Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Magic Bars


Well the weather’s beautiful, exams are done and school is finally out for the summer! As I’m sure everyone does, I have such fond memories of summer vacation—having sleepovers with friends, enjoying popsicles on extra hot days, playing Sardines on our cul-de-sac, attending concerts in the park, carefully catching fireflies in the evenings…that was really living! And the best part? No early mornings or pop quizzes.

Though summer vacation is not the same now (seriously why did we want to grow up so badly when we were younger?!), we can still celebrate with those who are enjoying the true joy of summer in their youth. My youngest brother loves school, but I know he needs the mental and physical break the vacation brings.

We were blessed to have had an amazing schooling situation while living in Tennessee. Unfortunately when my parents moved to Virginia, that was not the case. However we’ve since found a school that celebrates those with intellectual disabilities and welcomes them into the mainstream life of each school day. So in thanks, we’re celebrating with some of his peers and teachers with the summer tradition of a backyard bar-b-que.

Beyond having the duty of passing on knowledge, teachers have a unique opportunity to bond, mentor, support, and mold students as they grow. If you’re lucky you will have had at least one teacher that you will never forget. Thankfully I have a few that fit that bill! Sometimes it was a simple as just making the school day bearable. What I am really trying to say is make sure to take the time to tell your teachers how much you appreciate them because honestly it’s a tough gig—dealing with the stress and emotions of young adults, terrible pay, and long hours.

LeBraun and I believe that one of the most important things in our lives has been our education so please celebrate the teachers and mentors in your lives! Write a nice note and bake them something really irresistible, like these Seven Layer Magic Bars!!!

Why magic bars? Because the magically disappear!

Seriously, a buttery crust topped with sweet, crunchy, melted, gooey goodness! How could they not?

Each bite a little sweet + a little salty.

They are so easy to make + so rich that you’ll understand the saying “living your best life” for real.

As always, let me know if you try this recipe and what you thought of it by using #heystudioist or sending me a DM on Insta. Enjoy!


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Magic Bars


For Butterscotch:

  • 1 cup vegan butter substitute (like Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Magic Bars:

  • 1 stick vegan butter substitute, melted
  • 1 cup gluten-free graham style crackers, crushed (like Schar, though they're not vegan)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life)
  • 1 cup nuts of choice, chopped
  • 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk


For Butterscotch:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk butter substitute and brown sugar together until melted and combined.
  2. While whisking continuously, bring the mix to almost a full boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Set aside.

For Assembling the Magic Bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish by lightly greasing the dish with cooking oil. Then press a sheet of parchment paper into the dish allowing the edges to extend past the top of dish. This will make it easier to remove the bars from the dish once they’re done baking.
  2. Pour melted butter into the bottom the prepared dish.
  3. Add crushed graham style crackers, mix well, and press into the bottom of the dish creating a crust.
  4. Evenly distribute each ingredient, one by one in listed order, across the crust in layers.
  5. Bake roughly 25-30 minutes or until melted and bubbly.
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Using the parchment extending past the dish edges, gently lift the bars from the dish, slice and serve.

Need more summery dessert ideas, try these!