Have you all heard of congo bars? I love blondies just as much as the next gal, but I hadn’t heard of “congo bars” until recently. Basically, they are blondies are steroids. The good kind of steroids, of course. You know, the dosage your doctor gives you so you can recuperate from mono (me in high school) or a concussion (my CCC earlier this year). Because I’m convinced that these bars can wash away all the bad and deliver everything good. They are a classic blondie base, with boatloads (a standard, scientific measurement) of toasted coconut, pecans, and semisweet and white chocolate chips. Basically, they are heavenly and deserve a reserved place in your baking rotation.
For these bars, you will need unsweetened shredded coconut, which I haven’t been able to find in the regular baking section of the grocery store (usually they just have sweetened). I found this bag in the healthy/organic section of my local grocery store, score!
If you choose to toast the coconut and pecans (I would call this optional – it enhances the flavor but it’s not totally necessary), preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and then spread each out on a pan (do these separately) and pop them in the oven, stirring every minute or two, keeping a close eye. I always tend to let my coconut get a tad too dark, so just keep a vigilant eye on it and keep mixing them. Alternatively, you could also toast either one in a dry skillet on the stove over medium-low heat.
So, to sum up: blondies + coconut + pecans + semisweet chocolate chips + white chocolate chips = heavenly deliciousness.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ cups light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9x13-inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang over all the edges.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold them into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the toasted coconut, pecans, semisweet and white chocolate chips. Dump the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it into an even layer.
4. Baking until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 36 bars and serve. The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
Note: You don't have to toast the coconut or pecans if you don't want to, it just enhances the flavor.