Home cooking: A new type of brownie

February 15, 2011

The ProStart program is a professional food-service curriculum taught at high schools across the country, including four in Washington County — North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Williamsport and Hancock.  

Students learn about more than simply preparing food. They learn about nutrition, marketing, cost control, industry trends, career tips and more. A student who completes both levels of the program successfully and works 400 hours in the food service industry is eligible for college credit. Some Pro-Start graduates have received raises and promotions at their place of employment.

At South High, I launched a food-related business with my students called Rebel Bakers Catering. For our first job, we produced 175 red-velvet cupcakes with cream-cheese icing and a two-layer wedding cake, plus side dishes for the rehearsal dinner. In addition, a few students served at the wedding.

Since then, Rebel Bakers Catering has been busy. The ProStart curriculum coupled with our catering activities gives students hands-on experience and a good foundation for workplace readiness.

Our regular products include these Congo bars. The recipe came from Yankee Magazine's website,

— Ginger Brindley, ProStart 1 and 2 teacher at South Hagerstown High School

Congo Bars

1 1/4 sticks butter
2 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12-ounce package chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch-by-15-inch pan.

Beat butter and sugar in bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; blend well. Fold in chips and nuts.

Turn into pan and spread evenly.

Bake until top is lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Cut into bars. Congo bars can be frozen.

Makes 32 bars.

— Reader-submitted recipe reprinted with permission of Yankee Magazine.

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