Sometimes I buy cookbooks and wait anxiously for them to arrive by mail only to go through them back and forth countless times without any idea of which recipe to start using them from – I know it sounds stupid, but that is exactly what happens around here.
Then it takes me forever to go back to that cookbook, not because I did not like it but because there were lots of other recipes grabbing my attention in between. I suddenly see the book while looking for something else and take it to the couch with me to go through it back and forth all over again, until I find that makes me run to the kitchen.
I made these bars a long time ago, after making the delicious coconut and pecan bars from the same book, but never posted them – they were scrumptious and were a hit with my former coworkers. I ended up taking a “healthy” route in my baking a while ago and thought that bars made with pecans, chocolate and dulce de leche were a bit too much. While searching for a certain photo I found this picture and thought that it was such a waste not to share this recipe with you – after all, eating a couple of these bars once in a blue moon won’t kill anyone.
While you read the recipe I’ll grab Nancy Baggett’s book and choose something tasty for the weekend. 😉
Dulce de leche swirl congo bars
slightly adapted from the delicious Simply Sensational Cookies
¾ cup (1½ sticks/170g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 ¼ cups (215g) packed light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
1 cup (110g) pecans, chopped
1 cup (165g) dark chocolate chips – I used 53% cocoa solids
1 cup dulce de leche
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 22x32cm (9x13in) baking pan, line it with foil and butter it as well – I used a 20x30cm (8x12in) pan.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring, until melted. Remove from the heat and cool to warm. Stir in the sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until well blended. One at a time, vigorously stir in the eggs. Stir in the flour just until evenly incorporated. Fold in the nuts and chocolate until evenly distributed.
Spread a generous half of the mixture evenly in the pan. Put evenly spaced heaping tablespoonfuls of the dulce de leche over the batter. Then drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. Using a table knife held vertically, swirl the two together to produce a slightly rippled effect; don’t blend them too much.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan over a wire rack. Cut into bars.