These Congo Bars are thick, gooey, chewy, toothsome, and the best of the best. Loaded with chocolate chips and rich with caramel flavor, this will be your go to recipe for a simple delicious snack. No mixer required.
When I was little, my Dad would make these bars that tasted like a fat, gooey, chocolate chip cookie and he called them Congo Bars. I should call them thick, gooey, magical, Congo bars because they disappear as quick as I make them.
Using dark brown sugar gives these bars a rich caramel flavor. The sugar is whisked with the butter until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and lightens in color. The butter should be warm (not hot) to melt the sugar slightly when whisking. When the butter "melts" the sugar and it's mixed properly, it gives a meringue-like topping when the bars are baked. You'll also get a good arm workout which allows you to have one (or two) with less guilt.
I don't know what's up with the price of vanilla lately, but when you bake as much as I do, you go through a bottle in no time. Because it's so expensive, I've been using bourbon as a substitute for the vanilla. It's less expensive than vanilla and tastes great so now it's my go to.
Lining the baking dish with foil allows you to lift the bars out of the pan for easy slicing. To line the pan, flip the baking dish over, then mold a piece of foil by pressing it to the underside and sides of the pan. This will shape the foil in the form of the pan. Flip the baking dish back over and place the molded piece of foil inside then butter or spray with baking spray. Of course, you can simply spray the baking dish and cut the bars directly from the pan. The first few pieces may be harder to get out, but it's not a deal breaker.
One important thing to note, these must be completely cooled before slicing to firm up a bit. Sometimes it's hard to wait - just ask my impatient family who tend to cut them while they're still warm.
My Dad would make these with walnuts. He'd grab a handful or two, chop them and add them into the batter along with the chocolate chips. You can add them if you wish.
I remember making these with my Dad and it always puts a smile on my face. I hope you create some happy memories making these Congo bars with your family.
Try some of my other delicious bars:
- Honey Nut Granola Bars
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
- Best Cocoa Brownies
- Strawberry Jam Bars
- Gooey Chewy S'mores Bars
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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Dad's Famous Congo Bars a.k.a BlondiesPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla or bourbon
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped walnuts optional
- butter or baking spray for coating baking pan
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil. Flip the baking dish over, then mold a piece of foil by pressing it to the underside and sides of the pan. This will shape the foil in the form of the pan. Flip the baking dish back over and place the molded piece of foil inside. Butter or spray with baking spray.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. The butter should be warm (not hot) to melt the sugar slightly. Mix thoroughly until completely combined and smooth. You'll know when it's properly mixed when the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and lightens in color.
- Thoroughly beat in the eggs then add vanilla.
- Add in flour mixture, chocolate chips, and walnuts (if using) and mix until combined.
- Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Better to slightly under bake than over bake.
- Let cool before slicing.
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