Mississippi Mud Bars

I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again:  I.  Love. Chocolate.  It is always my first choice in desserts.  So if there’s chocolate in it, on it, around it, or anywhere close by, you can be sure I’ll find it!   When I was asked to bring a “finger-type” dessert to an end-of-year picnic, this recipe came right to mind.  What else but chocolate could produce Mississippi Mud?  (As a food, that is.)

The recipe was published in the Winter 2012 Baking Sheet, from King Arthur Flour.  I am a faithful subscriber to this little recipe-filled periodical many of which have turned down pages for recipes I want to try.

Mention Mississippi Mud and like the ice cream, I think of chocolate chips, nuts and peanut butter.  These bars have not one, but two kinds of chocolate:  dark and white, plus pecans – a Southern touch.  Pure deliciousness in one little cookie bar.  Since they are eaten with your hands it’s OK to lick your fingers!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped, or white chips
  • 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided

A word here about pan size:  You may choose a 9”x13″, a 9″x9″, or an 8″x8″ pan. The smaller pans will produce 16-20 bars that are thick with a thick layer of chocolate on top.  The 9″x13″ pan will produce 24-32 bars, but only about an inch thick.  That’s the size I used to bake the bars pictured here.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Select your pan and grease generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter followed by the egg and vanilla.  Mix well; scrape the bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  4. Add the white chocolate, 1 cup of the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, and half of the pecans.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Using a spatula works well to spread it to the edges.  Bake for 40-45 min. for 8″ or 9″ square pans;  30-35 min. for the 9″x13″ pan. The bars should be golden brown all over.
  6.   Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the bars.  Return to the oven for 1 minute to soften the chocolate, then take the pan out of the oven and spread the now-melted chocolate evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining pecans, pressing them lightly into the chocolate.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

SOURCE:  The Baking Sheet, Winter 2012,  from King Arthur Flour

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