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.

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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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!

Beth Levin
Beth Levin

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!


You gotta be kidding… 5 days in the fridge????? How about 5 hours!!!


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

Tracy S.
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!


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!


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


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!

Kerri Buckley
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.



Helen Winchester Watson Bryant
Helen Winchester Watson Bryant

Hi Hi I am Helen Winchester Watson Bryant. and I LOVE to cook for my Darlin Grandchildren. XO XO XO


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?

Bonnie Saxton
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.


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.


so maybe this sounds silly, but how do I know at what temperature to set the oven?

Laura @ Laura

Yum! Yeah for finding delicious recipes in grandmothers’ recipe boxes!


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 🙂


Underbaked should be my middle name. These look delicious!!!!


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.


It’s because back in the day they had coconut in them. Coconut, jungle, Congo.

A congo bar is a variation of a blondie apparently.


I love that desert rock look that the melts give them! And um, underbaked? Best kind of cookie, hands down. Pining. I meant, uh….I’m pinning them. 🙂

Jessica - The Novice Chef

Super gooey and full of chocolate? I am SOLD. I totally won’t be thinking about the name when I shove these in my face.


Things I give zero cares about: calories, dieters, and how long a recipe takes if it is delicious. Well done, lady!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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