Friday, August 29, 2008

Congo Bars

The other night, I’m watching TV and the phone rings. I saw on the screen that it was one of the Funeral Food ladies from church. As I’m walking to the phone, I’m already coming up with a tasty dessert that I could make for an upcoming funeral. I answered the phone to hear her ask if I would make a dish, and of course I said yes. I asked her what I needed to make just hoping it would be a cake. In my mind I’m still thinking of cake recipes as she was talking. Well, low and behold, she said, “vegetable”. Vegetable! That’s not a cake. Hmmm. Well, I was going to make a Carrot Cake so there would be a vegetable in the cake. Does that count? Guess not. Perhaps one day I will draw the cake card again. Oh well. Boring Potato Casserole it will be.
Today’s sweet recipe is Congo Bars. I received another cookbook for my birthday. This one is the Joy of Cooking: All About Cookies. Great book. Love all the traditional recipes and lovely photographs. They do have a unique way of writing recipes. The ingredients are all throughout the recipe instead of listing them in the beginning. This cuts way down on redundancy, but if you are use to the standard you do have to retrain your brain. But, for continuity sake, I rewrote it in the standard form.
Here’s the thing, Congo Bars to me are a combination of a Brown Sugar Brownie mixed with a gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie. These were very tasty. For years, I thought Congo Bars had bananas in them for some reason. The name just sounds very tropical, or jungle like which makes me think of monkeys; which makes me think of bananas. See my pattern of thinking? No bananas, but they did have a great caramel/brown sugar flavor, loads of chocolate and nuts, with the thickness of a brownie. Excellent.
Three Things. Number 1, no mixer required. Just use a whisk or a spatula. Yea! Number 2, oh how it needed salt. Just a ½ of teaspoon. I read over the recipe 3 times thinking that I missed the salt somehow. No, they chose not to include it. I have a few other Congo Bar recipes and every one of them had a ½ teaspoon in their recipes. So keep that in mind. Number 3, too gooey. They needed to cook about 3-5 minutes longer. I took them out and tested them just like the recipe stated. I know that gooeyness is important, however these needed to be eaten with a spoon and plating was terribly difficult. Keep this in mind also. So, if you like Brown Sugar Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies you will love these little tasty treats.

Congo Bars
2 sticks of butter, melted (unsalted)
2 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
(1/2 teaspoon salt; I would)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1/2 cup coconut, optional
Preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or line with parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, (salt) and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, then stir in the chocolate and nuts.Spread the batter as evenly as possible into the prepared pan.
Bake until firm when lightly tapped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, about 25 minutes. (I would go 3-5 minutes longer) Cool completely before cutting.

No comments: