I Tried 5-Ingredient, 5-Minute Magic Cookies and It’s Like Taking a Bite Out of Childhood

published Sep 6, 2023
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clumpy cookies on a sheet pan, parchment paper, chunky cookies with lots of oats and lumpy ingredients, chocolate chips
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

What I love more than baking itself is when I find an easy recipe that comes together in less than 20 minutes. For those unique times when I have a sweet tooth craving but lack the motivation to whip up a proper recipe, something simple and easy wins every time. 

Recently, after coming across Instagram creator Nicole Keshishian Modic’s recipe for a five-ingredient magic cookie (her take on the classic magic bars you might remember from your childhood), something immediately caught my attention. These cookies, despite being a fantastic recreation of such a nostalgic treat, only take five minutes to prepare and only require 15 minutes in the oven. I’m not sure about you, but my math was definitely adding up on this one and I was instantly on board. 

As I’ve learned from previous recipes like strawberry fluffies and pineapple upside-down pastries, some of the best things in life are born out of simplicity. And much like many of my favorite songs, only a handful of ingredients are needed to create magic. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

How to Make 5-Ingredient Magic Cookies

To start, preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

In a mixing bowl, combine cashews, unsweetened coconut flakes, chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers, and coconut condensed milk. Mix well until everything is fully incorporated. 

Spoon large balls of the mixture and place each one onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving some room between each because the condensed milk will spread a bit. 

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden-brown in color, then remove and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving and enjoying.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of 5-Ingredient Magic Cookies

I’ll admit — I wasn’t sure if I would like these cookies. I’m not a huge fan of coconut, and there were just so many cashews present within each bite. Surprisingly, though, my reservations were pleasantly proven wrong because these cookies are absolutely fantastic. 

Just like Nicole mentions in her video, this recipe is reminiscent of magic bars with each bite packing a familiar flavor. The graham crackers and chocolate chips help the cashews from becoming overpowering, with the baking process softening the cashews in the best way possible.

And as far as my distaste for coconut, I found a compromise and substituted the coconut condensed milk for regular condensed milk and ended up very happy with the results. These cookies are not only worth trying, but they also come together really quickly and easily. I’d recommend these to anyone who enjoys a sweet baked treat with heavy notes of nostalgia. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

3 Tips for Making 5-Ingredient Magic Cookies

  • Do not overbake. Stay strict with the 15-minute bake time, as the bottoms of these cookies will caramelize quickly, and if left too long you run the risk of burning them and losing out on that delicious caramelized flavor. 
  • Give ample time to cool. These guys are going to come out hot and very soft. Give them at least 10 minutes to cool off before digging in. Trust me — the wait is worth it. 
  • Experiment with other ingredients. Classically, magic bars are made with mixed nuts, so if cashews aren’t your thing, or you’re like me and can only take a little bit of coconut flavoring, play around with alternative ingredients to capture the exact flavor you desire.