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 once I did, I knew I'd love them. Though I didn't end up using the 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!
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.
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 cooking spray or lay down a layer of parchment paper for easy removal.
Next, you'll make the batter. The butter and sugars will be mixed until light and fluffy. Then the eggs and vanilla 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.
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. If you keep them at room temperature or in the fridge, just be sure to cover them well 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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- 1 c salted butter softened
- 1 ¼ c brown sugar
- ½ c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 c all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips
- 1 c milk chocolate chips + additional chips for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, brown sugar and sugar; mix until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until incorporated.
- Add 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips (save the rest for the top) and the milk chocolate chips and stir.
- Spread the cookie dough into the prepared 9x13" pan and smooth out the top.
- Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden-brown.
- Let cool, then cut into squares and enjoy!