One of my favorite Christmas traditions is spending a week baking numerous types of cookies and bars to gift to friends, neighbors, and loved ones. Listening to Christmas classics while baking these festive sweet treats often reminds me of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and familiar faces of my childhood.

My Mexican Magic Bars are my personal take on my mother’s favorite holiday dessert – Magic Cookie Bars (or as she affectionately calls them, “hip-builders” 😉 ). A traditional Magic Cookie Bar* is made with a graham cracker crumb crust and layered with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, and coconut. My Mexican Magic Bars use many of those same ingredients but with a spicy Mexican twist – cinnamon! 

You really can’t go wrong with any variation of the Magic Cookie Bar, especially when you consider nostalgia and heritage, which is why I make both types of this bar every Christmas season. Add these bars to your holiday dessert menu and experience una muy Feliz Navidad! 

Mexican Magic Bars

Makes: 24

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes 


  • 1 1/3 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup of butter (1 stick), melted
  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark taste best)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened; I prefer sweetened)

Let’s do this!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or baking spray. Set aside. 
  2. Using a food processor or a large Ziplock bag, grind or crush the graham crackers until they resemble crumbs. In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs until they appear to look like damp sand.
  3. Spread and press the cracker mixture into the bottom of the 9×13-inch dish. Layer with the sweetened condensed milk followed by the cinnamon (sprinkled evenly across the milk), chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and coconut. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press all the toppings down to secure the layering.
  4. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. 
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before cutting. Cut into 24 decent size squares. Enjoy!

*If you’d like to make the traditional version of these bars, use the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips, omit the cinnamon, substitute the pecans for walnuts, and add ¾-1 cup of butterscotch chips. 

**Store these bars at room temperature in a Tupperware container or Ziplock bag for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for a week. These bars can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an air-tight freezer Ziplock bag. 

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