Congo Bars

Congo Bars are super gooey, soft and packed with both semi-sweet and milk chocolate.

So Congo Bars…I have no idea where the name came from. They sound like they are super exotic and should maybe have some weird fruit ingredient that you could only buy online. Well folks, sorry to disappoint.

You should know me well enough by now that if a recipe calls for an “exotic” ingredient I will not be making it. Ain’t nobody got time to be hunting down a rare fruit, spice or grain that no one has ever heard of. And yes, I AM sure Amazon carries all the rare fruit nuts you need, but there are some cravings even Amazon Prime can’t fix.

Luckily Congo Bars aren’t exotic or rare. They’re actually just an extra special version of a chocolate chip cookie bar. This is a totally 80s-tastic recipe that I snagged out of my Grandma’s recipe box. Her handwritten note-card didn’t tell why they are called Congo Bars, but when I saw the list of ingredients I gave about zero cares of their name-origin and just wanted them in my oven asap.

They’re extra soft, packed with chocolate and under-baked just enough to make them the right amount of gooey.

ps – if gooey isn’t your thing, just chill them and slice, which is what I did for the pictures. I ate about 13 before they were cooled and had so much chocolate everywhere I had to step away and allow entropy to run its course. Boom science.

Congo Bars are gooey, soft and packed with chocolate! Love a vintage recipe!

I switched up my Gram’s recipe oh so slightly. I used a mix of light and dark brown sugar…


And I also used these fantastic “Baking Melts” I found (yep) at my local supermarket.


If you can’t find the baking melts, just use chocolate chunks. It’ll be fine.

Oh and I added some milk chocolate too…because why the heck not.


Just spread the simple dough into a foil lined (and sprayed) 9×13 pan.


When they’re baked you will think they aren’t *quite done. They are. Promise. If you bake them long enough they look done, they’re overdone. It’s not as confusing as it sounds.

Once they’re done you will want to let them cool. They will be ooey gooey, but oh so good.

Like I said, if you want pretty slices go ahead and chill them until they are completely set.

Congo Bars are gooey, soft and packed with chocolate! Love a vintage recipe!

You guys. They’re stunning.

Congo Bars are gooey, soft and packed with chocolate! Love a vintage recipe!

I wish I had a better shot of the melty chocolate fresh out of the oven…because ohhhhh.

But either way, these are a keeper!


Congo Bars

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi-sweet baking melts or chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and coat liberally with nonstick spray.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and both sugars for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix for an additional minute on medium, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until just combined.
  5. Finally add in the baking melts or chunks and the milk chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are set and litghly golden and the center appears slightly underbaked.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.
  8. Alternately you can chill the bars before cutting.


store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

26 Responses

  1. kris

    Congo Bars: “Don’t deny that jungle beat–congo bars are good to eat!”

    Recipe by Margaret Fox in her 1984 cookbook: Cafe Beaujolais, p.206. The above recipe pretty close to Margaret’s recipe–she uses walnuts as well. But I always use pecans.(no coconut in original recipe)

    You can read how they came to be called Congo Bars, too long to explain here. Doesn’t make much sense though, and we always called them Blondies in this household.

    Cafe Beaujolais is in Mendocino, California. Her recipe has been one of the pillars of my family’s favorite sweets.

  2. Sarah

    They’re cooking in the iven as I’m typing this. It’s such a great alternative to cookies : they’re faster and they use fewer dishes *.* I shall send you a picture on instagram when they are done 🙂

  3. Shawna

    This is my second time making your delicious recipe. Thank you for sharing! I just use what I have on hand for chocolate, which is semi-sweet usually, and add nuts to ours. Last time I threw peanut butter chips in too. I was out this time. The bars are very moist and chewy. Exactly what I was looking for. I’ve tried several cookie bar recipes over the years, and yours is a keeper.

  4. Bonnie Saxton

    I got my recipe in the 60’s from my friends mother. I lost it years ago and am excited to see yours. It seems to be very similar so am going to try it very soon. Thank you for this post.

  5. Charlene

    The recipe calls for use of baking powder. Can I use baking soda? Is it the same thing or can it substitute with similar results?

    1. Shelly

      You can’t sub them in equally, but you can sub in 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for every 1 teaspoon of baking powder

  6. Kerri Buckley

    Hey, Congo Bars were chef and glorious restaurateur Margaret Fix’s recipe, at her famous restaurant Cafe Beaujolais and in her cookbook of the same name, so you should give her credit. In fact, you are legally required to do so.

  7. Katherine

    These are absolutely delicious! I love the warmth that dark brown sugar adds! Unfortunately I was out of chocolate chips, but I had white chocolate, so I substituted that. Still amazing! I love how caramelly the dough tastes! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Farah

    Made this countless of times! We all love it. The best congo bar recipe. Thank you ever so much for sharing this with us. ??

  9. Karina

    Thank you for ending a longtime hunt! My aunt made these for me when we visited (in the early 60’s so this can’t be Margaret’s invention) and I have been searching for the recipe! Again, thank you. I’m going to do all chocolate chips though, just to emulate her offering!

  10. Tracy S.

    I love these!! This was a family favorite treat when I was a kid. My mom had the recipe in a church cookbook that was published before the family moved (from Michigan) to Seattle in the early ’50’s.
    I love that this popped up on Pinterest today! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Eve

    Made these tonight and not only are they beautiful but also moist and tasty! Great recipe! I did 1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chunks, 3/4 c. milk choc/PB chips mix, and 3/4 c. chopped pecans in mine. <3

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