Pumpkin Magic Bars

This is what happens when fall meets the classic magic bar dessert—a stepchild is born. Welcome my updated classic: pumpkin seven layer magic bar. While much of the classic component are there, I tweaked the flavor to reflect a pumpkin profile and since I’ve always found the classic far too sweet I took a few steps to offset it.

Pumpkin Magic Bars

I started by adding shredded apples for more depth in flavor. After that I added roasted salted almonds and traded the heavy layer of chocolate for a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips.

Did it work? I think so.

If only life were this easy, right—add a little here, remove some from there and swap out one thing for another, and done. I’ve been told if life were that easy I’d bored. Here’s the thing, I don’t think so, friends. I think it would be rather nice to just throw away all my dirty clothes each week and by new rather than tether myself to home for the hours-on-hours it takes to load, transfer, fold and then put away all that stuff. And while I’m on a roll  I would love to have an extension on all my late deadlines.

. . . see,  I will take boredom any day. Any day.

**Recipe was modified September 2013, after several comments were left about the center not setting up. The original recipe calls for an 8×8 pan, I have since switched this recipe to be baked in a 9×13 pan to solve the “gooey center” problem**

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Pumpkin 7-Layer Magic Bars

Yield: Makes one 9x13 pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 whole crackers)
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 11 oz. golden delicious apples, shredded (about 2 regular size apples)
  • 11/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil sling with a 1 inch over hang in a 9x13 pan..

  1. Combine graham crackers and butter  and stir until well blended. Press mixture onto bottom of pan
  2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust.
  3. Peel and core apples. Use the large side of the  grating box to shred the apples. Layer shredded apples on the sweetened sweetened condensed milk. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, followed by the almonds and then finish by sprinkling coconut on top.
  4. Place assembled pan in the oven and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan completely and then transfer finished pan to the refrigerator to chill before cutting.

A few notes:

  • You can easily switch out the pumpkin for apple butter to keep the fall flavor.
  • I used Blue Diamonds roasted salted almonds for the nut portion, but feel to switch that out to any nut that suits your preference.
  • The apples are not necessary, but again, I added them to scale back the sweetness and to add a slight fruity bite.

 

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84 Responses to “Pumpkin Magic Bars”

  1. #
    1
    j3nn — September 24, 2012 @ 6:13 am

    Ok, this is the best use of pumpkin I have seen in a while! These look incredible; every gooey layer of them!

    Reply

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    2
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 24, 2012 @ 6:49 am

    One of my fave things ever!! is Magic Bars – and you just took it up a big, big notch. And I love that! They look awesome. Pinning!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — September 24, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Love the coconut topping! Gives such a nice texture to the mix.

    Reply

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    Blog is the New Black — September 24, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    How is it possible that you made these even better?! YUM! ;)

    Reply

  5. #
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    Amy — September 24, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    Wowzers! These wouldn’t last long around here. My husband would be very happy if I made a batch for him alone!

    Reply

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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 24, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Oh how I’ve missed you! Sorry I haven’t stopped by in a while! But I’m back and I’m LOVING these bars! Damn to they look good!

    Reply

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    Choco — September 24, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    When do you put the chocolate?!

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

      Choco,

      Add the chocolate in after the apples. I have revised the recipe to reflect.

      Reply

  8. #
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    Ashley — September 24, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    These definitely sound [and look!!] magical. I’m all in. The 2nd photo is perfection.

    Reply

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    Erin — September 24, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    These look beyond yummy

    Reply

  10. #
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    Julia — September 24, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    I always think classic 7 layer bars are too sweet too… which is crazy since I could live on sugar… So making these!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — September 24, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    Mmmm…these do look magical. Love the coconut too! :)

    Reply

  12. #
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    Gabrielle — September 24, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    These looked so good that I had to make them! They’re in the oven right now.

    I couple of things though: Are you sure it’s a 8×8 pan? I tried that size and the graham cracker crust was way too thick. Another thought, the instructions don’t have the chocolate chips being added. I added them after the apples and before the nuts.

