Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Congo Bars

Another instance where baking for friends paid off.

Remember those three shows I'm involved in this semester?  Well, one of them is a choreography showcase, which we had auditions for this week.  All of the choreographers had to stay after auditions to cast our pieces and create a rehearsal schedule.

Translation: we were going to be there for a while and we needed food.

Our director provided a delicious and healthy dinner, but I received a request (read: demand) for dessert.  I didn't have time to make cupcakes, which I'm now famous for in our dance department - seriously, who said dancers don't eat?? - but when I saw these Congo Bars in an email update from Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker I knew I had a solution.

The bars were incredibly easy to assemble - melted butter is combined with brown sugar, then eggs and vanilla are added, followed by the addition of the dry ingredients and the chunky bits - and came together in a cinch the night before auditions.  My roommates and I did a taste test (for quality control purposes, of course!) and when I served them the following night, there were yummy groans throughout the room.

These may be the most addictive treats...ever.  They're rich, moist, and chock full of chewy toasted coconut, crunchy pecans, and melty semisweet and white chocolate chips, with a shiny crackly top like the fudgiest of brownies.  Every bite reveals a new flavor combination...which means you want to keep taking bites.  Forever.
One of my roommates asked me to hide the leftovers to ensure that Jon got to taste one.  All of us became instantly hooked.

Congo Bars have now officially been dubbed Crack Blondies in our apartment.

And I highly encourage that you get your butt to your kitchen and mix up a batch of said Crack Blondies.  You will be happy you did...just be prepared to want half the pan.
See the one I'm holding?
It was totally warmed up and smothered in cookie dough ice cream and chocolate syrup a couple hours later. 
You know you want to...
Congo Bars (a.k.a. Crack Blondies)
Source: Brown Eyed Baker, originally adapted from Baking Illustrated
Yield: however many bars you want to cut from a 9x13" pan

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups shredded coconut, toasted (I used sweetened, but the original recipe calls for unsweetened)
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips 

Set an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.  Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on each side as "handles" for later.  Set aside. 
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside. 
Mix together the melted butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until well combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until totally incorporated.  Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the butter mixture and stir to combine, being careful not to overmix - a couple of lumps will be fine.  Fold in the coconut, pecans, semisweet and white chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.  At this stage, try to resist eating what you see and smell inside your mixing bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread with the spatula until even.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the top of the bars are shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch.  Allow to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.  Lift from the pan using your parchment paper handles and cut into desired size bars.  Serve and enjoy!
Then try not to eat a second one.
Go ahead.  I dare you.

1 comment:

  1. These look awesome! I can definitely see why you call them crack blondies. ;-)