Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bad Name, Great Recipe - Mud Hen Bars, Great for Super Bowl Sunday

This my friends is a Mud Hen Bar.  A What?  A Mud Hen Bar.  A what?  You read that correctly.  What exactly is a Mud Hen and why would anyone name something so delicious such an awful name?  I wish I knew.  Truly.  This is something you will want to make in the very near future.  They would be excellent for Super Bowl Sunday!  They are easy to make and so, so good.

I tried to do some research on why they would be named Mud Hen Bars, but with no luck.  Seems there are many people on the world wide web asking the same question.  Evidently the recipe has been around for years and years with no information about how the name came to be.  This is what I did find.  There is a Mud Hen, New Jersey, a minor league baseball team in Toledo, Ohio, named the Mud Hens, and a Mud Hen is a bird that lives in the marshes, is very round with long legs and has trouble launching itself into flight.  Now, I see no connection to any of these other than the fact that the original recipe could possibly have come from Mud Hen, New Jersey.  Even then, I think I would have come up with a better name.  Seriously, Mud Hen does NOT sound inviting in any way and they are really, really good!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites, Plain Chicken.  I read over the ingredients and knew these would be good because I have been making a cookie bar called Chinese Chews for years and they are somewhat similar. (I'll share that one some day).   Now there's another name - Chinese Chews.  Where did that name come from?  Makes you wonder and they are just as good as Mud Hen Bars.

Here is what you need to make these delectable treats:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 whole egg
2 eggs separated
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, beat the white sugar and butter together until creamy.  Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, keeping the whites for later.  Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Spread cookie batter into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.

Sprinkle the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top of the unbaked cookie crust.
(Are you thinking s'mores yet?  That's what I thought, but kind of yes and no.)

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  A stiff peak must stand on it's own.
Now, fold in the brown sugar.  This is your meringue.  Folding means stirring from the bottom up and over the top, not just mixing.  Be gentle.
Spread the meringue mixture over the marshmallows and chocolate chips.  Bake for 30 minutes.
It looks kind of flat when you first spread it on, but looks like this after it is baked.
That lovely merengue gets nice and puffy and brown and kind of crunchy.  Oh my.

Let cool in the pan and cut into squares.  Serve.  Try to keep from eating them all in one sitting.

These bars are sweet, I am warning you now.  But, holy cow they are good.  My only idea would be to add chopped nuts and maybe even some coconut if you like either or both.  Wowsa.  That would make them over the top good.

You have a nice layer of cookie base, just a hint of chocolate chip cookie, but not quite because of the melted marshmallows in the middle with the chocolate chips.  The texture of the meringue is heavenly with all that brown sugar in it.  They are chewy bars that you will just have to make to understand how good they are.

Yeah, you need to make these.  They would be a real hit for Super Bowl Sunday.  Dan LOVES them. If you're like me and don't really care about the game, but do love the good eats, these are for you!  They will make your day.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Even though the name is not particularly appealing for a recipe, don't pass it by.  Names can be deceiving.  ; )

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