Cannoli Magic Bars, this gourmet Italian variation of the popular magic cookie bars has ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, pistachios, cinnamon, orange zest, and of course sweetened condensed milk. These simple cookies make a great dessert for the holidays and Christmas!
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Cannoli Magic Bars, an easy dessert recipe based on the popular Magic Cookie Bars! My cannoli recipes have been so popular that I just can’t help coming up with more. These fun bars have ricotta, chocolate chips, and pistachios as well as a little orange zest and cinnamon.
Yep, another fun cannoli recipe for you today! My Cannoli Cookies, Cannoli Cake, and Cannoli Cheesecake have been super popular recently. I guess everyone is getting in the holiday and Christmas mood. If you need more holiday inspiration you can see the full list of all my fun cannoli recipes.
These magic bars are part cookie and part cheesecake. Normally, magic cookie bars do not need to be refrigerated, but because of the ricotta cheese in this Italian version, I would store them in the refrigerator.
What are Magic Bars
Magic Bars (also known as Magic Cookie Bars or 7-Layer Magic Bars) typically have a graham cracker crust that is topped with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts. Sweetened condensed milk is then poured over the top or is spread over the graham cracker crust then topped with the chocolate, coconut, and nuts.
The sweetened condensed milk “magically” turns into a layer with all the other toppings and forms a delicious cookie bar. Although this version is more of an Italian variation, you could certainly add some coconut even though that’s not really a traditional cannoli flavor.
The ingredients are fairly simple and you should be able to find them all at your local grocery store.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Cannoli Magic Bars Ingredients
- Graham crackers – I used regular honey graham crackers but chocolate graham crackers would be good too.
- Butter – You can use whatever you have such as unsalted, salted, or even margarine. I used unsalted because that’s what I generally have around.
- Ricotta cheese – I didn’t drain my ricotta cheese which you normally need to do for baking, and it worked out fine. If your cheese is really watery I’d suggest draining (see how to strain ricotta cheese if you need more help).
- Sweetened condensed milk – One can (like Eagle brand) just like in the original magic cookie bars recipe.
- Orange zest – Fresh orange zest gives a nice slight citrus flavor that you find in cannoli.
- Cinnamon – Another delicious cannoli flavor.
- Mini chocolate chips – You could also use chopped chocolate or regular-sized chocolate chips if you’d like. I prefer the mini though. I would suggest semi-sweet or even dark chocolate. Milk chocolate could be a bit too sweet.
- Powdered sugar (optional) – Just a little for sprinkling on top of the bars before serving just like cannoli.
How to Make Cannoli Magic Bars
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven and prepare pan.
- CRUST. Mix graham crackers and butter and form crust.
- BATTER. Combine ricotta, milk, orange zest, and cinnamon. Pour on to curst.
- TOPPING. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top.
- BAKE. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate.
(Full detailed directions are in printable recipe card at bottomof post.)
- Serve at room temperature or cold out of the refrigerator.
- You can cut these bars into any shape you’d like, such as squares, rectangles, triangles, or even diamonds. I cut mine into rectangles then in half to make triangles.
- Sprinkle a little powdered sugar with a shaker on top before serving. The powdered sugar will kind of melt into the bars if left in the fridge so be sure to add the powdered sugar right before serving.
- Instead of powdered sugar for a fancier dessert, you could serve the bars on plates and drizzle a little chocolate, raspberry, or strawberry sauce on top.
- Some berries on the side would also be delicious for serving.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- You can line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and up along the sides of the pan so you can easily lift the bars out after they’re baked and cooled if you’d like. Or you can cut them right in the pan. If you do use aluminum foil I think I’d spray it with nonstick spray first before pressing the crust in.
- Be sure to press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. I like to use the back of a fork to make sure all the crumbs stick together.
- The bars are easier to cut when cold so I’d refrigerate the bars for a few hours before cutting if you can wait. You may need to go around the edge of a pan with a sharp knife to loosen.
Cannoli Magic Bars FAQ
How should I store the Cannoli Magic Bars?
Store the bars in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the Magic Bars?
I haven’t tried it but think they would be ok in the freezer.
How long will the Magic Bars last?
At least a few days in the refrigerator if in an airtight container or I would think a few months in the freezer.
Instead of mini chocolate chips, you could use regular chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. I would not recommend using milk chocolate as it might be too sweet for this recipe. You can substitute other “mix-ins” for some of the chocolate chips and/or pistachios such as coconut, other baking chips, or other nuts.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
I have not tried low-fat ricotta but think it should be ok for this recipe. A low-fat butter or margarine should also be ok as should lower fat graham crackers.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add other baking chips, nuts, coconut, or your other favorite “mix-ins”.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – This would be a tough one to make vegan.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian. Be sure to check individual brands/products just to be sure though.
Low-Carb – This would be tough to make low-carb but you could try a low carb cracker or cookie for the crust, a homemade low carb condensed milk, and reduce the chocolate chips or use a chocolate with less sugar.
Gluten-Free -Try a gluten-free cookie or graham cracker for the crust.
Other Cannoli Recipes You May Enjoy
- Cannoli Ricotta Fritters – Fried doughnut balls with cannoli flavors.
- Cannoli Bread – Kind of like banana bread but with no banana and cannoli flavors instead.
- Cannoli French Toast – Use a loaf of that above Cannoli Bread for this delicious French Toast that is a great breakfast, brunch, or dessert option.
- Cannoli Muffins – Quick and easy muffins that look like they came from a bakery.
Hope you enjoy this gourmet Cannoli Magic Bars recipe. Tell me in the comments what you thought!
Cannoli Magic Bars
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 12 ounces mini chocolate chips (1 bag)
- 1 cup lightly salted pistachios coarsely chopped
- powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or line bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of prepared baking pan to form a thin even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange zest, and cinnamon until well combined. Pour onto crust and spread to form even layer.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and pistachios on top and press down lightly into batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool then place in fridge to store. Before serving, cut into bars of desired shape and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Store in the refrigerator.