Mud Hen Bars {My New Addiction}

Ooey-gooey cookie bars layered with marshmallows, chocolate chips and finished off with a brown sugar meringue topping. 
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 and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the brown sugar and spread over the marshmallows and chocolate chips.

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.

Cool in pan and then cut into bars.

Yield: 8-10
Author: Tina Butler | Mommy's Kitchen
Mud Hen Bars

Mud Hen Bars

Ooey-gooey cookie bars layered with marshmallows, chocolate chips and finished off with a brown sugar meringue topping.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 Hour


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4- teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  1. 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).
  2. 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 and chocolate chips.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the brown sugar. Spread the meringue mixture over the marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  4. 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.
  5. You may have to cook them a bit longer than 30 minutes to get the bottom crust completely cooked through.
  6. Cool in pan and cut. If the meringues starts to browns to quickly cover lightly with a piece of foil sprayed with baking spray.


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 and chocolate chips. I know they are suppose to be gooey a bit, but the meringue tends to brown quicker than the cookie part.

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Unknown said…
Oh my goodness those look good! I will definitely have to try those!
DessertForTwo said…
I absolutely love mud hens! Your recipe is identical to mine, so I know it's great! Thanks for reminding me it's time to bake another batch of these! Maybe a batch for two?? ;)
Tina Butler said…
I say go with two batches :)
Siggy said…
These look really good Tina! Thanks for sharing them :)
PKowis said…
My other kid is a pitcher for the Mud Hens I will have to pass the recipe along to his mom for her to make. I am sure he will like these. Thanks for sharing I will make them this weekend.
Amy Anderson said…
Thanks for the tip about cooking the crust a little first.

I've never heard of these before but they're going in my "to do" list!
Oh, those do look good! I've never heard of them before, but I like what I see!
Leah said…
ooh..definitely printing this recipe! my family has been on a bit of a 'bar' kick recently---i'm sure everyone will love these!!!
Anonymous said…
I love this! I live in Toledo and I prefer the second reason behind the name! ;)
Avril said…
Um yes....I can see why these bars are addictive!!! I wonder if i can hold back from making these bars myself so I too don't get addicted!?! I think I should at least try making them ONCE...don't you ;-)!
Peggy Clyde said…
I have never heard of these. I love cookies of any kind and can't wait to try these. Thanks.
Oh yummy, these look really good, I really need to try these soon, Hope the family is all settled and loving the new place. Thanks for the great recipe, my kids would love these!
Oh yes...I have made these and they are indeed delicious! Now that you've reminded me of them, I think I'll have to make a batch!
Kelly said…
I made these tonight and it was very easy expect I had a hard time getting the egg whites to form a peak. I have a Kitchen Aide stand mixer,so I think it was a little hard since the bowl was so deep and the mixer didn't get it well. It took some time but I got it. It wasn't like the pic on here, but it worked. I didn't put the crust in for a little before hand, so the bottom part in the middle was kinda gooey where it didn't cook but it still was fine and tasted yummy! I will have to try this again sometime and hopefully it will be better.
Patty said…
I have wanted to make these for quite some time. As to the name... I grew up with the saying"Ugly as a mud hen" never knew why mud hens were ugly, just saying...
Tina Butler said…
Kelly that is what happened to mine, so that is why I added the note about maybe cooking the crust a bit first. I don't use my kitchenaid to make my meringues because it is to deep and it wont get it perfect. I just pull out my hand mixer for that. Try again using a hand mixer and baking the crust a bit first. The meringue browns rather quickly which in my opinion does not give the bars quite enough time to cook that bottom crust. It should be a bit gooey but not a lot.
Unknown said…
Oh wow. These look amazing. Chocolate chip cookie crust is what I am about. My family is coming into town next weekend and I think I will make Mud Hens for them, that way I won't eat the whole pan myself. About how long did you cook the crust first?
Tina Butler said…
Lisa I didn't cook the crust first. I just added a note at the end of the recipe stating that next time I will go that route and cook it a bit first. I would say about 10 minutes might be a good calculation. Then take out of the oven and add the chocolate chips, marshmallows and nuts and top with the meringue.
Uhhhh, yeah....that diet I was starting today...ummmm, well, maybe tomorrow.... LOL
Anonymous said…
I love these bars. I had never heard of them either until i found the recipe on cookie madness blog. YUM!

Unknown said…
Oh my!! How have I never heard of a bar like this... These look amazing!! Thanks so much for linking up to 2 Maids a Baking!! Hope to see you back next Tuesday!! Oh and I am your newest follower!!
Anonymous said…
I had these years ago and can't believe I just found the recipe! Thank you and can't wait to make them. Love your site and just subscribed to your email, your Facebook page and Your blog. Love it! Im2bizee.
Kim Lewis said…
Those look wonderful!! I will definitely try those. I will add this website to my favorites for sure!! Thanks for sharing!!
Becky said…
Made these last night and they were great!! I cooked the cookie for 10 min first and I would say next time I think I will only cook it for 7-8 min. They even taste really good today! Thanks so much!
shana said…
I'm going to try these with another flavor of chips because I have 3 family members that don't eat chocolate (sad for them, I know).
But I also have some mint-chocolate chips I am going to use.
These will be good to take to a funeral I have coming up.
Danielle said…
thanks for this it helped answer my question because I had a hard time getting them to cook all the way through to and thought it may just be me and I was messing something up. So i googled mud hen bars recipe and came to your site! I may do the same thing next time I cook it and let the bottom cook a few minutes first!
Adelyn said…

it looks great. Am planning to make it for my Christmas potluck party.

Am wondering if I should leave it to cool in the pan itself or have to cool on a rack like cakes?

Do we need to line with parchment paper/oil/butter the pan to prevent it from sticking to the pan?

Also, can this be made in advance? If so, how many days in advance? should it be stored in the fridge or on the counter in an airtight container?

Hope to hear from you soon.
They look wonderful. They remind me of a bar that my mom made for me when I was a kid.
Anonymous said…
Waaaay back when I was in elementary school, our mascot was the Mud Hen. We didn't know what a Mud Hen was nor why we were called that. Many years later, they changed the mascot to the Comets. Probably because there aren't many swamps or marshes around our neck of the woods (Oklahoma City). Probably no Mud Hens either. Seeing the name of this recipe brought back great school memories, plus it looks delicious!
Anonymous said…
My family has always made mud hen I spread it on a cookie sheet instead of a glass pan which may help with getting the crust done
Linda said…
Made these for tonight's dessert, came out great. I did bake the cookie for 15 minutes then added the rest of the toppings then baked for 15 more minutes. We did have some still left, do I need to refrigerate since it has mirangue?