Do I know why these are called Congo Bars? I do not. But what I do know is that they’re an utterly irresistible thick and chewy bar loaded with two kinds of chocolate and plenty of brown sugar and butter flavor. Imagine if a blondie and a chocolate chip cookie had a baby and then you upped the chocolate a bit for good measure – you’d have these. They’re soft, they’re just gooey enough, and they’re an absolute classic.
These bars have staying power but they’re actually a vintage recipe. Congo Bars were common in church cookbooks and grandmas’ kitchens for decades and they taste every bit as good today. That’s generally a good sign that they’re perfect for things like bake sales and potlucks and parties, but I certainly don’t mind just having a tray sitting out on my own kitchen counter as an afternoon pick-me-up. (No one else in my family has complained about that either.)
Other pros? They’re easy to make. It’s a one-bowl batter where you simply cream together some butter and brown sugar before adding in eggs, vanilla, flour, etc, and then both milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. The two kinds of chocolate melt a bit differently and help ensure that you get a good hit of chocolate in every single bite but that it’s not just sweet, sweet, sweet.
These are like everything you love about a chocolate chip cookie, but richer and with a thicker, chewier bite. They’re a go-to dessert bar – easy to love, easy to make, easy to rely on.
Yield 24 bars
10m prep time
30m cook time
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and grease with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking powder and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Reduce mixer to low, then add flour. Mix until just combined.
- Stir in chocolate chunks and chocolate chips.
- Transfer dough to prepared pan and spread out with a rubber spatula. Bake until edges are set, about 30 minutes. Center will seem slightly underbaked and gooey.
- Let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely. Once cool, slice and serve. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups.