Thick, ooey, gooey Congo bars filled with melty chocolate are an easy classic cookie to whip up!
What are Congo bars?
Congo bars are similar to “blonde brownies,” or “blondies.” They are like chocolate chip bar cookies with brown sugar, and extra egg, and extra chocolate for ooey gooey greatness.
Typically, these blondies also have walnuts, but my kids are picky about such things.
Why are they called Congo Bars?
There are multiple theories why these are called Congo Bars, which have no direct association with Africa. One such theory is that the name refers to the same semi-mythical “Congo” that inspired the Congo Room in Vegas. Another theory is that mothers and grandmothers made the bars to send to their soldiers in Vietnam’s Congo.
In the ’80s, the US army developed chocolate bars that melted at a high temperature to send to soldiers as rations, dubbed the “Congo Bar.” However, this post dates the popular lunch box favorite.
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TOOLS YOU’LL NEED FOR THE BLONDIES RECIPE
To make these bar cookies, you’ll need a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. I usually recommend metal pans for cookies, but as I don’t own a good metal pan this size, I used my handy glass baking dish.
Line your baking dish with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
While our recipes provide both the metric and non-metric amounts, for best results, we recommend a digital scale.
I use an oven thermometer for accuracy. (This is how I know my oven runs 25 degrees cold.)
VARIATIONS for THE BARS
There are several ways to personalize this Congo Bars recipe.
- Stir in 1 to 2 cups of toasted coconut before baking.
- Instead of 2 cups of light brown sugar, try using 1 cup each of light and dark brown sugar.
- Here, I use semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips. Feel free to mix up the chocolate and try dark chocolate or even white chocolate chips.
- Stir in 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts when adding the chocolate chips.
STORING BAR COOKIES
Store your cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. You may also store in the refrigerator to earn a couple extra days.