Chocolate Mud Bars

Was your family an Old Farmer’s Almanac sort of family? As the granddaughter of small-town farmers, I remember seeing my grandma’s copy of the Old Farmer’s Almanac sitting in the kitchen, right and ready for easy reference. The book has been published continuously since 1792, making it the oldest continuously published book in America. If you haven’t yet found a reason to get on board with OFA in this modern age, perhaps you’ll fall in love with the classic when you check out their new Everyday Baking cookbook, by celebrated baker, winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award, and longtime Almanac collaborator Ken Haedrich.

Chocolate Mud Bars

From The Everyday Baking Cookbook, page 54

CRUST:

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup cake flour

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

For crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add the melted butter, stir well with a fork, then rub the ingredients together well with your fingers until thoroughly mixed. Press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan to form a level layer on the bottom with a lip extending about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan. (Do not prebake the crust).

For filling: Combine the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over not-quite-simmering water. When melted, whisk to smooth, then remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and cool to lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 325oF. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the lukewarm chocolate. Stir in the cake flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Scrape the batter over the crust and smooth with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack for 35 minutes only – no longer. Cool on a rack. Refrigerate an hour or so before slicing. Serve at room temperature. Makes 16 bars.

Everyday Baking, with its handy reference section and time-tested advice sprinkled throughout, demystifies the art of baking and will inspire home bakers of all skill levels to make delicious breakfast treats, after-school snacks, and desserts.

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