‘Modern Potluck’ offers fresh take on food worth sharing, plus recipe for potato chip magic bars

modern-potluck_coverWith Green Gate’s big potluck slated for Saturday, you might be looking for a dish to bring.

Potluck dishes can be tricky because you’re serving food outside the conditions of a normal kitchen, so the food has to be contained and enjoyable to eat neither hot nor cold. Former Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly decided that the traditional macaroni salads and casseroles could use an update, so she compiled fresh favorites in “Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share” (Clarkson Potter, $27.50).

She offers lots of tips, including how to pack and label the food and ideas for if you want to host a themed potluck, but the book is mostly recipes for dishes such as miso baked beans, poblanos stuffed with samosa filling, beet-cured salmon and four seasons’ worth of potato salads.

These crunchy sweet potato chip magic bars are a retro recipe, but her version includes a rice flour option if you need a gluten-free dessert for your next gathering.

When it comes to potluck desserts, magic bars are a special treat, especially when they are topped with crushed potato chips. Contributed by Yossy Arefi.

When it comes to potluck desserts, magic bars are a special treat, especially when they are topped with crushed potato chips. Contributed by Yossy Arefi.

Potato Chip-Crusted Magic Bars

1 (10-oz.) bag plain salted potato chips, preferably not thick-cut
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or rice flour
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes, such as Bob’s Red Mill, or sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup salted smoked almonds, or your nut of choice, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan, preferably metal, and line with parchment paper so it overhangs by a couple of inches on the long sides of the pan.

In a food processor, pulse the potato chips with the flour until they resemble coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the butter and pulse until the chips are evenly moistened and finely chopped. Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is dry and very lightly browned. Let cool.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the crust and tip the pan so it forms an even layer. Scatter the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts on top and use a fork or the back of a spoon to press the ingredients into the sticky condensed milk. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the coconut is toasted and the condensed milk is lightly browned at the edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

When the bar is cool, use the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan. Cut into any size squares you desire and serve. Makes one 9-inch-by-13-inch pan of bars.

— From “Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share” by Kristin Donnelly (Clarkson Potter, $27.50)

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