Big Pan of Congo Bars

Some notes on Congo Bars.  The original recipe didn’t have vanilla, so I added 1 teaspoon. It also didn’t specify what type of butter to use, and since salted was all I had left, I used that. My bars were on the salty side of good, so I recommend using unsalted.  But minor issues aside, these were excellent.  What I like about this recipe is it’s very simple, yet classy and easy to dress up.  Make them with very fresh brown sugar, fresh toasted nuts and the best chocolate you can afford and take them anywhere.

Congo Bars

Congo Bars

11 tablespoons (154 grams) butter, melted and cooled (unsalted)
1 pound (456 grams) light brown sugar (2 cups, packed)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (340 grams) all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz. (284 grams) bittersweet chocolate, cut in chunks
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup coconut, optional

Preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10×15 inch pan or line with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, then stir in the chocolate and nuts.
Spread the batter as evenly as possible into the prepared pan, patting it out with hands if necessary.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until a deep golden brown or the coconut just begins to brown. Cool briefly, then score into triangle while still warm. When completely cool, pull apart.

Makes 1 15×10 inch pan (yield depends on how big you cut them).

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  1. Jennifer says

    Mmm… those look so good. I don’t have a 10 by 15 pan so I’ll have to cut the recipe in 1/2, too.

    Is the texture different than that of blondies?

  2. Sue says

    It looks like they turned out great! If you make the Williams Sonoma recipe, you’ll have to either post about it, or let me know how they compare. I’m curious.

  3. says

    Chocolate Lover, is that your site? Those chocolates look amazing. I’m hungry now.

    Jennifer, the texture is kind of like blondies, but not quite as rich and better suited to hold a bunch of good chocolate and nuts. In other words, the nuts and chocolate are what’s showcased here so I probably wouldn’t make these with every day chocolate. What’s really surprising is that even with a pound of sugar, these aren’t overly sweet. Or maybe my sweetness perceptions are askew. I did just make a Coca Cola cake! I think anything would seem less sweet next to that.

    Sue, I’m posting the recipe here in the comments so people can choose which one they want to make. I will try this one too. Looks like it is

    1) thicker — pan size is smaller
    2) less salt
    3) little more butter
    4) little more brown sugar

    Congo Squares from Williams Sonoma

    2 3/4 c.(345 g.) all purpose flour, sifted before measuring
    2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3/4 c. (180 g) unsalted butter, at room temp.
    2 1/3 cups (500 g.) firmly packed dark brown sugar
    3 extra large eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 c. semi sweet or milk chocolate chips ( I always use semisweet)
    1 1/4 cups (155 g) pecan halves, coursely chopped

    Preheat oven to 350
    Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
    Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    Place butter and brown sugar ina large bowl. Mix together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
    Beat in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
    Bake until the top looks dry. 40-45 min. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, then cut into squares.

    Makes about 4 dozen squares.


  4. Jennifer says

    I made these last night. I don’t have a 10 by 15 pan, so I split the dough (batter?) between two pans, an eight inch square and a nine inch square. I only added coconut to one as my kids are coconut haters (weirdos!). Since one of my pans was glass I turned the temp down to 325, and it seemed they took a bit longer to cook, 27-30 minutes.

    Thanks for the recipe-so good!

  5. says

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for the tip on the glass pan. I’ve noticed a lot of people like using glass, so now we know to turn the heat down and bake longer if needed. I hope people read the comment section here because people always post such good tips.

    Blake, thanks for letting me know.

    At some point, I’d like to try the Williams Sonoma version.

    Last night I found another very similar version in The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook. The recipes is similar, but uses 2/3 cup of oil in place of butter. There’s another difference two, but I can’t remember. At any rate, someone wrote “blech” or “blah” next to the recipe, so I don’t plan on trying the all-oil version.

  6. AImee says

    okayyy well this is really helpfull im 12
    and doing a project on africa im bringing in some finger food and i heard this would be best everyone in my class can enjoyy but i havee to say im not the best cooker in the worldd but thankss i hope they turn out good!

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