October 01

Congo Bars

I’m going to be honest — I had never heard the name “Congo Bar” to describe a brownie/cookie concoction. I’m not exactly sure how the name fits it, though I am sure if I did some quick Google-ing, I’d learn quickly. Still, when I was looking for something to make for our monthly get together with The Fellow’s™ cousin, his wife, and their two kids (henceforth now referred to as The G’s™), this popped up on the talented Bakerella’s website. She’s sort of my go-to for new desserts when I’m stumped as to what to bring somewhere. The title of the entry, “I hope you have chocolate chips handy” was definitely an eye catcher – not necessarily for me, who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate – but for The G’s™. I sometimes have to remind myself that my personal taste differs from others and while I don’t think I like completely disgusting things no one else would enjoy, I do keep others in mind and pander to the masses.

Reading over Bakerella’s description and seeing the ingredients needed, I knew it was game on. Part of my neverending search for desserts and seemingly never finding anything is due to the fact that I usually don’t have too many ingredients in the house and don’t want to go buy a bunch. I typically have some sort of baking chips, obviously flours, sugars, eggs, etc., (the basics), pumpkin, molasses, honey, and that’s about it. It’s not limiting, by any means, but it ends up limiting me when I find some spiffy new recipe to try out. Or am craving a specific something I don’t have.

So with this recipe calling for all the kitchen basics, I was happy to move forward. Only, the idea of just chocolate chip Congo bars didn’t sit with me well. Just chocolate chips? Well what about peanut butter chips? What about pumpkin and cinnamon and brown sugar? What about, what about? That’s how my brain functions when I see a recipe. “What? You want me to use just carrots. To hell with that! Carrots and green beans and asparagus and onions!” Chocolate chip Congo Bars became a sugary amalgamation of chocolate, peanut butter, pumpkin, and cinnamon. Sounds like a bit of an overload – and I’m sure it was calorie wise – but taste wise, it wasn’t teeth rotting at all. I can’t stand sweets that are so sweet your teeth ache after taking a bite. Not sure anyone likes sweet that sweet, but who knows.

I bring you, dressed up Congo Bars.

Congo Bars

source:  Bakerella’s [I Hope You Have Chocolate Chips Handy/Congo Bars]


2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Reese’s peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin
1 Tablespoon cinnamon


By mixer:

1) Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

2) Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.

3) Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.

4) Add vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin and mix.

5) Add flour and mix until combined.

6) Stir in chips and then pecans (if using).

By hand:

1) Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

2) Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.

3) Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.

4) Add vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.

5) Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.