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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Going out with a little abracadabra

By Elaine Magee

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, flaked coconut and chopped walnuts are some of the treats in 7-Layer Light Magic Cookie Bars, a popular reader request over the years.

Elaine Magee

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Thank you all for reading my words over the years, but this is my final column. It is my hope that I helped bring great-tasting food to your family table while helping you reach a higher level of health.

I won't stop being The Recipe Doctor though, because what started as a column quickly became part of my professional identity. You can continue to read my work (articles, blog, recipes and health exchange board) on WebMD.com and on my website: recipedoctor.com

I wanted to end my column with a "Recipe Doctor" version of one of the desserts that I got the most requests to lighten over the years 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars.

The crust was made with low-fat graham crackers and a combination of less-fat margarine, fat-free sour cream and fat-free half-and-half instead of using a stick of butter. The yummy, gooey topping was lightened with fat-free sweetened condensed milk. There's not much I can do about the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts, since that's where most of the "magic" in the Magic Cookie Bars comes from. But using bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips over milk chocolate chips will bring some antioxidants to the table, and I reduced the total chocolate chips from 3 cups to 2 cups.

This version has more than 40 percent less fat and saturated fat and 25 percent fewer calories.

Original recipe contains 280 calories, 17 grams fat, and 10 grams saturated fat per bar.

Thanks again for letting me be your Recipe Doctor over the years!


1 1/2 cups low-fat graham cracker crumbs (buy the low-fat crackers and process them into crumbs)

4 tablespoons melted less-fat margarine (8 grams fat per tablespoon) or whipped butter

2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk

1 4-ounce can Eagle Brand fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chocolate chips

1€ cups flaked coconut

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass baking pan). Line a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or pan with a sheet of foil, making sure there is a little extra on both ends of the pan. Coat the foil with canola cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine, fat-free sour cream and fat-free half-and-half with a fork. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of prepared pan.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with fork.

Bake 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. Lift the bars out of the pan by holding on to the foil from both sides. Cut into bars or triangles. Store leftovers in a covered container.

Makes 2 dozen bars.

Per bar: 208 calories, 3 g protein, 27.5 g carbohydrate, 9.5 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 2.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.3 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 88 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 41 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .5 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.9 grams. Weight Watchers POINTS = 4