Looking for a soft and chewy cookie bar to make for dessert? These Congo Bars are loaded with chocolate and are easy to make with one bowl and one pan. The buttery chocolate chip cookie bars will disappear before you can even blink.
All through high school I made these chewy chocolate chip cookie bars of deliciousness for every youth group event that needed food. It was must my sure fire recipe that never failed me and was always asked for.
Every time I showed up with a pan, these cookie bars got devoured in no time at all. Then I went to college, got married, had kids, and forgot about those chocolate chip cookie bars.
Recently I was going through a box of old recipes I had kept, and I found my recipe card for these congo bars. Of course, we had to make them right away.
Why Make These Bars
Now you may think they are just a blonde brownie, so what is the big deal? I can't explain it. These classic cookie bars just have a slightly different taste than M&M blondies.
Each bar is soft and chewy and loaded with chocolate in every bite. Plus, they are easy to make with just one mixing bowl.
What are Congo Bars?
Congo bars are a vintage chocolate chip cookie bar recipe that can be found in your grandma's cookbooks and most church cookbooks. The bars are very similar to blonde brownies, but congo squares have a richer flavor.
Congo Bars Ingredients
These chocolate chip cookies bars come together quickly with just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
- Butter - We like to use unsalted butter in our recipes, so we can control the amount of salt in each one.
- Brown Sugar - Two cups give these cookie bars a soft and gooey texture that is incredible.
- Eggs - Provides the moisture needed to bake the cookies.
- Vanilla Extract - Adds flavor to the dough.
- All Purpose Flour - Gives structure and stability to the baked bars.
- Baking Powder - Provides lift to the cookie bars as they bake.
- Salt - Balances out the sweetness.
- Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips - You can also use white chips, milk chocolate chips, or dark chocolate chips if you prefer.
How to Make Congo Bars
This congo bars recipe comes together in minutes. It is easy to mix the cookie batter in one bowl using a mixer.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper.
- Beat the softened butter and light brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips gently.
- Spread the cookie batter in a prepared pan and bake.
On the Counter - Cover the pan tightly and keep on the counter at room temperature for 4-5 days.
In the Freezer - Wrap the entire block or single bars tightly in plastic wrap then place in freezer safe bags. Freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- For an amazing sweet and salty flavor, sprinkle the dough with course sea salt before baking.
- The key to these gooey bars is not to over bake them. I have always baked this recipe for 28-30 minutes. Never more, never less. This gives the bars a very slightly crunchy top and sides, but the center of the chocolate chip cookie bars stay soft and gooey.
- All ovens bake differently though, so this could affect the congo bars. We have lived in different places over the years, and I have baked them in so many different ovens, but I still stick with 28-30 minutes.
- They will look under done when you first pull them out of the oven, but trust me. Let them sit on the counter and cool completely before you touch them.
- The center will fall slightly, but this is normal. Just trust me, and do not bake them more.
- Let the cookie bars cool completely before cutting into squares. They will keep their shape better cold.
- Try a warm square with a scoop of ice cream on top. Holy cow! Cookie dough goodness with melty ice cream is pretty much the bomb!
- Use white chocolate chips to change up the flavor of the cookie bars.
- Add nuts or shredded coconut for a delicious taste.
More Cookie Bar Recipes
- Butterscotch Bars
- M&M Brownies
- Funfetti Bars
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
- Best Lemon Bars
- Blonde Brownies
- Oatmeal Fudge Bars
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(original photo from August 2010)
*The post and recipe for these Congo Bars was originally published August 24, 2010. The pictures and post was updated and republished on November 19, 2018.