Congo Bars

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Loaded with chocolate, nuts, and coconut, Congo Bars hit all the right notes. Some say nothing else even comes close to how good they are. No mixer is required and, like other bar cookies, they travel well!

Congo bars on a cooling rack.

Congo Bars, aka Congo Squares, seem to be everyone’s favorite long-lost vintage cookie recipe from their childhoods. They’re similar to Blondies, but with a little extra oomph. When you’re craving something rich and gooey, but with unbeatable texture, this cookie is it.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled congo bar ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Shredded coconut: I prefer the sweetened kind here but unsweetened is good too. For extra crunch, toast the coconut.
  • Pecans: Halves or pieces are fine, just toast the pecans for extra crunch and flavor. Or, substitute a different nut such as walnuts or hazelnuts.
  • Chocolate chips: The recipe calls for semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, but you can substitute dark chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch chips, or even chopped bar chocolate.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, line a baking pan with foil and grease it up with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    A 9x13-inch pan lined with a foil sling.
  2. In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another larger bowl, mix the butter and sugar together. Next, add the eggs and vanilla.
    Congo bar ingredients in a silver bowl being mixed together.
  3. Then gently mix in coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips.
    Congo bar ingredients in a silver bowl being mixed together.
  4. Next, spread the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Maybe add a few extra chips and nuts pressed into the top, for looks.
    Congo bar batter in a baking pan.
  5. Bake about 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cookies comes out a tiny bit moist, with only a few crumbs still attached.
    Congo bars uncut in baking pan.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Toasting: Toasted coconut and roasted nuts add amazing, next-level crunch and taste.
  • Clean-cut bars: Because the pan is lined with a foil sling, it’s really easy to lift all the bars completely out of the pan. For the cleanest, easiest cuts, cool the bars completely. By the way, this recipe makes two dozen 2 1/2″-square bars, but you can cut them smaller (or larger) if you like.
  • Make ahead:  Store Congo Bars in an airtight container at room temperature and they’ll last about a week.
  • Freezing: I like to wrap up cut bars individually, and stash them in a freezer bag. They’ll keep about 3 months.

Congo bars on a cooling rack.

More world-class bar cookie recipes:

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Congo bars on a cooling rack.

Congo Bars

Loaded with chocolate, nuts, and coconut, Congo Bars hit all the right notes. Some say nothing else even comes close to how good they are. No mixer is required and, like other bar cookies, they travel well! 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 238
5 from 10 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with a foil sling or parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. 
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips.  
  • Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with a few crumbs attached, about 22 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking time.
  • Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove from pan using foil sling and cut into 24 squares. 

Notes

  1. Shredded coconut: I prefer the sweetened kind here but unsweetened is good too. For extra crunch, toast the coconut.
  2. Pecans: Halves or pieces are fine, just toast the pecans for extra crunch and flavor. Or, substitute a different nut such as walnuts or hazelnuts.
  3. Chocolate chips: The recipe calls for semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, but you can substitute dark chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch chips, or even chopped bar chocolate.
  4. Toasting: Toasted coconut and roasted nuts add amazing, next-level crunch and taste.
  5. Clean-cut bars: Because the pan is lined with a foil sling, it's really easy to lift all the bars completely out of the pan. For the cleanest, easiest cuts, cool the bars completely. By the way, this recipe makes two dozen 2 1/2"-square bars, but you can cut them smaller (or larger) if you like.
  6. Make ahead:  Store Congo Bars in an airtight container at room temperature and they'll last about a week.
  7. Freezing: I like to wrap up cut bars individually, and stash them in a freezer bag. They'll keep about 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 161mgPotassium: 103mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 279IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. These are a WOW!, for sure. Substituted roasted pepitas for nuts. Appreciate all the notes, they’re really helpful. Cut into smaller bars because of the richness. Really, really excellent bars. Thank you.5 stars

  2. Would it work to use oil instead of the melted and cooled butter? Or maybe a mixture of oil and nonfat yogurt?

    1. Hi Julie, I haven’t substituted the butter in this recipe. I think it would work, but I can’t say for sure without trying it myself and I wouldn’t want your bars to be ruined. Sorry about that! – Meggan

  3. I’m a total coconut lover so I couldn’t wait to try these! WOW were they fantastic! Thanks for all the pictures, it really helps!5 stars