Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Magic Bars!

I've been thinking lately that I'd wait to post here until something really inspires me. I guess life has been a little busy, or just not food-fascinating.  I did make Barefoot Contessa's Cheddar Corn Chowder last week, ohhh YUM, do try's delicious!  But not mine.

I like to post what I've made 'my own' in some way.

I'm a happy Pinterest user (Ann_h) and a couple of times recently I've seen a cookie bar combo that was just made for tweaking.  It's kind of like Magic Cookie Bars...or Hello Dollys...or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods.

BUT I wanted to make them better.  Better for fall, better because of candy, better for caramel and saltiness and I just kept thinking of things to add....

So here's my version.  Very fall-ish and made just in time for a chili party at work tomorrow.

Let's call 'em Fall Magic Bars.  If you think of a better name...please let me know...

Start with 1 stick of butter, in a glass or ceramic 9x13 dish.  I used my favorite old oval corningware because the next step is to microwave-melt it.  You can, of course, use a metal pan but if so, please melt the butter another way.

Microwave the butter - 1 minute should do it.  Sprinkle the evenly layer of butter with 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs.  Buying them already crushed is easy, but it's almost as easy (and a lot more fun) to throw a few in a ziploc bag and beat them with a rolling pin.

Pour 1/2 of 1 can of Eagle Brand Milk over this layer.  It doesn't have to be perfect - if you pour in skinny little lines you can make it it fairly even.

This is where the recipe diverges from the traditional.  The next layer is pretzels - break them up a bit and use enough (at least 1 cup - I really don't know, I just kept pulling them out of the bag) to cover the graham cracker layer.  Leave them chunky, but not whole.

Now the (even more) fun begins.  Sprinkle with 1 cup milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips.

AND - my new favorite thing: Caramel Bits.

They are little pea-size caramels that melt like a dream - no more unwrapping caramels or using too-thin caramel sauce!  Use about 1 cup of Caramel Bits. And eat a few.

If you like coconut, now's the time for a coconut layer, 1 cup.

And pour on the other 1/2 of the can of Eagle Brand Milk.

Sprinkle lightly with a few more broken pretzels for crunch, and 1 cup fall-color M&Ms!  It's so pretty, it looks like a pile of leaves in candy form.  M&Ms go on after the Eagle Brand Milk because they will lose their color if you don't.

Some chopped pecans are really nice to sprinkle on at the end, too.  Or anywhere in the middle.  I know this because I made a second batch, which is already partly gone.

Now, very gently, press down all over the top.  Don't crush the M&Ms, you just want it all to associate with the EBMilk layers so that it will hold together.

And bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting...if you can wait.  T cannot wait, he refuses to wait more than 1 minute after anything sweet leaves the oven.  He had his big glass of cold milk in one hand as I opened the oven door this time.

Of course, this is another of those recipes that YOU can easily make your own, too.  Have fun with it!

I think I need to get some candy corn for next time.  Or maybe some of those teeny Reese's cups...

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