I have been wanting to make these Mud Hen Bars for quite sometime. This was actually a recipe I had forgotten about until I saw them pop up on the Sunday Bakers blog. These delicious little bars are quite addicting to say the least. The bottom of these bars consist are a ooey gooey cookie crust that is then topped with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and nuts.
Now wait because we aren't done yet. I know like all of that isn't bad enough right? Finally these decadent little bars are topped with a crispy brown sugar meringue topping that puffs up as they bake. Goodness all I can say is evil, evil, evil. It was so hard to wait for these to cool so I could get my first taste. My husband just happened to get home as I pulled these bars out of the oven.
He kept hovering around the pan waiting for me to cut him a piece. I told him they were way to hot to cut. He said I don't care just cut me one. Goodness some people just don't have any patience. LOL. In his defense I could hardly wait to get a taste myself.
These bars are best right out of the oven after they cool down just a bit. Although my husband said they were just as good the next day. So everyone is different. I do know one thing I don't know where the name Mud Hens came from, so I looked it up on Google and this is what I came up with. Both theories are pretty interesting.
A mud hen is a bird with long legs and short wings that inhabits swamps and marshes. Such birds have been known as marsh hens, rails, coots or mud hens. This bird requires a great deal of effort to get airborne so it has to paddle across the water for quite a ways before it attains flight. This is what gives it the name "mud hen", because it stirs up a lot of mud in the process.
Some folks say the sugary meringue topping on these bars resemble the color of mud. There is also a minor league baseball team called the Toledo Mud Hens. The name "Mud Hens" was first used in 1896, after the team was bought by Charles Strobel.
One of the two parks where the team played that year, Bay View Park, was adjacent to marshland which was inhabited by American Coots, also known as marsh hens or mud hens, from which the team adopted their name. Your guess is as good as mine if either one of these are true. I do know one thing you gotta make these bars. They're simply divine!
Let's get started on making these bars. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the granulated sugar and butter until creamy.
Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (set the egg whites aside for later). In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and mix well.
Spread into 9x13" pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown and the crust is cooked through. (this part can be difficult to determine) if you see the meringue browning to fast and the bars are not fully cooked just lightly cover with a piece of foil sprayed with baking spray.
Mud Hen Bars
1/2 - cup butter, room temperature
1 - cup granulated sugar
3 - eggs
1-1/2 - cups all-purpose flour
1 - teaspoon baking powder
1/4 - teaspoon salt
1 - cup nuts, chopped
1/2 - cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - cup marshmallows
1 - cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the granulated sugar and butter until creamy. Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (put aside the whites for later).
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and mix well. Spread into 9x13" pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the brown sugar. Spread the meringue mixture over the marshmallows and chocolate chips.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown and the crust is cooked through.
You may have to cook them a bit longer than 30 minutes to get the bottom crust completely cooked through.
Cool in pan and cut. If the meringues starts to browns to quickly cover lightly with a piece of foil sprayed with baking spray.
Cooks Note: I had a bit of difficulty getting the bottom crust to cook all they way through. Next time I might cook the bottom crust just a bit before adding the marshmallow, chocolate chips and nuts. I know they are suppose to be gooey a bit, but the meringue tends to brown quicker than the cookie part.