Mud Hen Bars

February 17, 2012

Bet I’ve got your attention huh? I’m sure you’re wondering what in the heck is a “mud hen”. I certainly didn’t know either. However, when I looked over the ingredients in these delicious bars, I knew I had to make them and all of my pondering about that hen ceased for the moment. These bars have a delicious cookie base, which once baked, gets covered with marshmallows and semi-sweet chocolate chips. And as if that wasn’t enough, then you cover the lot of it with a brown sugar meringue and pop it in the oven to bake. That rich chocolate melts, the marshmallows bubble up into the meringue, which puffs up to a crispy, crackly cloud. Oh my Giddy Aunt!!! These bars are amazing!

Once I polished off the whole pan (just kidding….sort of…)

I started wondering how such a delicious treat can to have such a bizarre name. Well, it seems a Mud Hen is a type of bird with really short wings and rather long legs that lives in swamps and marshes. The poor little thing has a hard time getting airborne and has to pedal along the water for quite a while, stirring up a bunch of mud in the process. Hence Mud Hen.

The bird himself caught kicking up some mud!

Apparently some folks think that the lovely meringue topping on this bar resembles that muddy water. While eating that lovely crunchy meringue I can absolutely say that I never once thought of mud. But, there you go. Don’t let the odd name and mysterious origins dissuade you from making these amazing bars. They are very easy to prepare and gorgeous right out of the oven. They will not disappoint! And the name will undoubtedly inspire conversation at any event to which you bring them!

Mud Hen Bars

recipe from twopeasandtheirpod

yield: 24 bars


  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided (1 egg, 2 yolks, and 2 egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added this)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I left these out)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (put aside the whites for later.) Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until just combined. Spread mixture into 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and nuts-if using.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the brown sugar. Spread mixture evenly over marshmallows and chocolate chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown. Let bars cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.


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