Busy month! Time to start cranking out some holiday treats for the freezer (keeps things fresh and safely out of sight). This is one of my favorite recipes because it’s fast, festive and irresistible. (We squeezed in a batch between school concert prep and math homework.)
I’ve adapted this from the classic Magic Cookie Bars recipe – usually found on the back of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk; instead of using semisweet chocolate chips, I use red and green “M&M’s”® Brand Milk Chocolate Candies. (Nine years post-Mars, I still feel compelled to use the correct trademark protection for the brand. We took those ®s , ™ s and descriptors very seriously; the colorful little candies are a billion dollar business!)
Makes about 3 dozen squares
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (available in the baking section)
- 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
- 1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Approx. 2 cups red & green “M&M’s”® Milk Chocolate Candies (not quite a full 12.6-oz. bag; you’ll have to figure out something to do with the leftover candies . . .)
Preheat oven to 350ºF (325º for a glass dish). Put stick of butter to 13×9-inch baking pan and melt in oven while oven preheats. When butter is melted, remove pan from oven and add graham cracker crumbs; mix and press evenly into bottom of pan to form cookie base. (I do it this way to reduce the number of dirty dishes; by all means you could melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave, mix in the graham cracker crumbs, then add to the baking pan.)
Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. (Spread carefully so as not to disturb the crumbs too much.)
Layer the remaining ingredients, ending with the candies. With the bottom of a clean jar or large spoon, lightly press down on candies (so they stick to but don’t get submerged in the condensed milk mixture).
Bake 23-25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbling.
If you can resist, let cool before cutting into squares. Cookies will firm up once cooled. (I always have to “test” the edges when still hot, though, and it’s a gooey albeit delicious mess.) Store in the freezer if you want them to last more than a day (because they will disappear).