Mud Hen Bars


These Mud Hen Bars are a Gooey Chocolate Chip Marshmallow bar topped with Brown Sugar Meringue! So good!!

Sometimes names can be deceiving.

Haven’t you ever met a person and been like, yeah..your parents SO should have named you Jan and not Heather?  Or Brody and not Chuck?


It happens.

Same thing happened with these bars.

They’re called Mud Hen bars.

Which is basically the grossest name ever.

Mud is not tasty…

Hens are all pecky and whatnot…

And apparently a “Mud Hen” is a gross marsh bird that lives in swamps and other wetland-type areas.


Well, I am not a bird-fan in general.  They scare me.  I mean, they can fly.  Think about it.

And Mud Hens are not only birds, they live in swamps.  Swamp birds.  Could there be a worse type?


But defying all laws of logic I made these Mudhen Bars.

I know, I know.


They sound gross.

But they aren’t.


I have seen recipes for these around, but until I came across an old recipe in my Grandma’s Recipe Card Box, I really didn’t give them a whole lot of thought…THEN a few days later I saw another recipe for them in my Southern Plate cookbook (which is great, btw) and I knew I had to give them a go.

So I did.


They’re really easy.

What they are is a kind-of cookie base, topped with chocolate chips and marshmallows with a yummy brown sugar meringue spread all over the top.


Just sprinkle your chips and marshmallows…


Then mix up your meringue, which is just brown sugar and egg whites…


Then spread that all over the top…


What you’ll get is a gooey cookie bar topped with a light, crunchy meringue topping.

They are really like nothing else I’ve ever had…

Such a cool combination of textures.  They might not be pretty, but they are tasty.

Mud Hen Bars.. a Gooey Chocolate Chip Marshmallow bar topped with Brown Sugar Meringue!

Just forget that they’re called Mudhens 🙂



Mud Hen Bars
makes 24 bars
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 whole egg + 2 eggs, separated
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  1. Preheat 350°
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking pan lightly with cooking spray
  3. In a large bowl cream together shortening, butter, granulated sugar, 1 whole egg plus 2 yolks and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined. Spread in prepared pan.
  5. Top with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.
  6. In a clean mixing bowl with whisk attachment on your mixer, beat the 2 remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes on high.
  7. Fold in 1 light brown sugar and stir until combined and there are no lumps.
  8. Spread on top of chocolate chips and marshmallows.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares
adapted my Grandma's recipe and Southern Plate


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98 Comments on "Mud Hen Bars"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
September 23, 2012 5:33 pm

These look fabulous! Yum!

Sweet T
February 21, 2013 1:37 am

I’m am trying these today!

Averie @ Averie Cooks
September 23, 2012 5:56 pm

Deborah/tasteandtell made these last year and they made her Best Of list for 2011 (how I remember this, I don’t know – I love desserts…lol) But now that I see you make them, I want to make them even more. They have all the layers and elements that I just love!

September 23, 2012 6:05 pm

Looks good to me!

September 23, 2012 6:20 pm

Yum! I’ve never heard of a mud hen before but these bars look delish!

Blog is the New Black
September 23, 2012 7:25 pm

Odd name, delicious treat!

September 23, 2012 8:00 pm

Can’t wait to make these. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

September 23, 2012 8:04 pm

I love the top of these bars!

September 23, 2012 8:08 pm

Whoa. That’s the tastiest dirty pecking hen I’ve ever seen. Durn.

September 23, 2012 9:17 pm

Yum! Those look delicious 😀 I’ll just call them something else in my head so I don’t have to think about swamp birds when I make them lol

Cookbook Queen
September 23, 2012 9:45 pm

Can you believe I have never tried these?

Probably because they are named after a filthy bird.

But if you give them the ok, I guess it’s worth a shot 😉

luv what you do
September 23, 2012 10:30 pm

Those bars definitly look MUCH BETTER than the name implies. I’ve never heard of a mudhen bar, but I will have to give them a try!

September 23, 2012 10:37 pm

I totally made these last year and fell in love with them. Now I need to make more!!

Kim Bee
September 23, 2012 11:08 pm

I don’t care what you call them, just send me a few dozen and I’ll be happy as can be. Love these!

Shiloh Barkley
September 24, 2012 12:02 am

These look really really tasty!!!! I would make them. Then rename them.

Robyn | Add a Pinch
September 24, 2012 12:09 am

These things should be illegal they are so good!

September 24, 2012 7:32 am

I have never heard that name before but I LOVE it!! Girl, these look amazing!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet
September 24, 2012 7:35 am

I’ve been wanting to make mud hen bars forever but always forget, thanks for a delicious reminder!

September 24, 2012 8:19 am

I don’t care what they’re called – they look incredible!

I’m totally scared of birds too. I had a roommate with a large parrot and basically lived in fear for 1 entire year.

