October is National Cookbook Month. Some blogger friends and I are celebrating by sharing a recipe from a favorite community cookbook. I have a few community cookbooks from local organizations as well as some Junior League cookbooks. I chose a favorite recipe, magic coconut bars, which I’ve never made before, from the cookbook Gourmet Gallery.
You may be wondering why, if it’s a favorite recipe, I’ve never made it before. It’s because I LOVE magic coconut bars and I could eat the entire pan. I was saving myself from myself, if you know what I mean. Need less to say, I shared most (some) of the bars.
First, please indulge me while I tell you a little bit about the cookbook. Gourmet Gallery Cookbook is a compilation of recipes from The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL. The Museum of Fine Arts holds a special place in my heart. When I was a child my Mom took me to two exhibits that impacted me for life. The first was an exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci inventions. They were actual working models that patrons were able to touch and work. I was fascinated. The second was an exhibit of French Impressionist works. Claude Monet, August Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and more. I fell in love, right then and there. Impression Sunrise by Monet is one of my favorite paintings. About 18 years ago I had the good fortune to visit Giverny, residence of Monet, but I digress.
So when National Cookbook Month rolled around and I went looking through my collection, I knew I had to choose one from Gourmet Gallery. You make know these magic coconut bars by the name magic cookie bars, or 7 layer bars, but I think, because this cookbook is older, it could be a very early version of the recipe. This cookbook was published in 1975 and it had three printings. It is now out of print, unfortunately, but copies are available on eBay. The recipes came from members and friends of the museum.
As I was making the recipe, I’m thinking this is not enough chocolate. Then I think, the can of sweetened condensed milk will not cover this pan. Well, I was wrong on both counts. It was the perfect amount and it really is magic.
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts)
- ¾ cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)
- 1 ⅓ cup flaked coconut
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour melted butter in bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle evenly with graham cracker crumbs.
- Over this, in layer fashion, evenly sprinkle nuts, then chocolate chips then coconut.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk over all.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until light and coconut is lightly toasted.
- Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting into small squares.