Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I hope you have chocolate chips handy


They’re cookies. They’re brownies. They’re brookies. Whatever you want to call them they’re good. They combine the taste of a chocolate chip cookie and with the texture of a moist brownie. The best of both worlds. Actually, they do have a name. They’re called Congo Bars. Wait… I think I just heard a bunch of you go “oh, yeah … I’ve had those before.”

Well, I had them for the first time the other day. My friend Lori gave me one to try and I subsequently held her hostage until she gave me the recipe

Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been and how I could have gone this long without tasting easy treats like this. What else am I missing out on?


Here’s all the ingredients. Simple stuff.


If you follow the directions in the recipe, you combine everything by hand, but I decided to use my mixer and let it do all the work. They were yummy, but not completely the same texture as Lori’s. So I made them a second time the very next day and did it her way. I like how they came out when stirring by hand better, but either way they’re really good.


Look at that beautifully thick batter.


Spread it all out in a 13 X 9 pan and bake for about 30 minutes.


Cool and cut.


These are from the first batch. You can’t really tell by the photos, but the texture is different from the ones below.


These are from the second batch and slightly… just slightly, more cakey when you sink your teeth in.

At first I thought it was just a difference in baking time, but Lori also made a batch using a mixer without knowing that was how I made mine and both of ours came out the same.

She likes the mixing by hand method better, too. Again, this is a subtle difference, just thought I’d share.

The great thing about these bars is that you can mix in different additions if you want.


How about butterscotch or peanut butter chips?


M&M’s maybe.


You could even cut up a few caramel candies into small pieces if you wanted a chewy surprise inside.

Customize, baby.


Here’s the recipe Lori uses. She’s tried several, but settled on this one she found somewhere on the internet. If you google Congo Bars, you should find a bunch of variations to play with.

Congo Bars

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar (Oh my and thank you!)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

By mixer:

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips and then pecans.

By hand:

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
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.
Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.
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.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

UPDATE: Hey guys. Seems some of you are having mixed results. Most find these awesome, but some say they’re not done at 30 minutes. I’m starting to think my oven runs hotter than most. So, if the bars aren’t done at 30 minutes and the tops feel like they are getting too brown, then place a sheet of aluminum foil on top and bake a little longer. Use a toothpick to insert and check for doneness before removing from the oven. Also make sure you sifted the dry ingredients and used room temp butter, not melted. The batter should be thick like the photo above.

Abby said...

Yum! In my neck of the woods we call them blondies. And I am now officially making some this weekend. Thanks!

May 12, 2010 11:40 PM
D said...

LOL on the brookies. I have tried something similar and they ended up terrible!! I’ll give these a shot, though!

May 12, 2010 11:40 PM
Pamela Susan said...

OH MY…these look absolutely deeelish!

May 12, 2010 11:42 PM
Leigh said...

Yum!!! And who DOESN’T keep chocolate chips handy at all times???

May 12, 2010 11:42 PM
Claire from NY said...

OMG!!! I love the name and specially it’s because it looks soooooooo delish. I need to make some, I have to make some… NOOOO, I need to make some, LOL!
I will, tomorrow, I’m going to bed now.
Thanks so much!

May 12, 2010 11:43 PM
Jennifer said...

Mmmmm. I have had chocolate chip bar cookies before, but these look even more fabulous. I am going to the grocery store first thing in the morning! ;)

May 12, 2010 11:43 PM
BelleBakes said...

I call them Blondies too!! They are so super yummy… I totally forgot about them! Thanks for the reminder!

May 12, 2010 11:43 PM
Jennifer said...

Oh, my. Wait. Does that say ONE POUND of brown sugar? Holy mackeral. And yum!

May 12, 2010 11:44 PM
Vanessa s. said...

can i just say that your amazing!! i’m going to have to try these VERY soon LOL =)

May 12, 2010 11:46 PM
Tasha said...

Man, those look so dang delicious!!!! I wish I weren’t on a road trip currently so I can bake these bad boys!

May 12, 2010 11:47 PM
libby said...

YUMMMY! too bad I started weight watchers this week. they look amazing!!

May 12, 2010 11:48 PM
Bakingdom said...

Mmmm! I love all things chocolate chip cookie-ish! I am always searching for the perfect one too (I just made my current fave today)! I will have to try these very, very soon! Thanks!

May 12, 2010 11:49 PM
Satpreet Kahlon said...

I just pulled these out of my oven. As in “I can still hear my oven clicking as it cools down” just.

Serendipitous, no?

