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Foodie Friday: Magic Cookie Bars




Happy Friday, dear reader. Here in Western Pennsylvania, we are experiencing our first ice storm of the season. Looking out the large picture window onto the fields, pasture and pond, the wind is whipping the trees that are slowly being encased in sparkling crystals. Don’t let the beauty fool you; it’s miserable out there. I hope you are safe and warm in whatever part of the country you reside.


These wintery days bring back memories of my childhood. We would listen to the local AM radio station awaiting the announcement that school was closed for the day. There was always a small celebration when it was canceled. During the Christmas season, we would make Christmas cookies on snow days. Today, I will perpetuate that tradition with my bean. The Bean and I have been baking cookies together since she could stand on her own. I have pages of photos of her covered in flour, sneaking bites of cookie dough, rolling out cookie dough with my Grandma Haney’s rolling pin, and placing cookies on a special plate for Santa to enjoy. My little buddy makes everything fun, and cookie baking is no exception.


One of my favorite cookies when I was a kid, was a simple bar cookie called Magic Bars. I believe my mom originally found this recipe on the back of an Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk can. These sweet cookie bars were a holiday staple and an absolute favorite. My dad’s best friend, Lawrence Kunkle, loved these cookies, and I remember my mom making him an entire batch of his own. She would place them in a container and scold anyone who even looked at them, telling us, “Those aren’t for you. Those are for Lawrence. Don’t touch them.” The Kunkle family would come to visit, and often Lawrence would eat the entire batch while sitting and drinking tea and visiting. These visits were always filled with laughter and fun. The Kunkle family consisted of five kids, and every visit was like a party.


Although Lawrence passed away when we were children, to this day, I think of him when I make or eat a Magic Bar. I’m sure there was a party in heaven when he and my dad were reunited. Although my bean never had the honor of meeting either of these great men, when we make Magic Bars together, I always share the stories of Lawrence Kunkle and the Kunkle kids and our adventures.


Today, The Bean and I will make Magic Bars, and I will reminisce about my childhood, the good people who made an impact, and the fun we had. It will be a good day. Let the winds whip, the rainfall, and the ice freeze. These are some of my favorite days. I hope when she is grown; my bean remembers making cookies with me and the stories I share with her about the people who enriched my life. Following is the recipe for Magic Bars. I hope you enjoy them and they bring back or create happy memories for you and the special people in your life.


Magic Cookie Bars


Ingredients:


½ Cup Butter

1 ½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

14 Ounce Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 1/2 Cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut

1 Cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees/ 325 degrees if using a glass baking dish

Melt the butter in the 9x13 baking dish placed in the preheated oven

Add the graham cracker crumbs to the butter, mix, and press firmly into the baking dish

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker crumbs

Top with coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts

Press gently

Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown

Cool completely and cut into bars

Loosely cover and store leftovers

These also freeze well.


On this wintery day, stay safe, be smart, create memories, remember the good times and the good people who have gone before you, eat well, and keep washing your hands.

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