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Favorite Trail Recipes I: Pete's Congo Bars (4/04)

Last winter, we asked our readers to tell us about their favorite trail food. We heard from Charles “Pete” Davis, who lives in Crested Butte, Colorado but remains a loyal Burlington Section member. He said he’s made and revised the following recipe many times over 30-40 years.

These trail munchies are called Congo Bars, and Pete doesn’t know why - but “they contain a lot of calories and quick energy, and are much less expensive than Clif Bars!”

Any more recipes or favorite trail foods? Let us know!

Pete's Congo Bars

First, coat a 9x12 glass or metal oven pan with shortening. (The pan has to be at least 2” deep!) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Second, mix in large bowl:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups high gluten white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts (or use cracked wheat)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar

Third, add:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup broken walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Fourth, add and mix well:

  • 1 tsp. vanilla (or whisky or rum)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 8 oz. water (closer to 6 oz. if you’re at or near sea level)

Fifth, put mixture into greased oven dish and bake for 45 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. Note: Pete has adapted this recipe to baking at 9000 feet and he urges us here in Vermont to watch carefully the first time we make this recipe to avoid overcooking.

Sixth, cool the bars to room temperature, cut them into pieces, and wrap individual pieces in plastic sandwich bags.

You can also bake these as cookies. Drop two tablespoons at a time and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Pete’s bars don’t need refrigeration, but if you’re not going to be hiking for several days, put them in large airtight plastic bags in the fridge.

Pete says he lived for forty years in Chittenden County. In his new home, he’s been a fully trained and active member of the Crested Butte Search and Rescue Team for almost eight years and says the Team is busy year round.

Thanks, Pete!