I was amazed the first time I made these chocolate pecan bars. You can prepare them in minutes using whatever odds and ends of chocolate and nuts you happen to have, and you don’t even need a bowl. Magic!
I tend to be a bit late to the party when it comes to Internet food sensations. I now know that these ‘magic bars’ (sometimes called no bowl bars or even 7 layer bars, even though I don’t see how they are actually 7 layers!) have been ‘a thing’ both on and off line for years.
I only heard about them recently, however, when I spotted something similar both on Pioneer Woman’s cooking show and in a local food magazine.
I think I’ve mentioned (probably more than once!) that I’ve had to learn how to do everything one-handed since my son was born, as he will very seldom let me put him down!
I think it must be a common problem for parents of infants. In fact I recently saw a billboard ad for a supermarket’s series of customer recipes. ‘Helen’s one-handed stir fry’ was splashed across the top of a picture of a smiling mother with a baby in one arm and a stir fry pan in the other.
Yes, that’s about right, I thought to myself. I must hunt down that Helen’s stir fry recipe and make it this Helen’s recipe. Sounds just perfect!
Now I must admit I didn’t have to resort to making these bars one-handed (Grandma to the rescue), but I truly believe you could do that if you wanted to.
They’re that quick and easy.
Simply pour melted butter into a square cake pan, press in Graham cracker (US!) or Digestive biscuit (UK and Oz!) crumbs, then sprinkle with cups of coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts. Finally, pour a whole can of sweetened condensed milk over the top, and bake.
No bowl necessary. No real accuracy necessary. Certainly no skill necessary. Heck, two hands not really necessary.
Half an hour later you have something deliciously sweet that’s pretty hard to describe. In fact I wasn’t sure what to make of these when I first tried them. But now I take a bite every time I go into the kitchen. Oops.
It’s got a cheesecake base topped with a sweet and chewy coconut layer that reminds me of what we used to called coconut macaroons. On top of that there’s chocolate and finally sticky, slightly crunchy pecans that makes me think of caramelised nuts, or even pecan pie.
If you bake the bars for slightly longer, say 35 minutes instead of 30, you’ll find the condensed milk has started to turn into a chewy toffee. It’s delicious, and very addictive.
Maybe you’ve been making these sorts of bars for years already, or maybe they’re totally new to you, like they were to me, but do give them a go with pecan nuts.
However busy you are, you can make these!
Really, you can. And here’s how:
Cut them into small squares and you won’t have to feel guilty having 1 (or 5!) with your mid-morning coffee.
Serves: at least 20
- most of a stick / 100 grams butter, melted
- 1 cup / 150 grams Graham cracker / Digestive biscuit crumbs (about 10 digestives - not sure how many Graham Crackers!)
- 1 cup / 60 grams dessicated coconut
- 1½ cups / 225 grams chocolate chips
- 1½ cups / 150 grams pecan nuts
- 1 (14 ounce / 400 gram) can sweetened condensed milk
- Line a 9 inch square or equivalent baking pan with non-stick baking paper and preheat the oven to 350 F / 175C.
- Pour the butter into the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle over the crumbs. Mix around a bit with a metal spoon, then press evenly into the pan.
- Sprinkle over the coconut in an even(ish) layer, then sprinkle over the chocolate chips, followed by the nuts. Finally, pour over the condensed milk.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is starting to go golden brown.
- Cool in the pan, then lift out and cut into small(ish) squares. Store in an airtight container.
These sorts of ‘magic’ bars are very versatile. The amounts don’t really need to be exact. Maybe you’ve got lots of chocolate chips but not so many nuts. No problem – why not add a few pretzels or mixed dried fruit instead?
Why not save this to your sweets or desserts board for later? 🙂
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