Ever come across one of those recipes where you just have to try it, but you want to do things your way?
In my case, that currently means “Add coconut, but no chocolate.” I know, negatory on the chocolate. Now you’re wondering what kind of nutcase I am, aren’t you? Unfortunately, the nutcase who takes 100 mg of Prednisone a day and can no longer stand the taste of chocolate. It breaks my heart, too.
The original recipe came from Pinterest (*gasp*) and were titled Congo Bars. They’re from Reeni at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. The photos look amazing, and the recipe itself is great. The premise of the bars is that you can add whatever chips/mix-ins you please. Right up my alley!
Hubster actually took part in this one, helping me choose our poison.
There are pros and cons to this recipe and particular bar. I’m on the fence about them, hubster doesn’t like them, E-man has fallen in love and would probably eat the entire pan if I didn’t put them away. How’s that for varied reactions?!
I had the cutest helper ever, in his Tom & Jerry undies.
He helped every step of the way, from measuring out the ingredients (perfect teachable moments, love it!), to breaking his first set of eggs!
It’s great to have little hands help stirring in the mix-ins, too. Especially when my PM kicks in and my hands were hurting a bit too much.
This batter looks amazing.
Ethan can assure you, it was fab.
The recipe calls for 3 cups of your choice of mix-ins. We picked cinnamon chips, Reese’s baking bits, coconut and caramel bits. Since I’m a huge coconut fan, I added an entire cup. But seriously, it’s what you want in these bars.
The original recipe calls for baking these babies for 30-32 minutes; my bars took way longer than that. I kept cooking them in 10 minute increments before finally setting them on the stove and hoping they continued to bake themselves. I know that sounds odd, but I just let them be. Set themselves. I didn’t want to overcook them in the oven.
The tops and sides are a nice golden brown, and the interiors are all ooey-gooey.
They still don’t look completely done to me. Boo.
Hubster says they are way too sweet for him. They are incredibly sweet.
I think the Reese’s overpower the entire bar. But I enjoy the texture of the coconut and the gooey centers, but I agree with Hubster – they are really sweet.
Yet that hasn’t stopped me from having one right now with my coffee as I write this. Oh, no. Because even though they’re sweet, they’re still yumm-o. I’m on the fence, but I’m leaning towards love…
Ethan would eat the whole pan. Oh, the refined tastes of a 3 year old.
I think they’re overly gooey because of the caramel bits, so I may not use those next time. I’m also thinking I should add the nuts in my next batch, too. I think the crunch and flavor of the walnuts would actually make these bars even better.
In all, I’m going to make these again. And again, most likely. No Reese’s or Caramel bits next time though.
You should check out Reeni at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. She’s got some brilliant recipes that I’m itching to try, including Deep-fried Zucchini, *drool*!
Loaded Congo Cookie Bars
adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or (line with parchment) a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
- Melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar then the salt and vanilla until well combined.
- Allow to cool slightly then add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Stir in the baking powder and flour then all the chips/candy and nuts.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan spreading it edge to edge with a wet spatula.
- Bake 30 to 32 minutes until they rise and are golden on top. A toothpick in center won’t come out clean – the middle may still be slightly gooey but will set up as they cool.
- Cool bars completely before cutting. Best if you can let them set overnight. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 5 days.
I hope y’all enjoy this recipe and bake a batch! Let me know what you add in, I would love to try some other combinations in these bars!