Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back to College


If you've ever eaten in the Mississippi College cafeteria, and probably many other college cafeterias, you know that the food is less than edible. Greasy vegetables, crunchy bananas, and rubbery fish top the list. Even the omelets made me feel sick; I seriously could not eat them. I think that I lived on salads and select vegetables (as many other of my classmates did!). However, in addition to a really good salad bar, the desserts were great. If you liked bread pudding or cobbler then you could probably gain a pretty good amount of weight, unless that was your meal!

Another specialty, which some people think is the best thing the cafe makes, is magic cookie bars. So, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at them. The first time I had these was at a friend's house in eighth grade. I thought they were great, but had never made them myself. The same night I pulled out the infamous frozen meal, I made these bars. I thnk that, along with a fantastic movie, took the show! My friends were very pleased. One thing I think I would recommend is using good graham crackers rather than store brand. For some reason, I don't usually use store brand, but this time I went frugal and did. Not the right choice. I thought the crust, which is usually my favorite part, was not very good. However, when put with everything else, it was all yummy to the tummy! I decided to do half and half choclate and white choclate to see which was better. BOTH were good but I think the choclate was preferred by my friends. I also used less coconut but it could have used a little more. Just use your judgement. Changes in these areas won't have any detrimental effects to the DELICIOUSNESS of this dessert! Okay, enought of that...here's the recipe!

Magic Cookie Bars
The Cookie Bible, 2004

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
1 1/3 cups Coconut
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup chopped Pecans
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (I used about 1/2 can)*

Preheat oven to 350. Crush graham crackers. This can be done in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer if you don't have or don't want to use your food processor or Oscar. I think you can even buy pre-crushed crumbs now! Mix butter and graham cracker crumbs in medium bowl. Press onto bottom of greased foil-lined (EASY CLEAN-UP!) 13X9 baking pan. Sprinkle with coconut, chocolate chunks, and nuts. Pour condensed milk over top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift out of pan onto cutting board.

Yield: 3 dozen bars (or less!)

*1/2 a can was enough but didn't totally cover every spot of the top. I wouldn't tell you NOT to use the whole can, but I know that it would be delicious either way.

17 comments:

Gail said...

I think I've had these many times but always made by someone else; don't think I've ever tried them! I don't like coconut much though so might would do less (or none) for me.
And I've eaten in the caf with the kids before, but mostly for occasions and the kids say they always cook better food when the parents are coming!

Erika said...

OMG, I love Magic Cookie Bars! Last summer I made a key lime version, using lime zest in the condensed milk and white chocolate instead of regular. So good.

Harmonia said...

Very creative looking! ;)

Annie said...

Those look amazing. I love coconut. I have to tell you though, that I have also had these several times but never made them myself. I love them but I think the sweetened milk bothers my stomach.

I would absolutely try making them with just 1/2 the milk, now that you tested the idea! (I always try to cut out some of the sugar in my baked stuff too!)

Claire said...

Gail - I was although I've started to like coconut, I was afraid that 1 1/3 cups was too much so I decreased it. I agree with Elizabeth and David...the food you eat at dinners etc IS good, but it's not the food that is served on a normal basis!

Erika - The lime version sounds so yummy. I love lime and white chocolate.

Harmonia - Thanks!

Annie - The halving of the milk really was fine. i wonder if there is something that could be substituted for that to hold the coconut on. Maybe you could even do it without the milk by baking and then spreading the chocolate out, adding coconut, and baking a little longer to toast the coconut. It would be a different taste, but the same set up.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Funny, I don't remember the food in the college cafeteria but I don't recall it being bad. If it had been really good, I'm sure I'd remember it. I remember having really good bread pudding there once. I remember dipping chocolate donuts in hot cocoa. I remember we had steak a few times. Otherwise, I don't recall anything (damn that grain alcohol punch I used to drink at frat parties). I only lived on campus for 1 1/2 years, after that I cooked in whatever apartment I was living in.

Erika said...

Lol. If I only used half the can of milk, I would end up finishing the can with a spoon. Much safer to use it up with the bars. ;-)

peabody said...

Magic cookie bars remind me of my brother. Everytime he returned from college my mother would make him a batch.

Claire said...

Paula - you probably didn't miss much in the cafeteria.

Erika - I understand. Only a couple of years ago did I realize that the extra topping on Sno-Biz (shaved ice sno cones) was sweetened condensed milk. No wonder it was so good!

Peabody - Glad I could bring back memories. I tried to make something for my brother when he came into town, but he dindn't tell me he was coming and left without saying hi! His loss, huh?

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Yes, our bars are quite similar!! Yours look great too. YUM. I used soymilk and sugar to make the caramel and it was very good.

I should have used a rolling pin to crush my graham crackers - I just used a hammer, but it got kinda noisy and dangerous ;)

-Crystal

Anonymous said...

You know, in all my years of baking, I have never made these. I'm not a fan of coconut either (nor my hubby), so I never bake anything with coconut in the ingredients. I wonder if you could just leave it out, what would they taste like?! :)

They look really good in the picture, makes me want to try them with just the chips and stuff! :)

Heather said...

these look so yummy!

Claire said...

Crystal - That topping sounds good. Hammer, huh? I've seen a drill used as a mixer before!

Stacy - You could do these without coconut. I'm sure it would still taste great. If you wanted, you could even change the nuts to walnuts for a little different taste.

Heather- Thanks!

veuveclicquot said...

oh yum. anything with condensed milk gets a thumbs up in my kitchen ;)

I hear you on the cafeteria food - maybe I'm pickier than most, but the food there is inedible... except for the desserts!!!

Claire said...

VC - Sweetened condensed milk is so yummy but ultra sweet. It doesn't take much! Glad (or not!) to hear I have a fellow sufferer of cafeteria food.

Alisha said...

Hey, I remember those Magic Cookie Bars .. haven't made them in AGES! Hmmm.. wonder if I have any sweetened condensed milk in the kitchen ...

As for college food, I went to Mississippi State and remember they had 2 main places to eat - both of which weren't too terribly bad to eat at. I guess I got lucky there.

Claire said...

Alisha - I hadn't thought of these either until I saw them in a cookbook! My brother is going to State, but doesn't eat in the caf much b/c of the meal plan. He doesn't have a real plan, just a PayPass thing.