Sunday, December 4, 2011

Magic Cookie Bars aka "Instant Fat"

For as long as I can remember my Mom has made lots of different cookies at Christmas time.  Growing up I had several favorites, among them Magic Cookie Bars.  They were nicknamed "instant fat" by my cousin Brian and the name stuck.  And, why not? Between the butter, sugar, nuts and coconut these are loaded with both calories and fat. But oh, they are so, so good!

I decided to try a vegan version of these treats after my friend JL posted about vegan magic cookie bars in her Food is Activism series. The ones she posted looked great. They had peanut butter in them which sounds wonderful but is a departure from the ones my Mom makes.  So I took to the web and found several vegan Magic Cookie Bar recipes prior to settling on this one by Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the Post Punk Kitchen.

I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of the brown sugar. I did not have dark brown sugar so I used light brown. The result was fantastic and I cannot wait to send this vegan (but not particularly healthy) version  of "Instant Fat" to Brooklyn for Brian to enjoy.  I think they are just as good as the original but will allow Brian the final verdict.

Magic Cookie Bars

1 14 oz can coconut milk
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (read the label- not all graham crackers are vegan)
2 tbsp organic sugar
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance Vegan Butter
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli semi sweet)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On the stovetop in a pan bring the coconut milk and brown sugar to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted Earth Balance until the Earth balance is well incorporated.

On a parchment lined 9x13 pan press the graham cracker crumbs into the pan starting in the center and working your way out to the sides.  Be sure to cover the entire bottom and press very firmly.

Pour the coconut milk mixture over the graham cracker, add a layer of chocolate chips, coconut and then nuts.  Press ingredients down with your hands ensuring the coconut milk mixture is absorbed into the upper layers.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.  Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to cool for at least four hours, preferably overnight.  Cut into bars, remove from the pan and enjoy.


  1. Oh, yum! My aunt was the genius behind the magic cookie bars with peanut butter--I'll have to share this recipe with her!

  2. I just made these and instead of using 1/2 cup earth balance, I used 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup melted earth balance. Came out delicious!

  3. Cooking with 5 Kids- I love your tweaks! Sounds a bit healthier!!