Mud Hen Bars

Dirty poultry desserts. Say what?

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Okay, so that’s not what “mud hen” really means, but I swear I was on the right track when I first heard the term “mud hen bars” two blissful months ago and tried my hand at creating my own!

Let me break this down for you and blow your soon-to-be-enlightened mind…

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Brown sugar meringue top. Yes, this is actually a thing. It is so much a thing, in fact, that these bars might just explode in the face of its ultimate thingy-ness. Crackle, meringue, yum!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Base. Possibly my favorite kind of base, unless you count the rebel base from Star Wars, in which case this cookie base swoops in for a close second and Ala collects major geekdom points (+10 EXP, Lvl Up!).

Chocolate Chunks. I support your impulse to throw many chocolate chips in your batter until it becomes chunkier than a sedentary monkey with fifty pounds of butter cake…

Now that I’ve walked you through that drool-worthy deliciousness, I want to talk life stuff. But first, some weird performance artsy gifs…

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If you’re wondering why in holy chocolations I was filming myself breaking off giant chunks of Mud Hen Bars (don’t worry, I ate them all myself afterward), I have no idea either. I think I might have been having a bad day and suddenly realized that my petty grad student income isn’t big enough to justify buying a punching bag. Outlets, outlets…

Between these and stress eating, I really need to find a better outlet for my feelz. Seriously.

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But okay, that’s just me being facetious. Besides the fact that family can be sometimes high-stress in tiny little ways, life has actually been great and relaxing this past week, and I am 110% happy to report that I am rereading the Harry Potter series for the first time in 6 years.

Yes, you read that blasphemy no it really IS blasphemy, right. But for the first time in forever I have tiiiiiiiime!

And this is the first thing I jump to do.

More geekdom points for me, I see.

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My research articles are still coming along and I finally got to visit the Seuss Collection at UCSD, where I got to do cool stuff like NOT rub my face all over Dr. Seuss’s original manuscripts and instead gently, carefully, charily handle the memo paper on which he first penned lines from And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, his first children’s picture book.

I even had enough time during my like 10-days’ vacation (still happening, btw) to work on a Top Secret project that I can’t wait to share with you all. Soon!

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In the meantime, though, I’ll be whiling away my lazy days munching on a few of these incredibly crackly, chewy bars–the meringue takes just enough edge off the whole “drowning in richness” dessert experience to make you feel like you’re doing something good for yourself.

And you are.

Or you will be in about 30 minutes when these pop out of your oven, because I know that’s where you’re headed right now, right?


Have a great week, friends!


Mud Hen Bars

Mud Hen Bars

Mud Hen Bars are perfectly chewy, chocolate-chunk-filled cookie bars topped with a crackly brown sugar meringue. A great chance of pace from your run-of-the-mill blondie, and an instant elegant hit on any party tray!


For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Brown Sugar Meringue Topping:

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar: Cream together melted butter and brown sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir in until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  3. For the Brown Sugar Meringue: Beat egg whites until foamy, then add brown sugar and continue beating until whites become stiff and glossy (about 3-4 minutes with hand mixer).
  4. Pour meringue topping and spread evening but gently over cookie layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out with very moist crumbs clinging to it. (The meringue will make it hard to tell if it's done, but it's better to underbake than overbake!)
  5. Allow to bars to cool completely in pan before cutting into delicious, crackly squares.



21 Replies to “Mud Hen Bars”

  1. Well. I guess I like dirty poultry much more than I previously thought!

    1. Hah! Same here, Joanne–well I hope you do like ’em then!

  2. Breaking out from the routine is almost always a good thing! Especially when fabulous Mud Hen Bars are involved!
    BTW: Our dog is named Zeus and one of his nicknames is “Dr. Zeus”…..

    1. Deb I KNEW I liked you for good reasons! Your dog sounds adorable and I love the name so much!! I think the doc himself would definitely have approved. Cheers!!

  3. Lol, your posts are always the best, Ala. I can practically hear your voice as you deftly, expertly zip from one topic to another, dropping in awesome cultural references. I’m sorry to hear you were feeling super stressed out. I hope a panful of these glorious mud hen bars made you feel a bit better! I’ve never heard of them but now all I can think about is cram jamming them into my mouth as fast as my hands will move. They look fan-freaking-tastic! The Dr. Seuss trip sounded really fun (and you showed amazing restraint) and I’m glad to hear you have some free time to re-read Harry Potter. Bake some more of these bars because you deserve it!

    1. Haha! I’ve been reading Harry Potter while basking in a glorious vacation mode so no complaints here! At any rate, I definitely need to figure out how to ship bulk to Vancouver so we can shovel food into our faces at the same time because um, gluttony loves company, right? More baking soon! OH AND please remind me to tell you about this epic dream I had that involved you at one point and shows just how awesome I think you are. Don’t let me forget!!!

      1. Ok, now I’m super intrigued! Tell me about this dream!

  4. I have never ever heard of mud hen bars before, but they sure look tasty!

    1. You will so love these, Marcella! I know because the you’ve been awesome about trying a few of my recipes before and are always so nice about it. Thanks 🙂

  5. You could literally name these bars anything you wanted to and I would still devour them 😛
    Hope they de-stressed you, I know them feels! And Harry potter? YES YES YES once a year 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Ermigawd I adore you, Uru! You’re a HP fan too?! You’d love my neck of the woods: we have an epic harry potter store called whimsic alley that sells loads of hp stuff and they’re building harry potter world in the universal studios soon! Ahhhh! I am SO glad we found each other 😉 us busybees! Enjoy the bars!

  6. Bahaha! I laughed out loud at the chunky monkey comment. I’ve never had or heard of mud hen bar. I must have been living under a rock. Thanks for enlightening me!

    1. Glad to be of service! I feel like I’m spreading the mud hen word or something 😉 cheers to ya, Courtney!

  7. I just heard of these earlier this year and had to bake up a batch, too! I think stirring cookie dough is a fine way of relieving stress…AND eating said cookies!

    1. Oh yay! I bet you loved them as much as I did then–but I’m not surprised, since you always seem to be on top of your recipe trends!

  8. I’ve never tried a mud hen anything and I’ve never read the Harry Potter series . . should I be admitting this?! love these bars and can’t wait to hear about your top secret project!

    1. Mud hen bars I can understand–but we need to get you initiated in Harry Potter, Alice!! As a double deal, I recommend making a pan of these every time you finish a book…the better the incentive, you know 😉

  9. I’ve never heard of a mud hen bar but they look freakin’ amazing! A brown sugar meringue topping?? Heck yes! I’d be stuffing my face with these like there’s no tomorrow! Glad you are getting some “me” time and can’t wait to see your top secret project you’re working on 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kelly–I am so excited to share (soon!!). And I had exactly the same reaction…THAT TOPPING THO. haha!

  10. These look amazing. Pinned!

    1. Thanks for the pin, Sarah! I just checked out your blog and I LOVE it. Will need to check back and comment! It’s awesome to have you here. How did you find my blog? (Whatever way, great to have you here!)

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