May 12, 2010 11:50 PM
Pamela Smerker said...

yummers…wonder if I have time to make this too before this weekend.

May 12, 2010 11:51 PM
Liz said...

wow. I want some NOW. This is going on my very long list of things I must bake immediately.
This reminds me of your cookie pie. I made it for my birthday this past March and it was a HUGE hit!

May 12, 2010 11:52 PM
Emily H. said...

Holy crap! If only I weren’t swamped with work I’d make these RIGHT NOW. Hold on while I wipe the drool from my keyboard…

May 12, 2010 11:53 PM
DigiMom said...

Wow, these look amazing! Cookies are my all time favorite homemade treat, but these look so yummy! I’m going to have to make this recipe for our family reunion so I can share. Thanks!

May 12, 2010 11:53 PM
Amy Hellen said...

These are a favorite in our house….A receipe my mom used to make. I thought it was because she was a fantastic cook – she tells me now that it was because she had three kids. She had to throw the batter in the pan because we would have made her crazy if she were doing drop cookies. A fantastic receipe – happy to see it here!

May 12, 2010 11:54 PM
Michelle said...

I’ve been making these for years! Maybe I’ll make those for my “We are new to the neighborhood, Hi!” package for our new neighbors.

May 12, 2010 11:55 PM
TheFeministBreeder said...

I just noticed you have the same measuring spoons as me, and something about this makes me giddy. :)

May 12, 2010 11:55 PM
megacrafty said...

Oh those look so good. My MIL makes them- but we call them pan cookies. (They are my hubbies favorite!)

May 12, 2010 11:55 PM
Tiffany E said...

My little guy’s school has these for dessert sometimes. I love to go eat lunch on days when they have congo bars. Now, I can make them at home too!!! Yum! Thanks. I can’t wait!!! {I need to go & get some more milk chocolate chips.}

May 12, 2010 11:57 PM
Daphne Law said...

They looks so yummy! Recipe sounds simple enough as well. I shall try to make them next week if I have time.

May 12, 2010 11:59 PM
Mirna Guerrero said...

I happen to have everything in my pantry! I will be making some of these tomorrow! Do you use the same brands of ingredients or do you get whatever is on sale at the grocery store? I wonder if it matters.

May 13, 2010 12:04 AM
Monica said...

Oh yumm!!! Thank goodness for Cosco-sized bags of chocolate chips =)

May 13, 2010 12:04 AM
robin said...

oh these remind of (i think they’re called) magic bars! i LOVE them.

May 13, 2010 12:05 AM
Monica said...

Gorgeous photos, I can practically taste them!

May 13, 2010 12:05 AM
Sonja N said...

oh my, those look delish!! I would go whip them up in a heartbeat if I hadn’t dumped my brown sugar into a canister (the kids like brown sugar on their oatmeal & cereal) and now I have no idea how much is in there. lol
any clue how to figure out how much a pound is with no scale? hehehee

May 13, 2010 12:07 AM
Charlotte said...

I believe the best response that comes to mind is “NOM NOM NOM!”.

May 13, 2010 12:09 AM
Yvonne said...

They look awesome. Now, how about a congo bar cookie bite? I know you can do it! Go Bakerella! I love your ideas :)

May 13, 2010 12:09 AM
Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

oh yum – this made me so hungry !
I really need to find somewhere in Australia that sells peanut butter chips !

May 13, 2010 12:17 AM
Wendy said...

On my way to the kitchen now….kids have a bake sale tomorrow, so Bakerella to the rescue!

I’m also making a batch of slightly different brookies. …..I take my fav fudge brownie recipe and, after I put it in a 9X13 pan but before I bake it, I add big ole dollops of my fav choc chip cookie dough right into the uncooked brownie dough (cookie dough blobs should be visible – don’t stir). Then bake the whole thing according to the brownie recipe and add a few minutes cooking time. The kids LOVE these! I’ll send you some snapshots :-)

May 13, 2010 12:34 AM
Karen said...

These look amazing! I cannot wait to try them. Your photos are making me so hungry!

May 13, 2010 12:35 AM
B said...

I just started Weight Watchers…. These could break me!

May 13, 2010 12:40 AM
Margaret said...

We call these blondies,too! They look great!

May 13, 2010 12:48 AM
bakerella said...

Mirna – Yeah, I use those brands a lot.

Sonja – compare it to a box of powdered sugar that’s also a lb. Of course the brown sugar is packed. Hmmm.

Yvonne – I was going to do that and then I got caught up in eating them.

