MIssissippi Mud Cake. As a little girl growing up in the South, big family dinners every Sunday would include your cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. You never really knew exactly what dish a person might bring, but you knew one thing; there was going to be lots of home-baked goods. No matter what else was served, I always looked forward to dessert. We would have yummy frosted cakes, fruit pies, cookies and brownies. I loved them all and still do!.
I remember one Sunday dinner (not sure how old I was) when my out-of-town aunt came to visit. She brought a large luscious looking chocolate cake. Being a lover of anything chocolate, my eyes grew wide when I walked in to Grandma’s house and saw it sitting up on the sideboard usually reserved for desserts. At the time, I didn’t know the official name of this spectacular dish, but I knew that I had to have a piece. The dessert was called; Mississippi Mud Cake. It’s not a grandiose type of cake because it is usually served directly out of the pan it was baked in. No need for a fancy cake platter.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting this cake, you need to know that it is very rich and sweet with a gooey chocolate texture made with marshmallows and pecans. It’s not a neat treat; the fudgy chocolate pours out onto your plate as you are served. It is sinfully delicious and I must be diligent and limit my serving to one then take a break and think long and hard before having a second serving in order to avoid a sugar rush.
All good Southern cooks have some version or another of a Mississippi Mud Cake, sometimes referred to as Mississippi Mud Pie. It is a fairly simple recipe that mixes basic ingredients including all-purpose flour, cocoa, sugar, eggs, butter, and lots of butter, pecans and marshmallows. This cake is not intended to be fluffy, rather it is a densely chocolate sheet cake, lightened with melted chocolate, marshmallows and pecans. Once baked, it often resembles a deluxe frosted brownie.
My curiosity was peaked as to the name Mississippi Mud cake and I searched the internet to find who was the first to create this cake and why the name Mississippi Mud. First, I learned that no one actually “creates” recipes, good recipes evolve over time. Passed down from generation to generation, each person puts their own twist on the recipe. From what I gathered, this dessert took off in popularity in the 1970’s and is believed to have come to life in domestic kitchens with cooks eager to use the new packaged ingredients that were starting to get mass-produced, such as miniature marshmallows. Some people felt the dark chocolate appearance of the fudge-like batter and chunky texture resembled the banks of the muddy Mississippi River, thus the name Mississippi Mud.
Although my sister makes a really good Mississippi Mud Cake, I wanted to see what other recipes were out there that I could make with a little variety. Browsing through my Southern Living magazines, I found an article titled, “Mississippi Mud Madness”. Apparently there are all kinds of ways you can use the same ingredients and put a twist on this cake. The article suggested several options, such as Mississippi Mud cupcakes, Mississippi Mud Brownies, Mississippi Mud Cookies and even a Mississippi Mudslide. They all looked delicious, but I opted to try the cookies.
The Mississippi Mud Cookies turned out to be fairly simple to make and were a big hit with my family. Definitely would recommend trying them. Don’t be afraid to experiment with an old classic recipe and put your own personal touch on it. You never know what new recipe your could create with very little effort.
Mississippi Mud Cookies
- Chocolate Cookie
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- Chocolate Frosting
- ½ cup butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer or large bowl using a hand mixer, blend the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and blend until combined.
Drop the dough by tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, 12 cookies per sheet, and bake 9- 10 minutes. Once you have baked it about 9-10 minutes, pull out pan and add 6-8 miniature marshmallows to each cookie, you can gently press in if they fall out, but really you shouldn’t need to do that much. The cookies are so hot the marshmallows stick right to them. Then stick back in the oven for 1 more minute. Remove and immediately sprinkle 1 tablespoon or more (depends on your taste) of pecans onto the marshmallows, you will need to gently press these in, gently! Then set aside and allow to cool on a baking rack.
Once cool remove and make frosting.
In a medium mixing bowl, add powder sugar and vanilla, set aside. Then in a small sauce pan combine first 3 ingredients and heat over medium. Stir constantly, about 3-4 minutes or until butter melts. Remove from heat, and pour into powdered sugar and vanilla, stir (using a whisk is best) until smooth.
Using a spoon, drizzle large amounts of frosting on each cookie, about 1- 1 ½ tablespoons. Dress all the cookies and if there is extra frosting, add more too each one. Let frosting cool and harden before serving. (recipe from http://www.dashofsanity.com)