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — September 24th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

      Gabrielle,

      You can use an 8×8 or a 9×13 pan. I tend to like my bars thick rather than thin, so I opted for the smaller pan. And you are correct on the layering.

      Reply

  13. #
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    Carol | a cup of mascarpone — September 24, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    WOW! These look scrumptious!!! The name magic fits them perfectly!

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 25, 2012 @ 12:43 am

    Oh boy…these DO look like magic! Yum!

    Reply

  15. #
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    Cookie and Kate — September 25, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    Good grief. I’ve never heard of magic bars but these layered bars certainly look and sound magical. Now I just need an event that calls for decadent treats; otherwise I’d demolish the whole pan by myself.

    Reply

  16. #
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    Heather — September 25, 2012 @ 3:38 am

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them.

    Reply

  17. #
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    unsightly — September 25, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    I love nothing more than a 7-layer bar with 7-story height. I am making these tomorrow!!!

    Reply

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    jessica — September 25, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    Beautiful! I have a list here of ideas to make pumpkin layer bars and now I don’t have to wonder if they will be good or not. Love your idea to add apples. I am looking forward to trying them soon. Thank you for sharing! Your photos are gorgeous!

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    theurbanbaker — September 26, 2012 @ 2:40 am

    I can only imagine the smell of these. I wish it would become fall already in LA – so ready for it!

    Reply

  20. #
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    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — September 26, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

    What a delicious combination of fall flavors… 7 fantastic layers of it!

    Reply

  21. #
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    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — September 27, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    Ooo look at those, so nice and thick and chock full of good stuff.

    Reply

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    Megan {Country Cleaver} — September 27, 2012 @ 4:01 am

    I think I just fell straight out of my chair. Magic bars are my absolute favorite thing about the holidays, but I always wait until Christmas to have them – thanks for moving them up a season – I couldn’t wait much longer!

    Reply

  23. #
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    Diane (createdbydiane) — October 1, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

    I’m drooling these look so delicious!

    Reply

  24. #
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    Helen in CA — October 2, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    I’m seeing the apple/apple butter version in Sept….then pumpkin in October. YUM!

    Reply

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    Michelle — October 6, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    They taste even better using butterscotch chips instead of chocolate…

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — October 9th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

      Michelle-I will have try that next time!

      Reply

  26. #
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    Kara — October 6, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

    Yum! These look delicious! Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  27. #
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    Melanie — October 15, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    My bars were really smushy…how can I make them more solid to be more like a bar. I don’t know if I did something wrong or didn’t cook it long enough…please let me know if anyone has any ideas

    Reply

    • Naomi replied: — October 19th, 2012 @ 2:17 am

      Melanie- I’m not quite sure why, as other people have made this and havent had that problem. But that said, you are also not alone.

      My suggestion would check your oven temperature if that’s good, place foil on top( to prevent the coconut from burning) at the 30 minute mark and bake it for another ten to minutes.

      Thank for sharing with all of us.

      Reply

  28. #
    28
    Holly W — October 16, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    oh man, these look amazing. So amazing I had to make them last night for today’s work potluck. My house smelled amazing while they were in the oven. They tasted great this morning as I cut the first corner piece. BUT…
    as I got farther into the pan, it was still gooey in the center… plus the bars all stuck to the foil (even though I sprayed with coconut oil) :(
    so as tasty as that corner piece was, they didn’t come to work with me and I had to buy store-made cookies for work :(
    Better luck next time I guess.

    Reply

  29. #
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    Kaitlyn — August 16, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    I smell mine cooking right now… yum

    Reply

  30. #
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    Jessica — September 14, 2013 @ 5:47 am

    I had some issues with these bars! I would recommend that people use a 9×13 pan, it’s just too much for an 8×8. Also, in traditional magic bars you do the crust, then sprinkle the nuts, chips, etc. pouring the condensed milk over it at the end. I would recommend that people making this recipe pour the pumpkin/condensed milk over all the ingredients at the end, help solidifying the bars. I found that my bars weren’t really held together and all the top layer would fall off (keep in mind I used an 8×8). I made these in the afternoon for a party at night and couldn’t even serve them, so I would suggest that you give your self ample time for them to set.

