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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.


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Practical Pantry

If you remember my chocolate nut oar bar recipe from a few weeks back, you’ll recall that I can be a little possessive of my most special recipes. But I am feeling generous again and want to share one of the yummiest desserts in my repertoire – my special magic bars. What are magic bars? It’s a fairly interpretive term for a cross between a brownie and cookie, usually fused together with sweetened condensed milk to make things ooey and gooey. You can play around with the base recipe a ton to customize it to your own favorites (i.e. using butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips, or other types of nuts), but people seem to love my basic version of Magic Bars. They are always my go-to dessert item to bring to someone’s house or whenever my husband suddenly needs to bring something to a potluck meeting at work. I once brought a batch to a long play rehearsal my son had. His castmates gobbled them up within five minutes and were asking my son if his mom could make them again weeks later! I usually have all the ingredients already in the house and the magic bars are super portable and easy to bring anywhere. Best of all, they are SO easy to whip together with almost no effort or baking skills needed, because, let’s face it, we’re not all pastry chefs.

They’re also a nice change of pace from your basic chocolate brownie or chocolate chip cookie. The graham cracker crumb and butter base provides a delicious foundation to highlight all the interesting textural components on top – crunchy nuts, sweet coconut, and of course, just the right amount of chocolate. What makes them so magical? The sweetened condensed milk melds everything together in one complete, perfectly-sticky, buttery bite! I hope you enjoy trying out these magical bars for yourself!

Debra’s Special Magic Bars


• ½ cup butter, melted
• 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
• 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup coconut flakes
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Coat a baking dish (13x9 inch) with cooking spray.

3) Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together until it resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of the pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. Layer with chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and walnuts. Slightly press down with the back of a fork.

4) Bake about 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store at room temperature and enjoy!

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Pouches' Community Corner

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Splash EventMassadYMCA

For the past seven years, Smart Beginnings has thrown the Splash Pool Party fundraiser. This summer, the event will be held on June 24, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA. Tickets range in price from $12 for a single ticket, $20 for couples and $35 for a family/group of four and each ticket also covers a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink.