Cookies & Cups > Recipes > Congo Bars

Congo Bars

Congo Bars are soft and gooey chocolate chip cookie bars made with 2 kinds of chocolate. Using both light and dark brown sugar gives them an extra rich caramel flavor that sets them apart.

Congo Bars Are Just Like Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars…But Better!

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.

They’re actually just an extra special version of a chocolate chip cookie bar. This is a totally nostalgic recipe that I snagged out of my Grandma’s recipe box. Leave it to the 80s to take an everyday kind of recipe and give it a fancy name.

But What Are Congo Bars?

So like I said, they’re basically a chocolate chip cookie baked into a bar dessert…with a few minor tweaks:

  • 2 kinds of chocolate! I mean why just use semi sweet chocolate when you can also use milk chocolate! AND I’m using chunk and chips too…we’re going big today!
  • 2 kinds of brown sugar! Let’s up the richness and caramel favor by adding both dark and light brown sugar. No boring granulated today folks.
  • An extra egg. Ok this is minor, but it’s important in this recipe, as it affects the texture and richness. And since we’re baking these as bars, the extra egg adds a little more chewiness that works!
Chocolate chip cookie bars cut into squares from above

Ingredients List:

  • butter
  • brown sugar: light and dark
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • kosher salt
  • baking powder
  • all purpose flour
  • semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or even chopped chocolate)
  • milk chocolate chips (or chopped milk chocolate)

congocookiedough

Instructions:

  1. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat the butter and both light and dark brown sugar together in your stand or hand mixer. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix for an additional minute and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add in the flour and mix until just combined.
  3. Stir in all the chocolate and spread the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F or until the edges are set and lightly golden and the center appears slightly under-baked.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.

How Do You Know When They’re Done?

You might think I listed the bake time wrong because after 30 minutes they might not seem quite done in the centers. But trust me no this, they will seem a little gooey, but that’s ok. As they cool they will stay soft and delicious.

If you bake them until they look completely done in the centers they will end up a little dry, which is not what we want.

Two stacked chocolate chip cookie bars with a bite taken out

Love Bar Cookies? Check Out Some of My Other Recipes Too!

 

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Congo bars cut and stacked with milk and semi sweet chocolate

Congo Bars

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x
  • Category: Cookie Bar
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Description

Congo Bars are an amped up chocolate chip cookie bar with 2 types of chocolate to make them extra gooey!


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and the light and dark brown sugars together for 2 minutes on medium speed. 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.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until just combined.
  4. Finally add in both kinds of chocolate and stir to incorporate.
  5. Spread the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are set and lightly golden and the center appears slightly under-baked.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.
  7. Alternately you can chill the bars before cutting.

Notes

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

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 303
  • Sugar: 29.5 g
  • Sodium: 68 mg
  • Fat: 14.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.5 g
  • Protein: 3.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 44.4 mg

Keywords: cookies and cups, cookie bars, congo bars, chocolate chip cookie bars, chocolate chips

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47 comments on “Congo Bars”

  1. Brought these babies to a pool gathering yesterday. Everyone loved them. They’re a step above cc cookie bars! They were confused by the name, however. Lol

  2. Congo bars were given the name because Mothers and Grandmothers made them to send to the troops in Vietnam (the Congo)during the war! They held up better than cookies! My recipe calls for one Pound of brown sugar (dark), also melted in the margarine (!) not butter. I got the recipe from a friend’s mother in 1970.
    Thanks for bringing back the great memory!

    1. Thank you Kathy Z for the history of how Congo Bars got it’s name. I never knew that. My grandmother made them when I was little (in the 70’s) & I’ve been using her recipe for years. 🙂

    2. Thanks for that interesting information! I was wondering where on earth that name came from for what seems like a giant chocolate chip cookie lol! Going to try them they look fantastic!

    3. Was Vietnam called “the Congo” colloquially? That’s strange – the Congo was a free state in Africa around teh turn of the century, not in Southeast Asia.

  3. Carrie Johnson

    Unfortunately neither my son nor I liked these. They have way too much sugar and gave us both a stomachache. Looking at similar recipies I found don’t have as much sugar. They sure look good tho.

  4. Congo Bars have been a family tradition for over 65 years, they are the best cookie ever!

  5. I made this recipe on Tuesday and they are gone on Thursday. I would not change a thing! We all loved them and I will definitely make them again.

  6. Oh muh gow! (This is OMG with a mouthful of Congo Bar). These were amazing! They have now become our go-to cookie.
    I used Light Brown Truvia instead of the light brown sugar, but left the dark brown sugar (Truvia doesn’t make that). This meant I reduced the chips and chunks SLIGHTLY due to reduced total batter (Truvia requires half the volume for same sweetness). Bake time was a bit longer because Truvia makes a goopier batter. They came out terrific and earned me lots of praise.

  7. Omg, delicious, didn’t have dark brown sugar, used all light, added mini m and ms with chocolate chips, my family loved them

    1. My recipe only calls for a box of light brown sugar. I’ve raised our 4 kids on these! I’m 68 years old.

  8. My mom and then me have been making Congo Squares since the 60’s. Recipes a lil different we melt the butter and use a pound of brown sugar.

  9. I love the idea of cookies in one pan! I love chocolate chip cookies but hate making them after the first batch. By the last batch I have huge cookies because I’m just over it. Anyone else? ? baking these right now. My 3 year old and I taste tested the batter and theY were yummy. Can’t wait to try the bars! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’ve made this twice now. The first time I baked this, I didn’t have semi-sweet baking melts, chunks, or milk chocolate chips, so I improvised using 12 ounces (three 4 ounce packages) of Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate baking chocolate that I cut up into chunks (it made two cups), and plain M&Ms for the milk chocolate chips. It was a hit! It was so good, I did the same thing a second time! Thank you!

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