Ohhhh how I love me some sweet and salty desserts! If you've ever been to the famous Fatwich Bakery in New York you know they make sinfully delicious treats. I've had the brownies before but I've never eaten or seen these bars until I found them on another blogger's site.
My oh my are these suckers rich and dense! I ran into a bit of technical difficulty while baking them - just a little boo boo, nothing major. I accidentally under baked the bars by using an 8x8 pan instead of a 9x9 and apparently it makes a world of a difference if you're off by one little inch.
Since I followed the cooking time for the recipe my bars never quite "set up" and the crust was a bit runny. They were so fragile you pretty much had to eat them with a fork. At first bite my initial thought was holy richness!! I mean seriously - a large glass of milk was definitely needed! I gave one to Lobster and his reaction was, "Wow, so good - rich - but so good!" Talk about sticky, gooey, creamy and chewy! They were even a bit too rich IMO - which I never thought was humanly possible.
I took these to a potluck and my friends had the same reactions and everyone could only take a few bites. When I got home I put them in the fridge and pretty much forgot about them since I knew they were too sweet to eat. A couple days later Lobster asked to have one and again said they were "so good!" Of course curiosity got the best of me and I had to try them again. Since the crust "set up" in the fridge they could be eaten by hand and when I took a bite, OMG they tasted so much better! They were still rich but not overly sweet to the point where you had to stop at one bite. The salt in the crust helped balance out the overall sweetness of the bar and it was out of this world - a sweet and salty world! I don't know what miracle took place in the fridge but the taste of the bar changed and something turned into toffee mixed with an Almond Joy candy bar - LOVE IT! Damn Lobster for eating them again - must punish him! I think I'll serve him his favorite for dinner - brussel sprouts ^_^
Congo Bars by Fat Witch Bakery
Found on Savory Sweet Life blog but Reprinted by Permission by Rodale
Headnote from Patricia Helding: ” I think the name comes from the lineup of graham crackers, condensed milk, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. This version doesn’t skimp on any of them and adds pecans to boot. These are a delicious after-soccer hit with kids, but if there’s a platter put in front of football-watching adults… they’ll be gone before halftime. You can make graham cracker crumbs in the food processor, or do it the old-fashioned way by putting whole crackers in a reasonable plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.”
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder*
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 11 whole crackers, crushed)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup semi-semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk**
1/3 cup chopped pecans or other nut (optional)
Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350 F. degrees.
To make the crust, measure the flour, baking powder, and salt and then sift together into a medium bowl. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs and light brown sugar. Mix well. Cut the butter into a few pieces and mix into the dough with a fork until the dough is crumbly. Continue mixing with your hands until smooth. Spread the dough evenly in a thin layer in the prepared baking pan, pressing down with your hands. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside. While the crust is cooling, prepare the topping.
Mix together the coconut, both chocolate chips, and the condensed milk with a spoon. Add the pecans, if desired. Spread the mixture evenly over the baked crust.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is well-set and light brown. Watch carefully at the end of baking time and do not let the top become too bubbly or dark. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 2 hours or until chocolate chips are no longer soft. Cut just before serving. Makes 12-16 bars
*1/3 teaspoon is a little more then 1/4 tsp but less then 1/2 tsp
**Substituted 1 cup of 2% evaporated milk and 1 1/4 cup of sugar heated it in a pan over low heat until all the sugar dissolved.