Congo Bars – Rich and chewy, and of course loaded with chocolate, these decadent Congo Bars are the perfect dessert for any chocolate lover. Made with two kinds of chocolate chips, warm vanilla and brown sugar, and baked into bite sized bars, family and friends won’t be able to put these down. Whip up a batch for a fun get together or for a cozy movie night in!
Leave your basic chocolate chip cookies in the past and level up your new year with a pan of freshly baked Congo Bars! Ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie bars are warm and comforting, which is exactly what’s needed in the middle of a cold winter.
Customize your bars with extra add-ins like caramel pieces and nuts or swap out the milk chocolate completely and try white chocolate and dried fruit. Congo Bars may not be a new recipe, but they’ll definitely make the new year better!
- butter: Unsalted and at room temperature.
- light brown sugar: Try using light and dark brown sugar for an even richer caramel flavor.
- sugar: Classic white granulated.
- eggs: The increased amount of eggs will give these bars the best chewy texture.
- vanilla extract: For that sweet, warm flavor.
- all-purpose flour: You can substitute your gluten free favorite if needed (just note the texture of the final dessert may be a little different).
- baking powder: To help your cookie bars rise.
- salt: To bring out the depth of flavor in the chocolate.
- milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips: Double the chocolate, double the deliciousness.
How to Make Congo Bars
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer (or stand) to cream the butter until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and continue to whip until light in color and completely combined.
- Now add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until completely incorporated.
- Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until a thick dough forms. Use a spatula to carefully fold in both kinds of chocolate chips.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light and golden on top. It’s okay if the bars don’t look completely done in the center. You want them a bit gooey as they’ll continue to set once you remove the pan from the oven. This allows them to stay soft and chewy.
- Allow the bars to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or warm cup of coffee!
Tips and Variations
- Congo Bars can be totally customized when it comes to add-ins! Try some of these combinations:
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and walnuts
- White chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and almonds
- Peanut butter cups and pretzel pieces
- Any dried fruit of your choice, coconut, and dark chocolate
- Try drizzling caramel and a touch of sea salt over top after baking
- If you prefer a more crisp cookie bar as opposed to gooey, bake in the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- You can chill the bars before slicing for a cleaner cut.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Leftover Congo Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for about a week.
Freezer: Make sure the Congo Bars are completely cool. Then cut them into individual servings and freezer in a plastic bag or freezer safe container. Make sure to plastic pieces of parchment paper between the bars to prevent sticking. If you’d prefer to freeze the entire pan, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The bars should stay fresh for about 2 months.
Reheating: If you’d like your Congo Bar warmed up after baking, simply pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds until warmed through.
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- ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter until fluffy. Then, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar, and mix until combined.¾ cup unsalted butter1 ½ cup light brown sugar¼ cup granulated sugar
- Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until completely incorporated.3 large eggs2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until a thick dough forms. Use a spatula to fold in both kinds of chocolate chips.2 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder½ teaspoon kosher salt1 cup milk chocolate chips1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Press the dough into the prepared baking pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light and golden on top.
- Allow the bars to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- See post for storage options.