Brian @ A Thought For Food
September 24, 2012 8:47 am

How gooey these look! Ok, is it too early for these? No? Ok…. give me the plate please!

September 24, 2012 8:48 am

Oh Shelly, those are enough to make me run around the block 20 times, just so my blood sugars don’t get out of control…because if those were anywhere in my vicinity, I would eat one. Diabetes be damned! 🙂

September 24, 2012 8:50 am

I love mud hens! And I love Christy’s cookbook 🙂

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
September 24, 2012 9:05 am

Love these Shelly! I always look forward to your posts!

Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies
September 24, 2012 10:02 am

I’ve never heard of these before! But I need them in my life. Anything with meringue, I am there.

September 24, 2012 10:19 am

Shelly—Have you seen the Pumkin Spice cream cheese they have out now? Aldi has it but Philly Brand has it out in the regular grocery stores I see. It taste like pumkin cheesecake straight from the container! I had a hard time not just sitting down with a spoon and polishing it all off!! But I keep thinking it would be great in a fall dessert…but what?? Have you seen it/tried it? Any ideas??

Brenda @ a farmgirl
September 24, 2012 10:50 am

I’ve heard of these before, but have not made them. Your photos and description definitely make me want to change that, though! That meringue on top looks like a great texture contrast. Yum!

September 24, 2012 12:09 pm

I love Mud Hen Bars!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe! These look fantastic!! 🙂

Erin @ Making Memories
September 24, 2012 12:50 pm

I’ve wondered about that name. But they sure look tasty!

Ali @ Gimme Some Oven
September 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Whoa – these look stunning!

Rachel Cooks
September 24, 2012 1:45 pm

I don’t care WHAT they are called! Wow! I could eat the whole pan!

September 24, 2012 2:05 pm

You are so right…weird name, but they look delicious!

September 24, 2012 2:17 pm

They look fabulous!!! Swamp birds. Yikes.

Mary Jane
Mary Jane
September 24, 2012 2:19 pm

With a name so memorable like that, how could you ever rename it? 🙂 Omgosh, thanks for the tip on the pumpkin cream cheese! Philadelphia cream cheese has milk chocolate and dark chocolate Indulgence brand of soft chocolate cream cheese that is incredible. The dark chocolate is my favorite! They sell it in little gold tubs. I can’t wait to see some recipes with this fabulous, creamy deliciousness!

Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes
September 24, 2012 2:23 pm

I have never heard of these before! But this post cracked me up! They look delicious.

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
September 24, 2012 2:26 pm

Brown sugar meringue?! Oh my this sounds incredible! I have never heard of these before, but now I want them!

nicole p
nicole p
September 24, 2012 2:33 pm

I’m really glad I’m not the only one who is afraid of birds. they’re seriously one of the worst animals in the world. i think we should just come up with another name for htese bars all together

Carlas Confections
September 24, 2012 2:41 pm

The name doesnt sound fantastic but they sure do look great 🙂

September 24, 2012 3:18 pm

These actually look amazing, despite the name. I think the coolest thing is just digging through old recipe boxes, particularly family recipe boxes! My mom is set to inherit my grandfather’s old recipe box, which is filled with tons of recipes passed down from his family, as well. I think on my next visit to see him, I’ll have to dig through and see what treasures I find!

September 24, 2012 3:35 pm

I am totally he same way about birds! They terrify me.

Those look soooo yummy though. Will definitely be trying them!

Wendy aka Roo
September 24, 2012 4:01 pm

These look yummers!!! My son would love them, but he’s away at school, do these have to be refrigerated? Would love to send him some!
Thanks for the recipe..btw new to your blog & I love it!

Cookie Sleuth
September 24, 2012 4:55 pm

These look fantastic!

September 24, 2012 6:17 pm

Mudhens is the name of the minor league baseball team in Toledo, Ohio. I know a lot of my friends and family would love to eat these!

September 24, 2012 6:17 pm

My kids were off school today so I made these bars for them. Very good and they were a hit with all of us. Thank you for the yummy, new recipe!! Loved the topping.

Natalie @ Free Range Human
September 24, 2012 7:25 pm

Wow! Do you ever stop coming up with great ideas? Yum!

Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
September 24, 2012 7:27 pm

That’s so funny! Such an awful name for such a delicious dessert. They look fantastic!

September 24, 2012 7:33 pm

These look seriously addicting.

Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings
September 25, 2012 9:26 am

i think i would eat the whole tray!

September 25, 2012 10:26 am

Here in Toledo we know exactly what a Mud Hen is! Our minor league baseball team is the Mud Hens 🙂

Annie @ Annie
September 25, 2012 10:35 am

I will gladly make these under the condition that we all agree to not call them Mud Hens. It’s just plain odd but that meringue may be worth it.