That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

About two weeks ago I decided to bake what I call ‘gooey bars’ for the volunteers. Back in December I made them chocolate peanut butter bars based on a recipe that I modified for my apartment and available groceries. This time I also had to crumble cookie crumbs and I currently have even less available methods in our apartment. It really has nothing to do with Moscow. In Ashan they have plenty of appliances, it just doesn’t make sense to buy any considering we are here temporarily. I want to check out their food processor options though, because every time I describe this recipe to someone here, I try to say food processor, but they say blender. I guess you can make cookie crumbs in a blender. But I want to know exactly what they are calling a blender.

This time I had to use a wooden meat mallet/tenderizer to crush the cookies…a little messier than the potato masher and colander.

So the one benefit to my husband still not having read my blog is that I can freely talk about my resourcefullness in the Moscow kitchens. I’d hate for all this to back fire and him have a reason to say it’s silly to buy fancy kitchen gadgets when I can just use a meat mallet to make cookie crumbs!! So let’s all agree to keep this a secret? 😉 Thanks!

These gooey bars of deliciousness are technically called Magic Bars on the back of the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk can label and in google searches. I for some reason disliked this name (doesn’t Magic Bar make you think you’ll get high or something?) so I just call them gooey bars. Anyway, I have now brought them to Moscow. And they are becoming quite popular, except now we have to pause for lent (yes, again).

A girl in the volunteer group went home and made her own version. I gave our landlord a piece and he was over the moon. One church worker, who was in the kitchen while the volunteers were cooking, kept taking more during her coffee break while she thought no one was looking, and then thanked me profusely later for bringing them in.  I brought them to a dinner party and the whole plate was empty in 5 minutes. My husband’s colleague loves sweetened condensed milk so I gave Andrei a piece to pass along and then I got a call from the coworker with laughs of gratitude. Maybe they will explode in Moscow and I can become famous for introducing gooey bars to Russia. And make millions 🙂 Sounds like a Russian fairytale – making it big by making/finding something magical. Maybe I should keep the cookie’s original name. Olya and the Magic Bars. Magic Gooey Bars?

I don’t really use a recipe anymore (but you can find one on the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk can label – they print it on the outside last time I was in the states and saw…so you can jot it down, but buy a different brand of the milk if you prefer). Like for everything else in Moscow they have several different types of sweetened condensed milk in all sorts of containers!

The quick explanation of the recipe is as follows…


-Crush/Mash/Food Process graham crackers to make crumbs (about 305 grams if you are in Europe)

-Mix with enough melted butter so if feels like it will kind of hold together and spread out the mixture on a covered baking sheet

-Top with sweetened condensed milk (400-500grams, again if you are in Europe). Try to avoid spreading with a spoon as you will move the graham cracker crust. I try to drizzle thick ribbons along the edges and as much around the center as I can, then carefully tilt the pan in different directions to spread the sweetened condensed milk over the crust.

-Top with chocolate and whatever toppings you prefer. Here I did Alyonka milk chocolate and Alpen Gold white/dark swirled chocolate chunks. At home I do a mix of chocolate chips, coconut flakes and sometimes toffee or something like that. You can also use nuts, but I don’t really like nuts in chocolate/dessert. The volunteer who made them here for her friends also put cranberries which is probably an interesting touch.

-Bake in a preheadted oven at 350F for about 20-25 minutes…or until the edges are starting to brown. Let cool, cut into squares, serve and watch everyone fall in love with you.


2 Comments to “That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles”

  1. “thank you” my sweet daughter for posting these bars just as lent started. 🙂

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