Thursday, February 21, 2013

Congo Bars

Congo bars?  What the heck is that?  That's what I thought the first time I saw a recipe for Congo bars somewhere out there in internet-land.  For some reason, it just makes me think of something a gorilla would eat.  Do gorillas live in the Congo?  I think weird things.  Anyway, I kept seeing these Congo bars come up here and there.  So I figured they must be good.  Since everyone else was doing it, I decided to do it too.  I'm like that when it comes to baking.  

So what are Congo bars?  My assessment is that they are a little bit of everything good you could imagine to put into a cookie-type bar, actually put into a cookie-type bar.  These are a soft, chewy bar featuring shredded coconut, chopped toasted pecans, chocolate chips, and even white chocolate!  I don't know how these bars came to be, or why they are called Congo bars, but I am thankful for the person who came up with this idea!

I made these decadent treats for my family's greatest tradition--Sunday dinner.  I thought my family would be great guinea pigs for a recipe I had never tried before.  When it comes to butter, sugar, and flour, they're not too picky.  So I gave it a shot.

This recipe is for a 9x13-inch baking dish.  I actually considered cutting the recipe in half because I didn't want to have a bunch of leftovers bars.  It turns out that would have been a huge mistake.  After just one day, the 5 of us had eaten the whole thing.  These are just that good.  
So if you too have heard of Congo bars and have been skeptical to try them, fear not!  Remember, in baking and investing, with great risk comes great reward.  But I can only help you with baking.  

Congo Bars
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup pecans, chopped, and toasted
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang over all the edges.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and light brown sugar until combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla  and whisk until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold them into the egg mixture until just combined.  Do not overmix.
Fold in toasted coconut, pecans, and semisweet, and white chocolate chips.  Dump the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it into an even layer.
Bake until top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, 22-25 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

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