You can eat a mud hen? I’m so glad you didn’t know either. At first, I was worried mud hens were a Texas dessert that had eluded my childhood, given that a dessert with a funny name is most likely Texan (see Scotcheroos, Hello Dolly bars, Better Than Sex Cake, dump cake, divinity, petit fours, moon pies, etc). I almost called my Mom to declare I wasn’t raised properly. Thank goodness I didn’t because mud hens are a Deep South dessert, not Texan.
I discovered mud hens in Christy Jordan’s wonderful Southern Plate cookbook. It was the first recipe I made from the book and it was delicious. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that—I paid full price for her book and waited in line for her to sign it just like everyone else at Food Blog South in Alabama. And let me tell you, it was worth the wait. Christy is so sweet and charming and friendly and pretty and gracious and joyous and fun. Well, I feel this way about almost everyone in the South, but she must be the one teaching everyone their manners and niceties down there because she really sets the bar high.
I made these bars for a cook-out and made the mistake of setting them out before dinner—they were gone before the meat came off the grill.
Mud hens = chocolate chip cookie base + marshmallow-nut layer + brown sugar meringue.
If you would like to make a full 9×13″ pan of these babies, check out Christy’s full recipe here.
Yields 2 bars about 2.5? x 4.5? each.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon shortening, plus extra for pan
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Grease a 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pan with shortening. Preheat oven to 350.
- In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, shortening, and sugar. Beat this mixture very well before adding the egg yolk and continuing to beat.
- Sprinkle the flour, salt and baking powder over the top and beat until the dough comes together in a mass. At first it will be crumbly, but keep beating and it will firm up. Spread the dough in the bottom of the loaf pan evenly.
- Sprinkle on top the chocolate chips, lightly pressing them into the dough. Next sprinkle the marshmallows and pecans on top.
- Next, beat the remaining egg white until stiff. Add the brown sugar and fold it in well. Spread it on top of the nuts and marshmallows. Don't worry if the marshmallows and nuts get all mixed up into the meringue--you want this.
- Bake for 23-27 minutes, until the meringue is nicely browned. Let cool in the pan for an hour before removing them from the pan (or else the bottom might get soggy).