All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Friday, October 15, 2010

retro cooking: congo bars

Congo bars must date from the 40's and 50's - the recipe is simple and straightforward, never mind a little non-pc nowadays. If I called them Blonde Brownies ( because of the lack of cocoa in the batter), perhaps that would sound a little more chic?
The batter could not be easier - eggs, dark brown sugar, melted butter, flour, eggs. A little baking powder and whatever chips or chunks you desire and you're ready to slide it into the oven. Sometimes I add vanilla, sometimes not. It doesn't seem to make a huge difference. As you see, I overcooked them slightly, forgetting about the slightly hot oven I have. I like them slightly underdone, a little sticky, and tasting of toasty butter and chocolate. They freeze well, they go into lunchboxes well, and they make an awesome sundae, intermingled with some coffee ice cream. But I love them best with a glass of milk or soymilk.
The recipe comes from a torn out, yellowed page from the Boston Globe, credited to Millie Corbett.
This easily makes a dozen large almost 3 inch squares.
To make:
Preheat oven to 340F
Grease a 9"x13" baking pan.
2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, or 12 T. butter, melted
2 t. vanilla ( optional)
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, large
1 12 ounce package any chocolate chips or chunks
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
Combine the melted butter and brown sugar in a mixer bowl and mix well.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well after each egg.
Add the vanilla, if using.
Mix in the flour, salt and baking powder and mix.
Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips until incorporated. Spread in pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes - touch the top of the congo bars gently - they should be golden and firm to the touch in the middle.
Let cool on a baking rack before cutting into squares.
Enjoy your weekend!

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Barb said...

Oooo! What a delicious reminder! Haven't had these in a very looong time! I'll have to give this a try very soon.

Have a wonderful weekend.

(p.s. Are you getting rain? The weather maps don't look too promising for the northeast right now.)

katrina said...

I must have been a deprieved child, as I never had these until I had two little ones running around, Barb. Everyone seems to have fond memories of congo bars!

It's snowing in Vermont, sleeting here, and snow along the NH seacoast. Wind everywhere tonight, which means trees falling, which means possible blackouts. Crazy. Hope your weather is sunnier than ours - you doing anything special?

katrina said...

"deprived" :)

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

These look divine! I'm making these soon!

katrina said...

Delighted you enjoyed, S! Thanks for taking a peek....

Anonymous said...

Congo bars remind me of Potluck suppers, funerals and girl scout meetings. What great memories though of everyone gathering and enjoying some sweetness!

Barb said...

Sorry about your weather, Katrina. We are having absolutely perfect fall weather!! It really is wonderful (even raking the leaves has been a pleasure; well, that may not be exactly true...but if you have to rake anyway, the weather couldn't be nicer!).

Hopefully, we will send some of this nice stuff your way! Enjoy!

katrina said...

Oh my, Donna - I don't hear "potluck dinner" much these days! I was just trying to remember some retro dinners, and came up empty - probably because I don't come from a traditional family, I suppose. Glad this jiggled some fond memories.

katrina said...

Hey, Barb - still chilly, windy, and raw, but that sun tried to peek out today!

Gree said...

I can attest that these are THE BEST congo bars ever made. I think they have easily been responsible for a few pounds over the years, but they are truly irresistible.

katrina said...

Merci, darling daughter! I seem to remember making these a LOT in the old days. Warm, straight from the oven, mmmm. But, poundage.

Kel said...

Anytime I see melted butter in this type of recipe, my mind asks how they might taste with browned butter? I see an experiment coming in my future!

katrina said...

Twin, Kel! I always brown it a little bit, love the smell, got to do great things, right?

Lynn said...

Yum. I remember a college roommate making these, way back when. Thanks for the blast from the past :)

katrina said...

And here I thought only Moms made these, Lynn! Happy to give you your blast from the past ♥

Caitlin said...

I was searching for my grandmother Millie Corbett's recipe online.. expecting to find it in the Boston Globe archives.. I was really happy to find someone else who enjoyed her Congo Bars as much as we do. I shared your blog with her and she was really surprised to find her recipe on the internet! It was a really fun experience and she was really thrilled to see your blog! Thanks for sharing!

katrina said...

Caitlin - this is so exciting! Tell your grandmother Millie that her congo bars live on, and on, and on - and have made my children ( now grown) and the rest of their generation very, very happy! Please give her my best ♥

Gail said...

My mom made these all the time :)..thanks for sharing. My grandkids will have them this weekend!!

katrina said...

Wonderful, Gail! That reminds me to make these for my Izzie, who we thought was gluten-intolerent for years, found out recently she is not!