So what exactly are magic bars and where did they come from?

Magic bars are almost like cookie bars. They traditionally consist of seven layers of deliciousness. These layers include: a graham cracker crust, shredded coconut, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and lastly, a layer of condensed milk poured over the tops of these layers. So, I just counted that and that’s only 6 layers…I’m going to guess that the seventh layer is the butter that’s used to make the crust?

What makes these bars magical? From what I’ve been able to gather on the internet, the magic is how the layer of condensed milk holds all these sweet and tasty layers together!

The first rendition of this confectionary treat came about in the 1960s. Eagle Brand condensed milk had the recipe printed on the back of their cans of sweetened condensed milk. Since then, people have been making their own versions of this seven-layer bar, myself included.

I had a bag of pretzels left over from when I had made the Learn How to Make these Caramel Apple Pie Cookies cookies. Making these magic bars with a pretzel crust seemed like the ideal way to give them new life. I also knew that I wanted to make them vegan-friendly and Christmas themed. By that, I mean giving them a color palette of red, white and green. I achieved this by using pistachios as the chopped nuts of choice, dried cranberries and vegan white chocolate chips. I was able to find sweetened condensed coconut milk at my local market and used that as my “magic”. Leave a comment down below if you make your own magic with these bars during the holidays!

Here are a few other vegan-friendly recipes that you should try: The Best Vegan Apple Bread and Love Bread Pudding? Try This Vegan Apple & Bourbon Version

KitchenAid KFP0718CU Food Processor, 7 Cup, Contour Silver
Magic bars stacked on a stack of white plates.

Vegan-Friendly Magic Bars with a Pretzel Crust

Find out what the magic is behind these bars. This red, white and green version is the perfectly sweet way to ring in the holidays.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9


  • food processor
  • 9"x9" square baking dish


  • 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pistachios I ran mine through the food processor for a few seconds

Pretzel crust

  • 1 cup pretzel crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp melted vegan butter


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

Making your crust

  • Pulse pretzels in the food processor for a few seconds until they are finely ground. In a small bowl, combine pretzel crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Pour and press into your baking dish. I like to use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to do this.

Layering your magic bars

  • Sprinkle shredded coconut over the crust. Next, you will sprinkle your chopped pistachios over the coconut followed by the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Lastly, pour the can of condensed milk over all the layers. Bake for 30 minutes. I added more coconut shreds after removing from the oven and baked it for another 10 minutes to get them a little toasted. This step is completely optional.
  • Once the bars cool down to room temperature, place them in the fridge for a few hours. This makes them easier to cut into bars.


Before cutting into your bars, spray both sides of your knife with non-stick cooking spray. This is especially helpful when when cutting into ooey-gooey treats!
Keyword christmas, christmas recipes, cookie bars, magic bars, vegan, vegan desserts, vegan magic bars, vegan recipes