    Reply

    • Jen replied: — September 18th, 2013 @ 3:32 am

      Good suggestion Jessica! Mine didn’t really set, so I’ve been thinking on what to do different next time. Will definitely try this method!

      Reply

  31. #
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    Jo — September 25, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

    Maybe a silly question but can these be frozen?

    Reply

  32. #
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    JohnnieAnne — September 26, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    I made these yesterday and after a few hours cooling on counter and then in fridge I realized crust and filling were all mushy. I used a 9×13 and cooked for a little over 30 min. As of this morning, straight out of fridge the crust firmed up a bit, but went mushy again after a couple minutes and toppings all fell off. I do have to say that the pieces that didn’t fall on the floor & actually made it into my mouth tasted AMAZING!!! Next time, (and there will be a next time!!) I will try the trick ‘Jessica’ mentioned above and layer loose toppings onto crust and then pour pumpkin filling on top or maybe do half filling on crust and half over top of loose ingredients. My house still smells yummy from yesterday’s baking. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    Kim | Just For Clicks — October 3, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    Just made these last week…. The original Magic Bars hold a special place in my heart, as my grandmother always made these at Christmas. Loved this new version for fall. Big hit with my book club girls!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Candace — October 4, 2013 @ 11:30 am

    This looks amazing! I am a vegetarian who is lactose intolerant and the condensed milk really may be present enough to upset me (plus I could make this for my vegan friends). Any suggestions in substituting the condensed milk for something else. Is it’s purpose to bind everything together? Thank you sooo much for this recipe, CANNOT wait to try it!

    Reply

    • Robin replied: — October 18th, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

      You can make sweetened condensed coconut milk. That’s probably what I will do. My family doesn’t do much dairy either.

      Reply

  35. #
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    Elaine — October 6, 2013 @ 6:13 am

    This is no stepchild — this is a progeny!

    Reply

  36. #
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    Joan — October 6, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    I made this for my Pumpkin housewarming and it was a hit. Thanks!

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Sherri Brooks — October 17, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    Oh really…you shouldn’t have, but thank you! My two favorites together at last! Woohoo!!

    Reply

  38. #
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    Marisa Franca — November 25, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    Being Italian, I don’t like things too sweet. I like tang and I like spicy and these bars look delish. The originals I agree were cloying. I’m anxious to try these.

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Linda Ann — November 28, 2013 @ 5:34 am

    Wish these looked like the first pic but they are much thinner. My grown daughter said that you would think with all the layers that they would be exceptional but they are “just ok”. Won’t be making again.

    Reply

  40. #
    40
    Kristine — December 5, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    Ended up doubling the amount of pumpkin since i wanted to use the rest of my can so i added 2 eggs to the filling to make sure it set. Folded in the grated apple and nuts before pouring over the crust. Topped with chocholate chips and coconut. In the oven now hope it turns out ok! :)

    Reply

  41. #
    41
    Lindsay — February 10, 2014 @ 7:18 am

    Hello, I am baking these bars today for a party. Reading through the ingredient list, I assume the butter is melted, then combined with the graham crackers? Or is it cold or softened? Thanks, Lindsay

    Reply

    • Naomi Robinson replied: — February 10th, 2014 @ 7:26 am

      Hi Lindsay, the butter is melted and combined

      Reply

  42. #
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    Sheena Blas — February 28, 2014 @ 8:05 am

    I made these bars 2 nights ago and they turned out delicious! My brother wanted a dessert that had pumpkin since he loves that flavor, and something not too rich. Plus, he likes bars, so these turned out to be perfect! I wouldn’t change anything from the original recipe. The only minor downside to these is that the coconut wants to fall off when eating them, but all the ingredients go well together, and the pumpkin isn’t overbearing. Simple to put together and people will think you spent a long time on this.

    Reply

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    Jenny — April 8, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

    If I ever made these again, I would definitely bake the graham crust first at least to a crispy stage. Then I would add the other ingredients. I just made them and the graham crust is mush.

    Reply

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