Congo Bars Recipe | The Recipe Critic
Congo Bars are soft and chewy, filled with chocolate chips and nuts. They’re like a gooey chocolate chip cookie in bar form and will have you savoring every bite!
Oh, cookie bars. I never tire of it! Serve them on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top to add a little sweetness to your day. If you like those congo bars, you’ll also have to try the brown butter blondies, sugar cookie bars, and snickerdoodle bars!
Congo bars recipe
This congo bars recipe comes from one of my favorite neighbors. (Shouout to the Merrills!) This is their family recipe and honestly, it’s one of the best cookie bar recipes I’ve ever made. One of my son’s favorite memories was going to their house after church and having a hot, gooey congo bar. My favorite part was when he brought me an extra one home.
If you’ve never tried a congo bar before, they’re basically chocolate chip cookie bars, but with a little extra flair. They’re usually made with things like chopped nuts or coconut for extra texture, and let me tell you…they’re what dreams are made of. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate chip cookies, but something about making bars instead is so appealing! All you have to do is add your dough to a baking dish and bake. It’s so easy, no formatting required! It also makes congo bars perfect for large gatherings, and trust me, everyone is going to love them! They are buttery, soft and filled with melty milk chocolate and nuts. (Translation: everything a cookie bar should be.)
What you will need to craft them
Good news – congo bars use all your standard baking ingredients, so you might not need to go to the grocery store! It’s time to raid your pantry and whip up a delicious batch of buttery chocolate delights. See recipe card below for exact measurements.
- All purpose flour: This is the backbone of the recipe – the flour gives structure to the congo bars.
- Baking powder: The baking powder is what makes the congo bars soar and make them all puffy and delicious. Do not substitute baking soda with baking powder, as they have different chemical properties and will affect the outcome of the recipe.
- Salt: Just a pinch to make cookie bars nice and tasty!
- Butter without salt: Since we add salt separately, unsalted butter is the way to go. Butter adds moisture and richness to congo bars.
- brown sugar: The brown sugar gives the bars a caramel-like sweetness and chewy texture.
- Large eggs: The eggs provide structure and help bind the other ingredients together. Use room temperature eggs so they mix more easily into the batter and create a smooth, even texture.
- Vanilla extract: Helps enhance the overall flavor of the bars. It adds a touch of warmth and softness as well!
- Milk Chocolate Chips: Chocolate chips are a classic addition to congo bars – they deliver bursts of sweet, gooey goodness in every bite. If you don’t have milk chocolate chips, you can try using dark, semi-sweet, caramel, or white chocolate chips instead. You can also use chocolate chunks if you like, this will give the bars a bit more texture.
- Nut: (Optional) Walnuts add crunch and nuttiness to congo bars. If you don’t like nuts, you can try using pecans or almonds instead, or omit the nuts altogether.
How to Make Congo Bars
It’s just as easy, if not easier, than making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Get ready to meet your new potluck staple! These are so simple to put together and always a hit wherever they go.
- Preheat the oven, prepare the pan: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Mix the wet ingredients: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined.
- Combine: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Bake: Add the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, no more. If baked longer, the bars will become dry and crumbly.
- Chill and Enjoy: Let cool before cutting and serving.
Tips and tricks
Congo bars are super easy and simple to make, but here are a few more things to keep in mind to make them perfect. You’ll want to keep the whole pan to yourself!
- Mix only until combined: Mix everything together until incorporated, but don’t overmix. Overmixing will make the congo bars tough.
- Personalize: Don’t like nuts? Substitute pecans, almonds, or any other nut you prefer. Same thing with chocolate chips: feel free to substitute milk chocolate for semi-sweet chocolate chips or any mix of other types of chocolate chips you like.
- Toppings: Want to make your congo bars even more gourmet? Add a drizzle of caramel sauce or white chocolate sauce!
- Do not overcook! Really, don’t overcook them. They will continue to bake after they come out of the oven, so if you bake them longer in the oven, they will end up dry and crumbly.
How long do Congo bars last?
At my place, never long enough to have leftovers. If you’re lucky enough to still have a few of these delicious bars, here’s how to keep them soft and chewy.
- At room temperature: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- In the freezer: Congo bars can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Leave at room temperature overnight to thaw.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Add the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, no more. If baked longer, the bars will become dry and crumbly.
Let cool before cutting and serving.
calories583calories (29%)Carbohydrates85g (28%)Protein7g (14%)Fat25g (38%)Saturated fat12g (60%)Polyunsaturated fats5gMonounsaturated fat4gtrans fat0.5gCholesterol73mg (24%)Sodium147mg (6%)Potassium231mg (7%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar59g (66%)Vitamin A444UI (9%)Vitamin C0.3mgCalcium128mg (13%)Iron3mg (17%)
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is an estimate only. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and serving sizes per household.