Congo Bars are like a chocolate chip cookie bar, but thicker, chewier and even more jam-packed with semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips!Jump to Recipe
Have you ever found yourself lost in an old cookbook passed down from previous generations? I love to skim through ripped, stained cookbooks my mom, mother-in-law and grandma have kept over the years.
And though there always seem to be 15 recipes for "chocolate chip cookies" and 20 recipes for "chili," what I love best is finding recipes I've never heard of.
And that's exactly where this recipe for Congo Bars comes from. I'd never heard of such a thing, but after the first time I tried them, I knew I had to share!
Though I didn't end up using the original recipe straight from the cookbook, I came up with a variation of it that you're sure to LOVE. Get ready, get set.....let's BAKE!
What are Congo Bars?
Congo bars are essentially a thicker pan of chewy chocolate chip cookie bars (aka blonde brownies) with a couple different kinds of chocolate.
Why are they called Congo Bars?
There are a few different theories of where the name originates - who knows which theory is correct! Some say these thick cookie bars are named after the "Congo Room" in Vegas and others connect it with "Congo Square" in New Orleans.
Others have said it's named after Congo in Africa, due to the unique (and totally optional) cookie bar ingredient, shredded coconut.
- Butter - I like to use salted, but feel free to use unsalted butter and add an additional ¼ teaspoon salt to the dough
- Brown Sugar - Light or dark brown sugar works great
- White Sugar
- Eggs - My recipes are always made with "large" eggs
- Vanilla Extract
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Chocolate Chips - This Congo bar recipe calls for semi-sweet chips and milk chocolate chips. However, feel free to use a combination of chopped chocolate bars, chocolate chunks, etc. to your liking! I personally love to have a couple chocolate bars chopped and pressed into the top of the bar when it comes out of the oven!
How to make Congo Bars
First, you'll want to preheat the oven and prepare your baking pan. For the pan, you can either coat it with non-stick cooking spray or lay down a layer of parchment paper for easy removal.
Next, you'll make the dough. Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then the wet ingredients will be added and mixed until combined. Finally, the dry ingredients and chocolate chips (and optional pecans and coconut) will be added and stirred until well-dispersed.
Next, you'll press the dough into the prepared baking pan. Be sure to spread all the way to the edges of the pan and even out the top layer so it bakes evenly. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips, then bake until golden brown. Pay close attention to the baking time as you want to be careful to not over-bake these!
Lastly (and trust me, the most difficult part) - wait for the Congo Bars to cool before cutting. They'll be much easier to cut once they're cool, if you can wait that long!!
How to Store Congo Bars
Congo Bars can be stored at room temperature, in the fridge or in the freezer. f you keep them at room temperature or in the fridge, just be sure to cover them well or keep in an airtight container so they don't dry out. They'll last about 5-7 days.
If you freeze them, store them in a freezer-safe baggie that is well-sealed. They'll be good for at least 2-3 months in the freezer.
Other Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies and Bars
And a quick FYI, these Congo Bars make for the BEST ice cream sundaes! I topped a couple warm Congo Bars with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and let me tell you....it's DELISH!!!
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