My dad is not much of a chocolate or a coconut eater, but he loves these Congo Bars from “The All-American Cookie Cookbook" by Nancy Baguett. They have a shortbread-like crust with a chewy topping, which has all good things - pecans, coconut, and chocolate. For my 18th birthday, everyone must have thought I needed a cookie cookbook because I got three. This one is my favorites and there are several delicious cookie recipes in it.
1-1/3 Cups All-Purpose White Flour
1/3 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup plus 2 T (1-1/4 Sticks) Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into Chunks
1 (14 oz) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Large Eggs, plus 1 Large Egg Yolk
1/4 Cup plus 2-1/2 T Packed Dark Brown Sugar
2-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Generous 1/8 tsp Salt
2-1/2 T All-Purpose Flour
1-1/2 Cups (6 oz) Chopped Pecans
3/4 Cup Shredded or Flaked Sweetened Coconut
2/3 Cup (4 oz) Semisweet Chocolate Morsels
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter or cooking spray. Line the pan with aluminum foil to make it easier to take the bars out. Make sure the foil hangs over a couple of inches on each end. Grease the aluminum foil.
In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt. I use either all light or all dark brown sugar in this recipe to make it easier on the grocery list. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour to create coarse crumbs. You can also use a food processor, but I prefer to do it by hand. It’s the one time I do not mind getting my hands dirty. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until barely browned on the edges. Let cool slightly.
Add the condensed milk, eggs and egg yolk, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt to the electric mixer bowl. Mix until well combined and sugar is dissolved. Stir in the pecans, coconut, and chocolate into the topping mixture. Pour evenly over the crust. Bake for about 28 to 33 minutes, or until golden brown. It will be barely baked through the middle. Let cool completely before cutting.
Once cooled, remove the bars from the pan by using the aluminum foil overhang. Remove the aluminum foil and use a sharp knife to cut about 20 bars. These tend to be pretty sweet, so it is best to have them in smaller portions. They are great with a scoop of ice cream for dessert!