Food You Can Eat: Congo Squares

Yes, I ate them both.

First things first:  This is another of the recipes from my grandmother, which I’ve made to verify that what I think are the instructions, and what are the actual instructions, are in fact the same thing.  You’ll notice a distinct lack of oatmeal in this recipe.  You’re welcome.

A caveat before we get started:  I have no idea why these are called Congo Squares.  I’m sure it was some super charming 1950’s thing that had literally nothing to do with the Central African nation, but ultimately these are blondies.  Also, I used butter instead of shortening because Mrs. Butcher would have a heart attack over the possibility of me having a heart attack by eating something with shortening in it once a year.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Lb. Brown Sugar

2 ¾ Cups Flour

2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

⅔ Cup Shortening

3 Eggs

1 Cup Nuts

1 pkg. Chocolate Bits

Melt shortening over medium heat on the stove.  Add brown sugar and mix well, taking care not to overheat the mixture. You don’t want the shortening (or butter) to darken.  Cool. 

Notice the color of the butter around the edges. It’s just melted–not actually cooked.

Pour the shortening/sugar into a mixer bowl because you do not want to do the rest of this by hand.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Then add dry ingredients, mixing in nuts and chocolate bits last.  This isn’t so much a batter as it is a dough, and it will be very thick.

Spread dough into a greased 15 ½” x 10 ½” pan.

You could always just eat this raw. I almost did.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean, and that the top is golden brown.

Sure, you’ll hate yourself for eating this all at once. Still worth it.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes to set, and then destroy it with a fork while guzzling a gallon of milk.

About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 557 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. you know i have to

  2. Most excellent. What kind of nuts did you use? Walnuts? Peanuts? Doesn’t matter I suppose, just curious.

  3. I could eat more than I should of those…

  4. You got me wondering about the name, so looked them up. It looks like these date back at least as far back as 1942 based on this Nestle’s ad, just a few years after the first Toll House cookie recipe was published.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the shortening is there due to shortages of butter either because of the Depression or WW 2. Although chocolate was also sort of scarce then, so who knows.

    • I’m having serious deja vu. Did we not have a big conversation about congo squares here before, and where the name came from? And I had found it was probably just a word to mean “exotic” because congo squares have coconut, which was an exotic ingredient back then even though it doesn’t come from the Congo. And then butcher said he didn’t think they had to have coconut (as evidenced by the above recipe) but the rest of us are used to them with coconut? 

  5. Cooking- but not topic-related, look what I just found out about and ordered (used):

    Sadly, it is from 1996, not 1966, but my used copy was about $8 total. My copy is coming from a Goodwill many states away from me, so a good cause (this cookbook was written for charity, too) and shipping through Amazon. I should be getting it in a week or two…

    • I didn’t know which wife was Barbara, so I looked her up.
      Her previous husband was Zeppo Marx! I’d think something like that would be disqualifying for Sinatra.

      • Have you ever heard about Frank Sinatra’s mother? I don’t think they asked a lot of questions in that family.

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