Chunky Cashew Congo Bars

May 9th - 15th
Be sure to express your gratitude to your local police department with a card, a phone call, or a plate of goodies!

Chunky Cashew Congo Bars

If you're not from the South, you might be wondering - “What are Congo Bars?”Well, they have absolutely nothing to do with Central Africa, where according to my brief research, wheat cannot be grown. Since flour can’t be produced there, the Congo region has no tradition of baked desserts such as cakes, cookies or Congo Bars. Interestingly, it seems that most of the African continent has little to no tradition of sweet desserts.
Congo Bars are a popular dessert in the southeastern United States, where we have created a million versions of this delectable treat. They are also known as Blonde Brownies or Blondies. Congo Bars are basically brownies without cocoa powder. They can be made with or without chopped nuts. Our nut of choice is, of course, the pecan. Walnuts will do, too. Because most Southern kitchens contain the ingredients for Congo Bars at all times, and because they’re so easy to throw together, we make them often. Boredom drives us to create different varieties. We'll try adding most anything - white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, toasted shredded coconut, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, m&m’s, toffee chips, and crushed candy bars. The list of possibilities is endless. 
So, why are they called Congo Bars? There seems to be two pretty good guesses:
Guess 1: The original recipe most likely contained coconut, an ingredient that was exotic in years past. Someone probably thought coconut was so alien that it must be imported from faraway Africa. Thus, Congo Bars were born!
Guess 2: There isn’t a clue as to why these treats are called Congo Bars. One Youtuber summed it up this way, “I dunno why they are called that [Congo Bars], but they are tasty!!!!” I’m with him!

Chunky Cashew Congo Bars

1½ cups  all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (This is about 6 whole crackers.)
2  teaspoons  baking powder
1 (4-ounce) can salted cashew pieces (This is a cup.)
1 (11.5-ounce) package semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks
½ cup butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box firmly packed brown sugar (This is 2 cups.)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1  teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder.
Combine chocolate chunks and cashews in a small bowl or Ziploc bag; add 1 tablespoon of flour mixture, tossing to coat chocolate and nuts well.
Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl; add sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring well.
Stir in cashews and chocolate chunks. (Batter will be thick.)
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Don’t over bake.
Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Cut into bars.


  1. Despite all your best efforts, I have lost another pound! These look delicious and I'm going to be out of town for the weigh-in tomorrow!

  2. Way to go, susieloulou!! Congratulations!! Keep up the great work!!

  3. With recipes like this, there is no room for the word "diet"!!! They sure do look delicious Connie! I know my family will love them! :)

  4. oh, love congo bars Connie !!


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