Margaret – I guess I could call these blondies, too but I usually think of those with white or butterscotch chips. These are so heavily chocolate chip they feel like they deserve their own name.

May 13, 2010 01:06 AM
Diane {} said...

They look delicious, wish I had one right now to bite into :)

May 13, 2010 01:27 AM
Kimber said...

Holy mother of sweetness! These look delish…and I want to add choco chips, m&m’s, butterscotch, AND caramel…Call ’em schizo bars! YUMMMM

May 13, 2010 01:43 AM
CS said...

I love more cakeish kind of cookies, I usually omit about a cup of butter from my chocolate chip cookies to give them more of a cake consistency. I’m interested in trying these bars out to see if I like the texture!

May 13, 2010 01:52 AM
Nora said...

Looks so yummy ! Though I think there’s no scientific explanation for the different results from hand mixing and electric mixers, I have a tendency to make some specific recipes by hand too. Can’t wait til the weekend to try those. :)

May 13, 2010 02:00 AM
Leanne said...

I was just thinking, “hmmm…I have a chocolatey taste. What should I bake tomorrow.” THANK YOU Bakerella! You ALWAYS come through right when I need you!!!

May 13, 2010 02:43 AM
Ebru said...

They look divine! Too bad I just ate a handful of the remainder of my dark chocolate chips otherwise regardless of it being 2:00am right now, I’d pop in the kitchen and get to baking, no joke! I will try them asap though!!

May 13, 2010 03:15 AM
MellyKitch said...

A cross between cookies and brownies?!?!?!!?! I am in HEAVEN! I’m making these TODAY! x

May 13, 2010 03:15 AM
nicole said...

EVIL WOMAN- I read your post at 0230 in the am at work and NO WAY I can make these for at least 8 hours. NOOOOOOO


May 13, 2010 03:24 AM
Mrs. Kolca said...

Hubby tasted some yummy soft choco chips cookies from a bakery the other month. He asked me to do it at home and this is exactly what I need.

Thanks for sharing this recipe. There are lots of choco chips recipes online, but I just can’t trust them. I only trust Bakerella love <3

May 13, 2010 03:30 AM
Jessica Jensen said...

Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

I have featured you on my blog:
link to

You’re the greatest and I just love your site!

May 13, 2010 03:48 AM
ohel from the mediterranean said...

I’ve never even heard of Congo Bars before this post… thank you for introducing them to me (-:
We will surely make them tomorrow when my youngest returns from her kindergarten – baked goodies with chocolate chips in them are her favorite.

May 13, 2010 04:26 AM
Bianca said...

Ok, just finished dinner and i read your email. I know what I’m making for dessert!

May 13, 2010 04:40 AM
Bird said...

I’m making these TODAY! You’ve twisted my arm.. :)

May 13, 2010 05:14 AM
kelli said...

anything that has to do with chocolate chip cookie dough…is SO worth trying! YUM! Fantastic mouth watering photo’s! YUM!

May 13, 2010 05:37 AM
Jacqueline Ash said...

OMG, I really have to make these, I can see myself eating them already
The only problem I have are the measurments I live in Europe and here we measure almost everything in kilograms or ml for fluids and it takes me forever to convert the recipes, soooo I was wondering do you maybe… somewhere….just maybe laying around… have these measurments for this wonderful recipe :0)) , hope you can help me with this and I promise you when ever you come to Europe I will give you the grand tour!!!!

May 13, 2010 05:40 AM
FOODESSA said...

I may not have any choco chips handy…but I do have a great big Easter egg waiting to be cracked. As long as it’s good chocolate…right?
Thanks for sharing such a simple recipe that can be whipped up in a moments notice.
This is my first time visit…and I’m sure from having taken a quick look…I’ll certainly be back ;0)
Flavourful wishes, Claudia

May 13, 2010 05:40 AM
Paulette said...

Oh boy I just lost three pounds, well maybe just a bite. LOL Paulette

May 13, 2010 06:05 AM
Amy said...

yummy.I have been looking for a good recipe for these cookie brownies.Have you ever had a blondie talk about sugar overload but worth it.You put vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauce on top of the cookie brownie.Wonderful! (I have a great homemade caramel and chocolate sauce if your interested)

May 13, 2010 06:16 AM
kelly jo said...

Wow!! Those look fantastic! A note on hand mixing, I have always done my chocolate chip cookies by hand, and so many people have commented that they are much better than other people’s cookies. I tried my new stand mixer, and they were completely different cookies….nothing like good ol’ fashioned cooking!!

