Congo Bars
Yield: 24 bars
Congo Bars = the ultimate blondie! Perfectly chewy and so much easier to make than a batch of cookies, this foolproof recipe is a childhood favorite that has stood the test of time!


  • 2¼ cups (288g) all-purpose flour (may substitute a cup-for-cup GF flour; see helpful hints, below)
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup (148g or 10⅔ tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ – 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

    In a stand mixer or a mixing bowl with a handheld beater, beat the softened butter and brown sugar until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and mix well.

    Add the flour mixture, half at a time, mixing until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan (or line with parchment paper, creasing well along all the corners), and transfer the batter, spreading it evenly.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes, give or take depending on oven and color of pan (dark-coated pans cook more quickly), or until the surface is golden and the center is just cooked through. Cool before cutting into bars. Store the cooled bars in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if you prefer them cold). Congo bars freeze well, too.


*The original recipe calls for a 6-ounce package of chocolate chips, which is 1 cup, but I make the bars with 1½ cups. Those who prefer fewer chips may absolutely use the lesser amount, while anyone who enjoys the chips-to-dough ratio in the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe may prefer a full 2 cups of chips. In any case, chunks may be used in place of chips, and dark chocolate may be used instead of semi-sweet.

A few more things: Nut fans may enjoy the addition of 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), which can be added along with the chocolate chips.

A light sprinkle of flaky sea salt over the top is a lovely addition for those who enjoy the salty-sweet flavor combination.

Helpful hints: For best results, I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure flour. (However, measuring cup tips follow.) When using gluten-free flour, I’ve had the best results when I stick with the weight of regular all-purpose flour – 128 grams per cup – rather than relying on the weight stated on the package of GF flour. (Many GF blends are heavier than regular AP four, and I’ve found that this can contribute to a heavier, more obviously “gluten-free” tasting end result.) If using measuring cups, be sure to really fluff up the flour (whether regular or GF), lightly scoop it into the cups and then level with the straight edge of a knife. This will help ensure the desired amount of flour is used.

One more option: Christine has reduced the amount of flour she uses over the years to 2 cups in order to make a slightly chewier, gooier bar. She does note that the bars can be a little too gooey if undercooked.

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