Congo Bars

 

You know those plastic “chip clip” things?  Yeah, well, this recipe was a personal challenge for me to reclaim them all from their random hiding places in my kitchen.

I have this annoying habit of “chip clipping” virtually anything.  ”Hey, there’s 10 chocolate chips left in this bag? Let’s chip clip it!”  My flax seed in the fridge?  Instead of transferring it to a sealed container, I chip clipped it.  The almonds I keep in the pantry?  Yep, you guessed it.  Chip clipped.  So, when I actually have an item that needs the chip clip (i.e. CHIPS), I have to go scrounging around to find them all.  And, let’s be honest.  I always eat the remaining chocolate chips first because I need THAT particular chip clip, of course.

I had been meaning to make congo bars for such a long time.  They are pretty much a collection of all my favorite dessert flavors…in one bar cookie form.  I was in a chocolate craving mode on the day I made them, so the mixture of white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips hit the spot.  Now, I would advise watching them very closely when they bake.  I ended up baking mine about 10-15 minutes more than what the original recipe instructed-I am posting the original baking time below, but check them frequently to make sure that they bake all the way through.  And the best part?  Get creative with your add-ins.  Use up leftover ingredients, the random bag of chocolate chips, the nuts in the pantry.  Reclaim all those chip clips…and enjoy a phenomenal treat along the way.

Congo Bars

Servings: approximately 12 bars

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 and 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus an additional 1/2 cup for topping the bars

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, plus an additional 1/2 cup for topping the bars

1 and 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted, plus more for garnish

1 cup almonds, toasted and chopped coarsely

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

3. Fold and fit two large pieces of foil perpendicular to one another in the baking pan, making sure to leave about 3 inches of overhang on each side.  ***This will help immensely when you go to remove the bars from the baking pan.

4.  Spray the foil with cooking spray.

5.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6.  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the melted butter and brown sugar until combined.

7.  On medium-low speed, add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.

8.  Stop the mixer and manually fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, mixing until just combined.

9.  Add the chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut to the batter.

10.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan.

11.  Bake for 22-25 minutes (until the top is slightly cracked and the bars feel firm to the touch).  ***Remember, I added several minutes to this step.  I used a cake tester to see if the batter was cooked through-it was not.  I ended up baking mine for about 35-40 minutes. Check yours frequently to avoid overbaking.

12.  Remove the bars from the oven, garnish with the additional chocolate chips and coconut (if desired) and cool on a wire rack.

13.  Remove the bars from the pan by holding on to the overhanging foil edges and cut into bars.

Source:  Adapted from Baking Illustrated.

May 11, 2011 - 9:08 am

Tracey - Haha that’s totally me with the chip clips!! There are probably 10 of them in my pantry on random bags of baking supplies. Your congo bars look awesome – they’ve been on to-do list forever too.

May 11, 2011 - 10:45 am

Shawnda - Exact. Same. Way. I have a rolled up half-bag of tortilla chips sitting upside down to keep it closed. Because all of my chip clips are in use with non-chip bags and I was too lazy to go reclaim one. I’ve never seen a congo bar before but they look right up my alley – thanks for sharing!

May 11, 2011 - 11:07 am

Yuri - Love the ingredient list, first time I hear about congo bars. Now I want to make them too :)

May 11, 2011 - 1:21 pm

Patty - I’m that way with clothes pins! When it’s time to hang the laundry sometimes all the pins are in the kitchen – ha.

Awesome bars!

May 11, 2011 - 1:50 pm

Jen of My Tiny Oven - I love these bars! I had forgotten about them, so thank you for the yummy reminder. Can’t wait to make a batch.

May 11, 2011 - 4:00 pm

Blog is the New Black - You are so funny! I love chip clips, too. Congo Bars are wonderful- yours look great!

May 11, 2011 - 6:17 pm

Happy When Not Hungry - Love congo bars! Love that you used almonds too. I usually use walnuts, but will have to try!

May 12, 2011 - 1:08 pm

Liz N - You must have impeccable timing because I just got my Martha Stewart cookie recipe of the day and guess what it was?! CONGO BARS! Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/263227/congo-bars?xsc=eml_cod_2011_05_12

May 12, 2011 - 7:43 pm

Kelli - Oh my GOSH, does this look AWESOME! Jason loves all of the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of cookie bars and I typically don’t because I’m not the biggest heath or walnut or pecan fan. I do, however, LOVE ALMONDS! I will be making these for a smiling hubby! Thanks, Shan!

May 12, 2011 - 10:12 pm

Audra@The-Baker-Chick - Beautiful bars! Wonderful blog. So glad I found it!

May 14, 2011 - 12:20 am

Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio) - Your “chip-clip” ;) cookies look great! Beautiful pictures too! I think I hear my pantry calling…I must go and make these myself.

May 14, 2011 - 5:09 pm

sweet road - chocolate, white chocolate and coconut?? you got me, i’m hooked!

May 15, 2011 - 12:13 pm

Rachel - These are wonderful! I just baked up a batch to bring to a pot-luck for this evening and am sure they will be a hit! They reminded us (raw batter) of chocolate chip cookie dough, so we look forward to opening the kitchen cabinet and adapt these in the future too. THANKS for the great write-up and the yummy recipe!

June 11, 2011 - 7:41 pm

Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars « Teacher by Day – Chef by Night - [...] (as adapted from The Curvy Carrot, check out the “Congo Bars“) [...]

August 19, 2011 - 10:27 pm

Bars or Squares « - [...] Adapted from: The Curvy Carrot [...]

March 9, 2012 - 11:24 pm

jenny - I found this recipe online and made it. I made some changes though. I used 3/4cup coconut and 3/4cup shredded carrots. The carrots were a really nice touch and everyone commented on them – they really didn’t change the flavor or consistency but just made everything more colorful and healthy. I couldn’t get my bars to crack on the top, so instead of sprinkling on chocolate chips and coconut (as they wouldn’t stick), I melted down some chocolate chips with a little bit of butter and milk, and drizzled it on to the bars after baking, plus some toasted coconut on top. The bars came out great, but I highly recommend refrigerating them for a couple of hours before serving to firm them up. They weren’t as bar-y as I would like, more the texture of brownies, but still absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

August 3, 2012 - 8:29 am

Going Through the Big D - [...] used this recipe from The Curvy Carrot and only made a few changes. For instance, I did not add toasted almonds [...]

June 4, 2013 - 8:28 pm

Becky - I never could keep enough chip clips plus they get a little expensive with 5 children, 4 children-in-laws & 16 grandchildren & yes a husband to go with that family and of course to round it all out the family dog named “Mac” – I have a son that is a computer geek :-) . Long introduction to an alternative to the chip clip! Buy a large page of wooden close pins (yep the old fashioned kind)!!!! Sometimes I’ll use two but I love my wooden chip clips and tons cheaper! If one breaks which is rare I still have a bunch in the drawer!

June 4, 2013 - 9:02 pm

srlacy - Ohhhh-that’s an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing that!

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