Due to popular demand (that's you, Oz), today I present you with an entry about the rich, thick, ooey-gooey Congo Bars. Made by mummy. They are yummy. In my tummy.

My mother first came across the recipe when, in the late 80's, the Clark County Medical Society Auxiliary decided to compile a collection of favorite recipes from various members of the local medical community. Entitled "Just What the Doctor Ordered," the recipes are varied, but neither necessarily healthy for you (Microwave Fudge with an entire can of sweetened condensed milk) nor always appetizing (Savory Meatballs include 1 lb. hot sausage served with a jar of apple butter - blech!). Some recipes include exotic ingredients (1/2 cup of cinnamon redhots?!) and some are almost joke-like and include stuff you might find in the dark recesses of the hardest to reach cabinet in the kitchen (Seasoned Oyster Crackers: Pour crackers in a large bowl. Pour in 1c. oil and mix. Sprinkle on 1 pkg. Ranch Dressing and mix. Stir thoroughly until oil is absorbed). My mother's contributions, of course, are wonderful and delicious.

Although a novice at first (as are we all), my mother has become quite an accomplished epicurean. She has always been fond of experimenting with recipes, whether through curiosity ("Well, the recipe calls for nuts, but perhaps chocolate chips would be better") or through necessity ("What am I going to do with all of these bushels of zucchinis from the garden?"). Not all experiments are successes ("The lasagna recipe requires tomato sauce, but I don't have any. Oh well. Tomato ketchup should work just as well.") But for the most part, her instincts are right and true and have kept us happy and healthy for years.

One dark and stormy night, as the lightening flashed and the thunder clapped, my mother whipped on her lab apron, polished her gleaming cooking utensils, flared up the oven, and altered the recipe for Congo Squares by replacing the 2/3 c. margarine with an equivalent amount of cream cheese. And lo! Congo Bars (as we now know them) were created! And they were good! Seriously. Find out for yourself.

2/3 margarine or cream cheese if you dare
1 box brown sugar (fresh and soft. dark brown if you like gooey.)
3 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. package chocolate chips (dark chocolate is the best)

Combine all the ingredients and bake for 30 - 35 minutes in a greased 9x13 pan at 350 degrees. Cool and cut into squares. Call Baji and invite her to share.

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