A brown butter chocolate chip cookie crust topped with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and a brown sugar meringue. These Brown Butter Mud Hen Bars are a game changing dessert bar.
The summer after my husband and I got married, my in-laws took my husband and me, along with my sister-in-law and her husband, to Alaska.
We spent half of our trip at Brooks Lodge, a place where you stay in the wilderness and watch real, live bears doing their summer bear things.
The lodge had a fair number of recommendations about staying in the wilderness with bears. One recommendation was that when you walk through the woods, you should clap hands and sing, so as to not startle a bear.
Another was that if you came in close prolixity a bear, hold your hands up, walk backwards, don’t look the bear in the eyes, and say in a firm tone “whoa bear!” My husband and I laughed at the recommendations.
But then, one fateful morning, we walked within twenty feet of a bear. Y’all ….. there was no laughing ….. and there was also no “whoa bear” on my part. I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t look away.
Fortunately, my husband is brave, so he walked in front of me and took care of the bear speak. I’m pretty sure the bear didn’t care about us though. He was way more interested in carrying on his journey to the salmon stream.
Food at the Lodge
The lodge has some strict rules on food. They preferred that you only eat food that they provided, in their approved areas.
Apparently, these rules helped to reduce the chance a bear would try to join you for lunch. We took that recommendation to heart. So, we only ate food the lodge provided.
Before the trip, I had worried that the food at the lodge might not be tasty. But, I was wrong. The food was great.
Despite remembering that I enjoyed all the food, I only remember one specific thing I ate there, and that was because it was life changing. It was a mud hen bar.
I probably ate three bars the night the lodge had them. It was divine. Sweet and crunchy dessert perfection.
Brown Mutter Mud Hen Bars
When we returned to Maryland, I wanted to recreate the tasty bars. But, I had no idea what they were called!
It took me a while to first figure out that the bars were called mud hen bars, and took even longer to create a version that could rival my memories of the one I had in Alaska.
Finally, after 5 years, my mud hen bar dreams have come to my kitchen.
I have updated photos to better reflect the deliciousness that these bars hold. I have also added a few more specifics with the instructions and ingredients.
These bars have a soft, brown sugar, chocolate chip cookie crust topped with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and finished with a brown sugar meringue. And they are addictively good!
Brown Butter Mud Hen Bars
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, gently packed divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup mini semi-chocolate chips
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir constantly until butter turns amber in color and has a nutty smell, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature and firm to a point that it is no longer liquid.
- In a large mixing bowl or base of a stand mixer, beat together browned butter, milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, 1 egg, and 2 egg yolks (set whites aside as you will use them for meringue). Continue to mix until mixture is smooth and begins to lighten, about 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture until well combined.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Assembly and Baking
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, folding upward at the sides, so that sides are covered as well.
- Spread cookie mixture evenly into bottom of pan. You may use your hands or a spatula to gently pat the cookie dough into the corners of the pan.
- Spread milk chocolate chips and marshmallows evenly over cookie layer.
- Using electric mixer fit with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Fold remaining 1 cup of light brown sugar into egg whites until well combined. Spread evenly over chocolate chips and marshmallows.
- Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until meringue starts to brown.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
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