Wednesday, January 22, 2020

RETRO CONGO SQUARES: National Blonde Brownies Day!

Today is National Blonde Brownies Day. Blond Brownies is a misnomer. Blondies are not Brownies! They get their flavor from brown sugar and not cocoa or chocolate, but they're wonderful for exactly what they are--a great butterscotch 'brownie.' Over the years, I've added macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, or a combination of these ingredients to the following basic recipe. The variety of additions is huge, and the basic batter is a delicious brown sugar concoction. Blondies are simple to make, and I highly recommend them. I use dark brown sugar because I think it has more flavor. As in any recipe, the quality of the ingredients makes a difference in your final product.

I love this Retro Ad & Recipe for Congo Squares aka Blondies or Blond Brownies. As always, you can never have too many recipes!  

Congo Squares or Bars, by the way, have nothing to do with Africa. There's nothing like these sweets in any African country that I know of...and you can't even grow wheat in Central Africa. So why are they called Congo Squares? Who knows.. maybe because of the exotic ingredients (chocolate, coconut, nuts) which might come from Africa? I also read somewhere that these Congo Squares originated in the Southeast (US). There was a plaza in New Orleans called Congo Square which in the early 19th century was a gathering place for both free and enslaved African-Americans who met for marketing, music-making and dancing... probably not the connection, but a possibility. Whatever the origin, this is a great treat for the weekend! This Nestle ad is from 1949 and doesn't include the cocoanut, but throw some toasted coconut in.


Bridget Ryan said...

Thanks for posting this! I have a very similar recipe that is a family recipe passed down through my mom's mom's family. It's called "chocolate chip scotch bars", and I make them so often I could make them in my sleep. I don't have enough patience for shaping and then batch-baking cookies too often, and they're basically chocolate chip cookies in bar form! I've always wondered about the "scotch" in the name, and now I know where that comes from!

Frogger67 said...

Hi…. I have been searching for the original Congo Squares recipe for a long time and MAYBE this is it!! My husband’s mom made them for him frequently when he was a child. However, I cannot read the ingredients list here because the words and measures are too blurry. Can you possibly show a better copy for us? I would be so grateful! Thanks!!!