‘Congo” brownies, bars or squares seemingly have no connection to the African Congo, based on the standard ingredients. Some of the recipes do call for coconut, so maybe that was just enough “exotic” to fire up someone’s imagination.

Carol Fellmy of North Charleston, a transplant from Michigan, requested a recipe for “Congo” brownies made with butterscotch chips.

Looking at different sources, including The Post and Courier’s archives and those on the Internet, it became clear that there is no consensus about what these bars are. Some have chocolate chips, some butterscotch and some both. Most have nuts of some sort, either walnuts or pecans. Coconut appears and disappears. Brown sugar is common.

But it is a “blonde” batter, not a chocolate-flavored one. “Blonde” usually refers to the inclusion of butterscotch and vanilla, according to the “Food Lovers Companion.” But not always, as the evidence shows.

Then there is a similar bar that goes by the local name, Charleston Chews or Chewies. They basically are an adaptation of a brown sugar bar with everything but the butterscotch and/or chocolate chips.

Eileen Stevens shared a “Congo” recipe with these notes: “My sister-in-law, Lyn, sent me this recipe about 30 years ago.”

Congo Bars

Ingredients

11/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup shortening or butter

1 cup firmly packed (dark or light) brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts. Melt shortening or butter and add brown sugar. Cook slowly until brown sugar is melted, then allow to cool. Beat in eggs thoroughly, one at a time. Add vanilla. Stir in flour-nut mixture and mix well. Add chips. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Check for doneness with toothpick. Cut into squares or bars.

We would be remiss not to include a version with coconut. Here’s one adapted from The Seattle Times.

Congo Bars

Makes 36

Ingredients

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

21/4 cups (1 pound) brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

23/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts

11/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels

11/2 cups coconut, divided (optional)

Directions

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour with baking powder and salt, then mix into batter.

Fold in nuts, chocolate chips and 1 cup of the coconut, mixing just until evenly distributed. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake. After 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with reserved coconut. Return to oven and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, until top is golden and coconut is lightly toasted. Cut into bars.

We also would be scolded if we didn’t include this recipe while we have the chance:

Charleston Chewies

Ingredients

1 stick butter or margarine

1 pound (1 box) dark brown sugar

3 eggs

11/2 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the 3 eggs until fluffy. Add the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the vanilla and the chopped nuts last.

Place in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares or bars.

Who’s got the recipe

Evelyn Misko of Charleston writes, “I’m looking for tips and recipes using a pizza stone. I received one as a Christmas gift and so far have only used it for baking pizzas. I would appreciate your readers’ other ideas about using a pizza stone.”

Still on the hunt: Linda Altman of Mount Pleasant is looking for recipes for red rice, chicken or shrimp pilau, etc., that can be made in an electric rice cooker.

Also still looking: William Hearn is trying to find a lost recipe that he thinks appeared in this paper two or three years ago (I couldn’t find it in the archives, though). The article featured three cookie recipes; one chocolate, one ginger and one he’s not sure of. But the chocolate cookie is the recipe he is seeking; it was rolled in confectioners’ sugar.

Ireacindia Frazier of Moncks Corner requests recipes for cupcakes and butter cakes.

Have a recipe you’ve lost or simply desire? Email food@postandcourier.com or call Food and Features Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.