processor; pulse until you have about 2 c of crumbs.  If you’re using graham crumbs, put them in a bowl.




3.  With the crumbs in the food processor, add the melted butter and pulse until crumbly (if you’re using a bowl, just drizzle the melted butter in and stir to combine).




4.  Pat the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.




5.  Top with your choice of topping, layering as you go; I used 1 c coconut, 1 c toasted walnuts and 1 c Skor pieces.




6.  Now take your condensed milk (you can use whatever brand you like but I like Eagle Brand probably because it makes me feel like a kid…it’s the kind my mom used!!) and drizzle it evenly over the top of the pan with all the toppings.




…it should look like this!




7.  Now top with the 1 c chocolate chips (I threw in another handful of Skor pieces just because I was being sassy…it’s pretty forgiving!)

8.  Place pan in oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until browned around the edges.

My favourite is to eat them warm…’cause, you know, if you eat it warm, you don’t have to chew them as much and if you don’t have to chew them as much, the calories count is reduced drastically…like to 5 or something.

And, the cocoa bean grows on a tree before it becomes chocolate so it’s kinda a vegetable or something.

I’m trying…I’m really trying…