May 13, 2010 06:19 AM
A Cupcake For Moose said...

Oh Congo bars, I think I love you. Now my brain is thinking of all kinds of mix ins to add. I’m loving the caramel with chocolate idea.

A middle of the week Bakerella post – what a treat!

:) Rachel from A Cupcake for Moose

May 13, 2010 06:24 AM
Jessica @ How Sweet It Is said...

Holy drool. I would love one for breakfast!

May 13, 2010 06:29 AM
Arwen said...

mmm I have to make these right away! I’m so glad I always stock up on chocolate chips when they are on sale (er having 4 bags of chocolate chips in my freezer isn’t weird is it?)

May 13, 2010 06:32 AM
Rhiannon said...

OMG. I really want to try these. They look AMAZING. I wonder if they would still come out if I substituted Earth Balance for butter, flax “eggs” for eggs, and semi-sweet chips for the milk chocolate chips. That’s a lot of ingredients to go to waste if it doesn’t work. I guess there’s only one way to find out, hmm? :D

May 13, 2010 06:33 AM
lady jack said...

another yummylicious foody to try =)

May 13, 2010 06:33 AM
Lilly Higgins said...

These look amazing! I can totally see the difference in the photos of the ones mixed by hand and machine mixed, what a great tip! I must try these, gorgeous! Thanks!x

May 13, 2010 06:39 AM
Kerry said...

These tasted as good as they looked…one of the many benefits of working with Bakerella – taste testing!

May 13, 2010 06:48 AM
Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Oh, yummmm!! These look so good!!

May 13, 2010 07:01 AM
Candice said...

My great aunt made these all the time. I actually made a little memorial card when she passed away that had this recipe on it. She was quite a good baker.

All of the ingredients are the same except she used dark brown sugar instead of light. Do you know what the difference would be? Just color or is there a taste difference btwn dark and light?

May 13, 2010 07:12 AM
Fiona said...

Congo Bars? Really? These are just Nestle Toll House bars with a slight variation in the ingredient amounts.

Nothing earth shattering here.

May 13, 2010 07:13 AM
Katrina said...

Yum! I’ll be making these by hand. They look awesome!

May 13, 2010 07:17 AM
Lowell said...

I love making these!

When I make them I use a 2:1 ratio of light to dark brown sugar and melt the butter beforehand. I find it makes the final bars a bit richer and chewier which suits my tastes perfectly.

May 13, 2010 07:24 AM
Lois said...

Omg I think you have just ruined my diet … In a wonderful way …

May 13, 2010 07:29 AM
Jenna's Scribbles said...

I make these all the time.. YUM!! :D

May 13, 2010 07:36 AM
Joanna said...

We used to have those at every bakesale! And these: link to
are what we call “brookies” in Rhode Island!

May 13, 2010 07:41 AM
a for aubergine said...

i can see why they’re called “congo bars” because they look wildly yummy!!

May 13, 2010 07:45 AM
Jen at Cabin Fever said...

Oh man those looks amazing! I was planning on making plain old chocolate chip cookies today, but those look so much better!

And I’ve had something similar like those before. They are AWESOME cut up into little squares and dipped into yogurt. Makes you feel slightly less guilty about chomping down cookies. hehe

Cabin Fever in Vermont

May 13, 2010 07:57 AM
Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. said...

I’ve never heard of Congo Bars either…but they sure do look and sound amazing! Can’t wait to give the recipe a try!

May 13, 2010 07:59 AM
sarah said...

i know what i’m making this weekend… you had me at chocolate chip cookie and brownie.

May 13, 2010 08:08 AM
Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I love the photo of the batter – I doubt I could hold myself back from just eating it all before the baking stage!

May 13, 2010 08:23 AM
EG said...

Are they different from blondies? Less dense, maybe?

Anyway, I don’t like nuts in baked goods but I’ll forgive you and use coconut instead. Thanks!

May 13, 2010 08:35 AM
Ashley M. said...

My mom used to make these for my brothers, sister, and I when we were little (30 years ago) and now I make them for my daughter. We call them “Blonde Brownies.” They are my favorite!! And, oh, licking the bowl…..YUMMY!!!

May 13, 2010 08:43 AM
Country Girl in the City said...

Ohhhhhh, these look wonderful. I just bought chocolate chips, so now I will just HAVE to make them!! Thanks for the recipe.

May 13, 2010 08:59 AM
Nicole said...

My sister just made something similar, but added peanut butter to the batter, so they taste like peanut butter cookies, with tons of chocolate chips. to die for!!

