Thursday, November 03, 2022

Cookies and Cups: Congo Bars

I was absolutely on board with making a type of cookie bar, but when I saw the name, I must admit to hesitating.  Occasionally I come across these things in older recipes passed down from a different time in this country, so I did some googling to see what I was getting myself into.  Looks like the name could come from the Congo Room in Vegas, Congo Square in NOLA, or maybe Africa because it has coconut, and to 1950's housewives, coconut absolutely = Africa. (Interestingly, Indonesia is the biggest exporter of coconut, with India and the Philippines hot on their tail.  The more you know.)  All this to say that this cookie bar is delicious, I love the addition of coconut, and if the name makes you squeamish, just called them Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars.  Done.

Congo Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups blog

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  As soon as it is mostly melted, remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.  Add the dark and light brown sugars and mix well. Add in the vanilla and almond extract (if using), then mix in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the salt, baking powder, and flour, and mix well until all of the flour is incorporated.  Add the coconut and chocolate chips and mix well to distribute.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are set and lightly golden.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.

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