"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
Think again. Mud Bars are easier to make, totally fail-proof and extremely good. The basic concept is to take a recipe of chocolate chip cookies and bake as a sheet. Just after it comes out of the oven, pepper the entire thing with chocolate chips (they melt on the warm bars) and spread them to make a layer of chocolate.
Believe me, it’s pretty hard to save them long enough to serve for dessert.
The recipe is actually a bar adaptation of the Nestle Tollhouse Cookie recipe, made successfully by my mom many times during her catering years.
I’ve made this a couple times and it never fails. I’ve taken to keeping them in the freezer because otherwise people (usually me) eat them too quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie. But variety is a wonderful thing, no?
2 cups + 4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (220g) softened butter – make sure to soften the butter enough in advance so it creams properly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
24 oz. (800g) chocolate chips, divided in half – half for inside the bars, half for on top
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) – I use walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Line a 10×15 inch baking sheet (40×27 cm) with a silicone mat or parchment paper. The baking sheet should have at least two fingers of depth.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar until completely light and very fluffy. If using a mixer, cream on medium-high speed for at least 3 minutes. If mixing by hand, cream steadily for about 6 minutes. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the vanilla, 12 oz. (400g) of chocolate chips and nuts, if using, by hand.
Spread the batter on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to get it into the corners. It will be fairly sticky. Using an offset spatula helps a lot!
Bake for 20-25 minutes. When out of the oven, set the baking sheet on a cooling rack and sprinkle the remaining 12 oz. (400g) of chocolates chips on top. Wait for 5 minutes (the chips will become glossy), and spread the chocolate chips as icing (offset spatula is great here too). When the bars are cool, remove them from the sheet and place in the fridge to harden.
Best eaten whenever! If you have leftovers (you won’t), they keep in the freezer for a several weeks.