Learn how to make Congo Bars from scratch. Buttery chocolate chip cookie bars loaded with chocolate chips and baked to golden perfection. There’s no chilling the dough so they can be ready to eat in one hour!
Meet my Congo Bars AKA Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. You’ll love these easy cookie bars with their soft, gooey centres and chewy edges – not to mention all the chocolate. And I mean ALL the chocolate.
Filled with chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, they’re thick, gooey and outrageously moreish.
Move over Chocolate Chip Cookies, there’s a new bar in town!
Life will never be the same when you learn how to make Congo Bars from scratch.
Why you will love this recipe
- Simple ingredients: You only need a handful of pantry staples to make a batch of Congo Bars.
- Quick and easy: You will need an electric mixer, but these cookie bars come together fast – plus there’s no rolling or chilling the dough.
- Moist and chewy: While some chocolate chip cookie bars can be dry and dense, these Congo Bars are soft and chewy right to the edges.
- Keep well: You can make these bars ahead of time – I think they even taste better on day two and three!
Honestly, I love everything about these Congo Squares. If you’re a fan of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies and the gooey blondies, you’ll go mad for these buttery bars.
They taste JUST like a good Chocolate Chip Cookie but thicker, chewier and with MORE chocolate – just like chocolate chip blondies.
To make these bars perfectly thick and chewy, we added MORE butter, MORE vanilla extract, MORE egg yolks and MORE chocolate.
While some recipes use melted butter or even brown butter, I found that using room temperature butter made for a less oily, more chewy cookie bar.
And to combat a sinking middle that cookie bars can sometimes have, we swapped baking soda for baking powder. Close your eyes and they taste exactly like a really, really good chocolate chip cookie.
The best part about baking them in a square baking pan is that you don’t have to roll the cookie dough or chill it. Just make it, bake it, eat it.
My tip for making the best Congo Bars is to underbake them slightly. While you want them firm on the edges, it’s that fudgy centre that’ll make you swoon. And remember, just like most cookies, they’ll firm up as they cool!
Just a handful of basic ingredients will create a pan of amazing Congo Bars. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need, including any substitutions you can make.
- Butter: There is no substitute here. Butter is the base for these buttery bars. I like to use unsalted butter, but if you choose to use salted butter – omit the salt included in the recipe card below.
- Brown sugar AND caster sugar: We use two different types of sugar in this recipe. Caster sugar adds sweetness and contributes to those crispy edges we love. Meanwhile brown sugar creates a chewy cookie with caramel-like flavour. I recommend using light brown sugar over dark brown sugar. If you don’t have access to caster sugar, you can use granulated sugar.
- Vanilla extract: Use the best quality vanilla extract you can. We use TWO teaspoons to really pump up the sweet caramel notes in this cookie.
- Baking powder: While I usually use baking soda in my cookie recipes, I found that it can cause cookie bars to rise on the edges and sink in the middle when cooling. Using baking powder will help create a more even cookie bar with chewy edges.
- Chocolate: I love to use both chocolate chips AND chocolate chunks. While chocolate chips hold their shape when baked, chocolate chunks will melt and go ooey gooey. You can use any type of chocolate you like – chocolate chips, dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or even white chocolate chips. And when you are feeling more adventurous, you could try caramilk, butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to make Congo Bars
You’ll love how easy it is to make Congo Bars from scratch. You will need an electric mixer – either a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment will be fine.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make them. The full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugars. Mix using an electric mixer on medium speed just until combined and creamy.
Step 2: Add vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Mix again on medium speed just to combine.
Step 3: Add dry ingredients and mix again briefly just until a soft cookie dough forms.
Step 4: Finally, stir through chocolate chips and chunks.
Step 5: Transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment or baking paper. Spread out into one even layer. Add extra chocolate chips on top.
Step 6: Bake for 30 minutes or until evenly golden. Sprinkle cookie bar with sea salt flakes and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To ensure you get the best results every time you make my Congo Bars, here are my top tips.
- Use a baking scale: To ensure your Congo Bars are perfectly chewy, using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients – especially your flour. It is very easy to over-measure flour when using cups and too much flour will make for a dense, dry cookie bar.
- Don’t over-mix your cookie dough: You only need to mix all the ingredients until there are no more pockets of flour. Over-mixing can develop the gluten and also make for a tough, brittle cookie.
- Leave cookie bars to cool completely: Congo Bars are very delicate and fragile when they first emerge from the oven. The key is to let them cool completely before neatly cutting into squares.
Frequently asked questions
You can keep Congo Bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Or we even love keeping them in the fridge and enjoying them cold.
Yes you can. Simply wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the fridge. Or you can make the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it. Simply bring it back to room temperature, then bake it as per the instructions below.
Yes! You can remove 35 grams (1/4 cup) flour and add 50 grams (1/2 cup) of desiccated coconut. You could even toast the coconut for extra flavour.
You can eat these chocolate chip cookie bars as they are – they make for a delicious snack on-the-go. Or for a sweet dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Chewy chocolate chip cookie bars loaded with chocolate.
- 170 grams (3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 135 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 210 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) chocolate chips, plus extra for decorating
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) milk or dark (semi-sweet) chocolate, roughly chopped
- Sea salt flakes, for decorating
- Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with baking or parchment paper, ensuring two sides overhang. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric beater on medium speed or until combined. Add vanilla, egg and egg yolk and beat again until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat until a soft cookie dough forms. Add chocolate chips and hand cut chocolate and beat again.
- Place dough in prepared pan and spread out into one even layer. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top.
- Pop into the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with sea salt. Leave to cool completely in the pan before removing. Cut into squares and serve.
Butter: If you use salted butter – omit the salt included in the recipe card below.
Chocolate: I love to use both chocolate chips AND chocolate chunks. While chocolate chips hold their shape when baked, chocolate chunks will melt. You can use any type of chocolate you like – milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate.
Storage: You can keep Congo Bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Or we even love keeping them in the fridge and enjoying them cold.
Make-ahead: You can freeze Congo Bars once they are completely cooled. Simply wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the fridge. Or you an make the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it. Simply bring it back to room temperature, then bake as per instructions above.