These aren’t like those mud pies you’d make out back in the yard when you were a kid! No, Stack-of-Mud Bars are a very decadent, more mature (and edible) version. Starting with a sweet graham cracker crust, you’ll be quite pleased with the layers of fudgy, Nutella®-infused brownie, rich chocolate pudding, and fluffy whipped cream that follow. It’s everything your little mind once hoped your pretend pies would be and more. Stack-of-Mud Bars help the older you realize that delicious dreams really do come true!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 15 graham crackers
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the brownie layer:

  • 1 1/4 cups Nutella
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.1-ounce) bar chocolate-hazelnut, such as Ferrero Rocher®, chopped

For the chocolate pudding:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cocoa powder, to taste, for garnish
  • chocolate chip cookies, optional, to taste, store-bought or homemade, crushed into crumbs, for garnish

Directions

Step 1 –Adjust an oven rack to the center position, then preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Step 2 –Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Step 3 –Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until crumbs form.

Step 4 –In a bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, then stir in 1 stick of the melted butter and 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar.

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Step 5 –Firmly press the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, bringing it up about 1 inch along the sides.

Step 6 –Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Step 7 –Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Step 8 –Pour the Nutella into a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the consistency is sauce-like.

Step 9 –In a large bowl, add the Nutella, then whisk in the large eggs, 1 at a time.

Step 10 –Add the flour to the Nutella mixture and stir to combine.

Step 11 –Let the Nutella mixture cool slightly.

Step 12 –Fold the chopped chocolate-hazelnut bar into the Nutella mixture.

Step 13 –Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pie crust and bake, about 20-25 minutes.

Step 14 –While the brownies are baking, in a medium saucepan, add the remaining granulated sugar, the cornstarch, 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder, and the salt and whisk to combine.

Step 15 –Add the half-and-half and the egg yolks to the pudding mixture and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has thickened and is pudding-like, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 16 –Transfer the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the chopped bittersweet chocolate, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract.

Step 17 –Let the pudding cool.

Step 18 –Spread the cooled pudding into an even layer over the brownie.

Step 19 –Place plastic wrap directly over the surface of the pudding layer and refrigerate until it is chilled all the way through, for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

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Step 20 –In a large bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, the confectioners’ sugar, and the remaining vanilla extract and beat with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form.

Step 21 –Discard the plastic wrap and spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the pudding layer.

Step 22 –Sprinkle the bars dusted with the remaining cocoa powder and sprinkled with the chocolate chip cookie crumbs, then transfer it from the springform pan.

Step 23 –Cut the bars into squares and serve.