Back in the 1960's, there was a bar cookie recipe circulated that used chocolate chips and pecans. Not exactly like the famous Toll House cookie, but this was a chewy treat that made its way in many church cookbooks, personal recipe files and word-of-mouth. This cookie was called "Congo Squares" and the recipe is still very much available!
While I'm not sure why or how this cookie was named this, I would assume it was because the cookie uses chocolate and nuts, which in the Congo,are common food items. For the geographers among you, the Congo is located in Africa, so it really exists! No matter how the name came about, these bars are fabulous and makes about four dozen.
In the recipe I'm sharing, this one can be mixed in a saucepan. The recipe calls for shortening to be melted and combined with brown sugar. Of course, you could transfer the melted shortening to a mixing bowl and proceed with the recipe from there. I would use just a large saucepan and mix the cookies in that to save on dishwashing. Once the melted shortening is combined with the brown sugar, the eggs are added. Then, the dry ingredients are added, along with the chopped pecans and chocolate chips. It then is turned into a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 3/4 inch pan, which is about the size of a jelly roll pan. It bakes at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Use care not to overbake. I find that even if the center is still slightly soft, they can still come from the oven, since it's much better to slightly underbake a bar cookie than to overbake. When they're cooled, they're ready to be cut into squares and have the cold milk ready!
Though I've never tried it, if you don't have a pan that measures the size I described, you could use a 9x13 inch pan. You may find that it may need to bake slightly longer. Look for the bars to start shrinking from the sides of the pan and be slightly firm to the touch. This will also depend upon how fast your oven bakes, so check them after 25 minutes and go from there.
Since I'm talking about bar cookies, sometime back, I shared a cookie called "You Always Ask For Seconds Cookies", which is a wonderful bar cookie made with graham crackers, coconut and nuts and iced with a icing. To get this recipe, follow this link:
If you've never made this cookie before, see for yourself how it's withstood the test of time and still tastes just as good today as it did in the 1960's!
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 2-1/4 cups light brown sugar (a one-pound box)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the shortening. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Allow to cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well as they're added. Add the dry ingredients gradually. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Turn into a greased 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 3/4 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bars begin to shrink from the sides of the pan and are slightly firm to the touch in the center. Be careful to not overbake! Let cool and cut into 4 dozen squares.