Saturday, April 24, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 16

If you are anxiously anticipating swim suit season, just stop reading.  Don't even scan this post, and whatever you do, don't look at the picture I have included. 

But.  Or should that be BUTT?!  If you are brave, adventurous, have a strong metabolism, or just don't give a crap...go ahead.  Read the ingredients without cringing.  Bookmark this post so you can refer to it later.  Or, better yet, print it off now, check your cupboard to see if you have the ingredients and make them right now! 

You.  Will.  Be.  In.  Ooey-Gooey.  Chocolate.  Heaven.

Mississippi Mud Bars are everything you might expect and nothing less.  Actually, there is nothing less at all about these wonderful little squares of chewy, chocolaty, nutty, marshamallowy, coco-nutty goodness.  Cut them small so you don't over-do it.  Also, you won't feel as guilty when you sneak a second one since the first one was so small, after all. 

This recipe came from one of my absolute favorite baking cookbooks that I own.  I found out about Marcy Goldman a couple of years ago.  She had this cookbook out new and I put it on my Christmas list that year.  Once again, I devoured the book (and then many of its recipes!) in the following months.  Every-so-often, when I am stumped and just can't come up with what new recipe I want to bake next, I remember Marcy, bring out "A Passion For Baking" and I am never disappointed with what I find in there.  Many pages are becoming dog-eared, especially the page for Old Fashioned Fragrant Banana Bread.  The best banana bread I have ever baked or eaten in my life.  Period.

Without further delay, I give you...

Mississippi Mud Bars

Here's What You'll Need:

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, cut into chunks
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, optional
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow cream

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Here's What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Next, the recipe says to spray an 11"x7" pan with cooking spray. In general, I am sure to pay attention to use the correct size pan, and I did use the pan size that Marcy recommends.  I would have to disagree and suggest using a 9"x13" pan.  Why?  After all, I am not the professional pastry chef that Marcy is.  I have not studied at the Quebec Hotel School, like Marcy has.  I don't have several published cookbooks like Marcy does.  Nor have I accompanied Martha Stewart on satellite radio, like Marcy has.  I can only say, this cookie batter is very dense and it was extremely thick in the 11"x7" pan I used and it took FOREVER for it to bake completely through without the top/crust burning.  I just think a bigger pan would have eliminated that problem.

On with the instructions.

Add the sugar and cold butter to a food processor container.  Pulse until your mixture combines into a paste-like consistency.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the eggs and vanilla.  Blend well with a mixer.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and give it a whisk.  Slowly, add this to the butter mixture with the mixer on low.  It might be a good idea to cover the mixer with a large dish towel to prevent the big "poof" from sending you into a coughing fit.  Fold in the nuts, chocolate chips and coconut.  Do not over mix.  You just want to get the ingredients combined.  Pour batter into your prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes of until it is set.  Have your marshmallow creme ready to go when it comes out of the oven.  Glob spoonfuls here and there over the top and let it sit for a bit and melt some.  Once you think it has melted enough to spread, go for it and smooth it out evenly over the top.  Immediately stick it in the fridge to cool and set up for at least 3 HOURS.  Again, good to read your recipes ahead of time to factor in the time needed.

To Make The Icing:
Marcy instructs to blend all of the ingredients in a food processor.  I don't know if she was on a food processor kick when she developed this recipe or what.  Mine was still dirty in the sink from before so I just threw all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and ended up with some very satisfying results.  Once your bars are done cooling in the fridge, go ahead and slather on this heavenly, sinful (oxymoron?!) icing. 

Warning:  There will be a lot of icing.  Do not be alarmed.  Go ahead.  Use it all.  It's supposed to be this way.  It's so wrong that it's right!

Now, back in the fridge to set up a bit more and you are in business, my friend.  Please consider someone who has done something nice for you recently.  Maybe someone brought your kid home from soccer practice, maybe a neighbor watched your house while you were out of town, maybe a friend let you borrow their car one afternoon.  Don't you think you should give them a little token to say 'thank you?'  Nothing says 'thank you' quite like a little plate with a few of these piled on top.  Plus, you'll thank yourself for not keeping the whole pan around for you to eat all by yourself!   

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