May 13, 2010 09:00 AM
Meghan said...

YUM. I grew up making these with my mom and sister, and we always called them Blonde Brownies. =)

May 13, 2010 09:03 AM
Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) said...

A whole pound of brown sugar?? Wow! These must be amazing!

May 13, 2010 09:03 AM
susan@pocacosas said...

you had me at brown sugar-we are so baking these this weekend!

May 13, 2010 09:09 AM
Jessica said...

Oh my…those look fabulous! I wish I could enjoy one with my coffee right now. These little gems will be making their debut in my baking repertoire this weekend for sure.

May 13, 2010 09:12 AM
Meredith said...

Coincidences are so funny sometimes, because I dusted off my Williams-Sonoma Desserts book the other day, and was eyeing up their Congo Bar recipe — but I like the looks of this one much better, so I’m going with this!

May 13, 2010 09:12 AM
Strawberry Cake said...

My mom used to make this recipe ALL the time when I was a kiddo….I need to go back to bars and ditch the cookies once in a while, bars are so much faster than drop cookies. Thanks for refreshing my memory of this recipe!

May 13, 2010 09:17 AM
Meredith said...

But Fiona, lots of baked good use the same ingredients with “slight variations” in the amounts — but those slight differences in amounts and technique actually make all the difference in the world for the finished product. :-)

But, these bars are definitely more than a “slight” alteration from the Toll House recipe in the amounts of flour, sugar, butter, and choice of leavening agent. Here is the original Toll House Bar recipe (I was curious so I looked it up):

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) package or 2 cups NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Similar types of ingredients for sure, but different proportions=a different product in taste and texture. I’ve had Toll House bars too, and they are yummy as well, and convenient. But I just have to try these Congo bars! 1 lb of brown sugar? Oh, I’m there, baby!

May 13, 2010 09:23 AM
Alex said...

I think “YUM” sums up my thoughts!!!

May 13, 2010 09:24 AM
Alicia said...

Rats! I just made chocolate chips cookie bars about an hour before you posted this! I would have loved to try these!

May 13, 2010 09:28 AM
DessertForTwo said...

Oh yum! I’ve never heard of these! They look divine!

May 13, 2010 09:29 AM
christina madison said...

I have to hand stir my brownies. They come out slightly tougher if I use my mixer so I always hand mix now. These look SOOOO yummy!!!

May 13, 2010 09:31 AM
Monie said...

I can’t tell you how many of these I have eaten in my life. My mum-in-law made them just about every week, and now I make them quite often. I’ll tell you her ‘little secret’, if you like a moister/denser type texture, (which I do!), and that is, she would take the pan out of the oven about halfway through the baking time, and smack it down hard on the table, then return it to the oven for the rest of the baking time. It really makes these sooooooooooo moist and dense. I’ve made them without the ‘whack’, and they taste good…just not the same. Yummy either way, however!

May 13, 2010 09:33 AM
Christine said...

OMG this looks incredible! i am defintely making this this weekend :) thank you bakerella!

May 13, 2010 09:34 AM
Allison said...

Yummy! My mum used to make these with M&Ms – delish!

May 13, 2010 09:34 AM
Keri said...

On my way in to work this morning I realized, I need to make a cookie cake for a birthday party this Saturday and I’ve never made one before! AHH!!! I walk in to work get this email and (yeah-I’ll admit it) I squealed! A friend’s supervisor LOVES cookie monster so he asked if I could make a cookie monster themed cake – well – put cookie monster pops and cookie cake together and Voila! :o) Thank you so much! An answer to my prayer!

May 13, 2010 09:39 AM
Emily said...

Well. We’re going up to my hometown this weekend and my mom (also an avid reader) just asked what we want to eat (we are foodies first and foremost…all discussions about weekend plans begin with food)…I think these bars are absolutely on the must bake list!!!

May 13, 2010 09:47 AM
Stephanie Lo said...

wow, these look amazing! project for the weekend!

May 13, 2010 09:51 AM
MmePaulita said... much is 1lb brown sugar. I don’t have a scale

May 13, 2010 10:03 AM
MERgetsMRSed said...

My mom has been making these forever … only she calls them Yum Yum Bars. They are infamous in our family!

May 13, 2010 10:05 AM
Dawn said...

I will be stopping to get some chocolate chips on my way home from work. YUMMY!

May 13, 2010 10:27 AM
Kristin said...

Oh my goodness I want these now….now to find a pound of brown sugar somewhere around here….

May 13, 2010 10:28 AM
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