Mud Hen Bars Recipe

Mud Hen Bars Recipe
Apparently mud hens are quite ugly, and the saying, "Ugly as a mud hen" was a popular one many years ago. Although nobody really knows why these Mud Hen Bars are named after those ugly birds, it is widely thought that it is because the brown sugar meringue that bakes atop the bar cookies makes the finished bars turn out quite ugly. Mud Hen bars date back over 100 years, and are a southern bar cookie. Originally, they were pecan bars with a topping of meringue, but later versions include chocolate chips and mini marshmallows; many leave out the pecans entirely.
These chewy bars keep well in a covered container for several days if they last that long. Although you can use soft miniature marshmallows, I've found that when baking, if the marshmallows are a bit stale, they don't melt inside the baked goods. I now poke holes in the bag on my pantry shelf so that they will be fairly dried out before I bake with them.

48 Bars

1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
4 egg yolks

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped pecans, (optional)
2 cups mini marshmallows, preferably stale

Brown Sugar Meringue:
4 egg whites
2 cups brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Line an 11" x 17" jellyroll pan with parchment, or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks until light.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt; mixing well; press the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, pecans, if using, and mini marshmallows.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy; with the mixer on high speed, beat in the brown sugar.
  7. Continue beating until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture forms soft peaks.
  8. Spread the mixture over the chocolate chips, pecans, and marshmallows. (This is easiest with an offset spatula - be patient, spreading takes a bit of time as it seems that there isn't enough meringue, but it will come together evenly after a while.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the top is puffy and golden brown.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 181 Calories from Fat 65
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 36% Protein 4% Carb. 61%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 36 mg
Sodium 112 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 2 g

Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 2%

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