Congo Bars

The gooiest chocolate chip cookie bars around. These amazing Congo Bars are a recipe that has stood the test of time. You’ll love their versatility.

This year I’ve had a goal to throw in a couple of “fun” recipes along with our regularly scheduled recipes. These congo bars are the first of these recipes. Is it amazingly unique? Nope. But it is a vintage classic that was easy to make and photograph.

The ooey. The gooey. The melty chocolate. These type of recipes give me a chance to practice my photography…and you get to enjoy a delicious recipe if you’d like too.

overhead view of melted cookie bars

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • classic cookie bar recipe
  • ooey gooey deliciousness 😋
  • one bowl prep
  • easy cleanup
  • use this as a base with any addition you’d like
overhead view of congo bars in a baking pan

What are congo bars?

Congo bar recipes abound in old fashioned church cookbooks. I have a stack 2 ½ feet high of books that my grandma collected over all of her years of being a pastor’s wife. And almost every one has “congo bars” in it.

As far as where the name came from? I have absolutely no idea and no where I look tells me. But Congo Bars are simply a delicious chocolate chip cookie bar that you can bake either in a 9×13 baking pan or a larger jelly roll pan. They are a classic recipe and great for feeding a crowd. In one recipe book, the author said she kept them on hand for neighborhood kids who stopped in. I love that.

overhead view of melted cookie bars

How to Make Congo Bars

Some recipes call for melting the butter and sugar together on the stovetop, but I really so no reason to dirty a saucepan and turn on the stove. Just use a microwave safe bowl and melt the butter in the microwave. Then continue making the bars in the same bowl. Easy as ever and no extra dishes to clean.

  • Melt. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter completely. Add the brown sugar and use a hand mixer to mix the sugar and butter together well.
  • Mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix again just until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Fold. Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  • Bake. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges.

Now I like soft, gooey, chocolate chip cookie bars, which means they are slightly underbaked. If you prefer your cookie bars more “done”, continue cooking another 3-5 minutes. The cookies will more crisp that way.

stack of three cookie bars

Recipe Variations:

The variations on this congo bar recipe are virtually endless.

  • Turtle Bars: Add caramel bits, chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  • White Chocolate Cranberry: Add white chocolate chips, pecans and dried cranberries.
  • Raisin Nut: Add a teaspoon of cinnamon, raisins and walnuts.
  • Almond: Add almond flavor, sliced almonds and white chocolate.
  • Kitchen Sink Bars: Use all of the little remaining bits and pieces of candy and chocolate chip bags you find in your pantry.
overhead view of cut congo bars with sea salt
overhead view of cut congo bars with sea salt

Best Ever Congo Bar Recipe

4.74 from 19 votes
The gooiest chocolate chip cookie bars around! These amazing Congo Bars are a recipe that has stood the test of time. You'll love their versatility.
Servings 20
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan* with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter completely.
  • Add the brown sugar and use a hand mixer to mix the sugar and butter together well.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix again just until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  • Spread in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges.
  • These are meant to be gooey bars. If you don't want them gooey and would like them more crisp, go ahead and bake them a few minutes longer.
  • Cut into squares once they are cool.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • You can freeze them if you'd like for up to 2 months.

Notes

*You can use an 11×14 or even 10×15 baking pan for thinner bars. They won’t take quite as long to cook so watch them carefully.
The calories shown are based on the recipe being cut into 20 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 cookie bar. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 330
Keyword old fashioned recipe, vintage

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Susan Dubose
1 year ago

5 stars
Yummy! Thanks for sharing your congo bars with us over at tasty Tuesday! Can’t wait to try them.

Caycee
1 year ago

Hello! My grandmother has used this exact recipe for decades! However, her recipe calls for 2 eggs instead of 3. Can you explain what the extra egg does for the recipe? Thanks!

Vicki Iverson
8 months ago

What are the two different chocolates in the picture, of each bar?

Jan
8 months ago

5 stars
Wonderful recipe! Very smooth and rich cookie bar! My whole family enjoyed this recipe.

Cindy
8 months ago

I was trying to remember the name of these and when I did I wasn’t sure so I looked it up. This is exactly the recipe I used as a kid. I think we added butterscotch bits as well.

Kristie
3 months ago

Can you use coconut?

Kathy
12 days ago

5 stars
Fantastic recipe!!! I like my bars a little firmer to hold on to, so baked them 30 minutes instead of 25, and they did exactly like you said. This could be a weekly treat!