An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Do You Believe In Magic?


Imagining them as the product of sorcery or witchcraft does a disservice to the whole concept of magic bars. Rather, the creation of such enchanting treats ought to be considered as kitchen alchemy, no less miraculous than an otherworldly spell.

How else could one explain the process of turning what appear to be discordant ingredients into this classic layered assembly of cookies, chocolate, nuts, and coconut? Especially when the process demands little more effort than what’s required to switch on the oven, it strikes me as a particularly bewitching sort of everyday magic. Of course, the original cast of characters is fairly mundane, in need of a new rising star and fresh script. Inspired by the play on words, black magic lured me over to the dark side for this delicious twist.

Blackberry puree, spiked with a touch of lime and vanilla, cloaks my supernatural sweets in fresh, seasonal berry flavor. Supported by a dark, devious crust of chocolate cookies rather than the standard graham crackers, the bars take on a high-contrast color scheme to better match their title, not to mention add a bolder bite.

Treading that fine line between crumbly, crunchy, and even a bit chewy, the toothsome texture is only one of many reasons why this classic concept took hold so many years ago. What’s even more incredible is how little effort goes into whipping up a batch. From fridge to table in under and hour, they may truly seem like the product of some black magic.

Black Magic Cookie Bars

1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine or Coconut Oil, Melted
1 Cup Finely Ground Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
1 Cup (5 Ounces) Fresh Blackberries
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 1/2 Teaspoons Arrowroot
1/2 Teaspoon Lime Zest
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
1/2 Cup Chopped Raw Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate cookie crumbs and melted margarine or coconut oil so that the whole mixture is nicely moistened. Transfer to your prepared baking pan and use the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass to firmly press the crumbs down in an even layer. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the remaining layers.

Place the blackberries and lime juice in your blender or food processor, and thoroughly puree, until the berries are are smooth as your machine can manage. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the seeds.

Mix the resulting seedless blackberry puree, sugar, cornstarch, arrowroot, lime zest, vanilla and salt together, and pour over your chilled crust. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts over the top, gently pressing all the goodies in to ensure that they stick.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the berries mixture bubbles up slightly around the sides and the coconut on top appears to have toasted to a golden brown hue. Cool completely before cutting into bars or squares. Store covered at room temperature for up to four days.

Makes 12 – 16 Bars

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

35 thoughts on “Do You Believe In Magic?

  1. I think I love yr narrative on these almost more than the prospect of chocolate and berries mixed together! And I do love both berries and chocolate…

  2. Do you have a chocolate cookie you recommend? Or one that you like to bake?

    • Regular old Oreos can work in a pinch, but I prefer to use my recipe for Chocolate Cookie Crumbs in Vegan Desserts (page 211.) I can’t seem to find any place to link to it, but there are plenty of other options if you Google “vegan chocolate wafer cookie recipe.”

  3. Those look so good. I think for the chocolate cookie, I’d use the thin chocolate wafer cookies.

  4. Magical looking bars, Hannah! I love how you described your bars…I feel like I’m reading a fairy tale ;) The blackberry puree sounds so good with the bars, including the toasted coconut on the top.

  5. These look incredible! The blackberry puree sounds absolutely inspired. Also, thanks for getting that song stuck in my head!! ;)

  6. Yum! Love magic bars, I always have a hard time figure out how to sub condensed milk for my moms baking recipes. These look awesome!

  7. This looks really delicious and different. Are they tangy AND sweet? My favorite combination!!

    Ellen Francis Vegan American Princess

  8. They really look magical ;D

  9. ooh!!! this is such a fabulous rendition :) i love playing around with this recipe- i’ve done a cranberry/white chocolate and apple variation. this is totally going on the to-do list!

  10. Delectable bars, Hannah! MMMMM! I can use my home grown blackberries here too!

  11. The title of this post is one of those song lines that always get stuck in my head for days. I didn’t realize I was even humming it while I was reading this, until a friend asked me what song it was.
    Also this is such a wild combination. Blackberries and chocolate?! I need to try this sorcery.

  12. I love the tart fruity twist you put on these!! I find magic bars to be SUPER sweet and this must offset that perfectly!

  13. I’ve never heard of magic bars (I know…I’m such a noob!), but they do indeed sound magical! Do you think this would work well with other types of berries, like raspberry?

  14. Magic indeed! I’ve been seeing tons of blackberries at the farmers market, now I’ve got a new way to eat them. :-)

  15. I love your addition of blackberries here, these look incredible! I also love how simple they are. Pinning this!

  16. After reading this post, you’d better believe that I believe in magic :-)n These look and sound absolutely delicious.

  17. These bars sure sound magical Hannah…love your description and the combination of chocolate and berries just look fabulous.
    Hope you are enjoying your week :D

  18. Sounds good as always! Our blackberry harvest is a little sad this year, but maybe I can sneak some in these goodies!

  19. In an odd way, these remind me of the raspberry s’mores my mother used to make with us. We always went camping near a big raspberry thicket and she’d slip raspberries between the chocolate and the marshmallow on our S’mores. SO good!

  20. I do believe in magic now that I’ve seen your dessert bars. :) To make it more of a reality, I just pinned them. :)

  21. Pingback: Things To Try Thursday – 15/08/13 | Kirschplunder's Blog

  22. I don’t know if they are magic but I do know that they have to be good. :)

  23. Beautifully worded intro to the bars, it almost feels like you’re retelling a fairy tale :) I’ve heard of magic bars but have never tried them myself, blackberries sounds like a delicious and inventive addition!

  24. Wow! These look so easy to make, and so delicious! How coincidental that I’m sitting on a pile of blackberries in my fridge from this week’s CSA. Perfect!

  25. Oh my gosh I love the picture with the tiny colander… I totally did a double-take. And I’m absolutely making these! Pinning right now…

  26. Magical indeed. These bars look extra gorgeous with that blackberry purple hue. I’ve never had the “original” magic cookie bars but maybe I’ll be trying your fruit take on them first.

  27. I believe in magic when it’s this sinfully sweet! These look amazing!! Wonderful photos too!! Celeste :)

  28. I do believe in magic! I’ve made lots of versions of the classic magic bars and can’t wait to try this version using fresh berries. Yum!

  29. Wow Hannah, you’ve done it again! Love the fairy tale story that goes along with these magic bars. I’ve always been a fan of magic bars, but haven’t eaten any since becoming vegan. Your black magic bars look like the perfect place to get re-acquainted with these delightful bars.

  30. A great big dollop of icecream to smother one of these bars and I think heaven just got a little bit closer…

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