Years ago, I got some sample Mr. Food ooh-so-easy Recipe Collection cards in the mail. The free cards were supposed to entice me to purchase the rest, but I simply kept the one for Rocky Road Fudge Brownies. I remember liking them a lot and they were quite easy to make since the recipe used boxed brownie mix and mini marshmallows.
I’m snobbier about my recipes these days. I recently got a great new baking cookbook called A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. The Candy Bar Shortbread recipe (topped with Toblerone) was worth the price of the book by itself. But when I flipped through the book and saw the photo of Mississippi Mud Bars, I became obsessed. The picture looked sinful and I was dying to try them. They were like Mr. Food’s recipe only completely from scratch, so they had to be better, right? Plus, the description asserted “this is a definitive, perfected version.” Alrighty then!
But I never seemed to have an appropriate occasion for making them. Dave and I need to eat a whole pan of these things like we need a hole in the head. Over July 4th weekend, we were invited to an all-American themed potluck and cookout. Yee-ha! Mississippi is American!
MY NOTES ABOUT THE RECIPE (also noted below with *)
These were pretty easy to make. There is some chilling involved before you can frost them, so you need to schedule for that. I also had to buy a new pan (11- x 7-inch), a size I haven’t needed before this recipe and don’t see needing again. The pan looked so wee, but it produced plenty of bars. Goldman, for reasons I don’t fully understand, likes to blend batters and icings in a food processor. Apparently she is not aware of how annoying my food processor is to clean. I used my mixer.
The most difficult part was getting the bars out of the pan since I didn’t want to cut them in the pan. I was able to get it out onto a cutting board in one piece using a big spatula after loosening all sides with a plastic knife (didn’t want to scratch my brand new pan). If I ever make these again, I’ll line the pan with a foil sling to make removing the uncut bars easier. I made Dave cut them since getting 32 bars out of an 11 x 7 sized slab of marshmallow-spackled and frosted brownie was a messy game of Tetris I didn’t want to play.
Dave and I each tried one still cold from the fridge and they were so sweet I felt stoned. I have a very serious sweet tooth, and these things were approaching too sweet even for me. The comments I got at the potluck seemed to signal the same thing–over the top rather “ooh, it’s so good” (to steal Mr. Food’s phrase). They tasted considerably better to me once they came to room temperature. So even though they are very messy, I strongly suggest NOT serving them cold.
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, measured and then sifted (*I refused to sift a third of a cup of cocoa, I mean…seriously)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional (*I used and would strongly recommend otherwise there will be nothing blocking the sugar rush from killing you)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (*I used my new standby, Hershey’s semisweet)
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, optional (*didn’t use)
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
3 cups powdered sugar (*I ended up blending in close to 3/4 cups more because it just didn’t seem to be getting sufficiently stiff (heh-heh))
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder, measured and then sifted (*sift if you want, see if I care)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray an 11- x 7-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and place it on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet (*the author has her reasons for this which I don’t think are necessary, but I did it anyway because I worried the batter might spill over–it didn’t).
Blend sugar and butter until pasty. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. Fold in flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend well. Fold in nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut (*ick!) and blend briefly. Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake until set and firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes (*I baked close to 30 minutes and wish I’d done a little less). Spread marshmallow creme on hot cake and refrigerate, uncovered, 3 or more hours.
For icing, blend all ingredients until stiff and glossy. Using a metal spatula, spread icing on chilled uncut bars. Chill to set icing. Cut into bars (*good luck with that!).