Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moon Pies

Moon Pies. Intrigue. Not cow pies (thank goodness), but some celestial version. Or maybe these bad boys come to mind:

It's the kind of snack you grab at the gas station as an excuse to use their bathroom. However, on my hunt for a good base whoopie pie recipe, I stumbled across a recipe for homemade moon pies. Needless to say,  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try out such an unusual, regional dessert. Indeed, these taste bits o' heaven are a traditional Mardi Gras treat, so what better time of year to make them than early Autumn!
I can't honestly tell you that I didn't make them because they have a cool name, but that's kind of like the opposite of judging a book by it's cover, right? Respecting a recipe for it's title! 
Because it IS such an uncommon recipe, I dared not stray too far from direction, so here's the link to the website I got it from
There are a handful of alterations I would make, but I'll make a note of that as we go along!

1 batch will give you 15 double-decker moon pies
Oven Temp: 350
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

For the Cookies:
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt

For the Marshmallow Filling:
2 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

For the Chocolate Coating:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
¼ cup vegetable oil

Begin by beating the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Mix in the flour and the salt until you get a smooth dough. You may wish to add a little more flour if it is sticky. The dough reminded me a lot of gingerbread dough, if you're familiar.

 Divide the dough in two, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (wahoo! first time I ever splurged and bought parchment paper- I don't ever want to go back) or grease; set aside. Remove one disk from the refrigerator roll out to about 1/8th inch thickness. For these, it won't hurt to be a little on the thinner side (it gives a better creme to cookie ratio). Cut circles into the dough (2 -3 inches in diameter, ideally using a mug or something to get a lovely shape).

 Place circles unto cookie sheets and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, bake cookies (12 to a sheet) for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pans for a couple of minutes, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
My helpful hint here - I used three baking sheets, I would have one in the fridge with uncooked dough, one baking and then put another in after 7 minutes so the sheets were staggered. It reduced the baking time.


Once everything has been baked and is starting to cool (or you can start earlier if you are an octopus and have enough arms to be doing everything) you can begin the filling! Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar and the salt until firm peaks form (see image below).


 In a small saucepan heat the corn syrup to 225 to 230 degrees but don't stir. Be sure to get it this hot otherwise the creme will be too thin to use.

Slowly drizzle the hot corn syrup into the egg whites and beat at high speed until glossy, about 2 minutes. At this point you may beat in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar.

Glob a layer of creme unto two cookies. Place one on top of the other, and layer with a third. Gentle press together to spread the creme out.
Once the pies have been layered, proceed to chocolate stage!

Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil together until completely smooth. Place the assembled cookies on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax paper. Spoon the melted chocolate over each cookie so that it runs down the sides (giving it that beautiful homemade look) and covers most of the cookie.

Let cool for 2 hours and took joy in knowing you made such a funky little dessert!

Now, if I were to make these again (as I hope to do!), I would make these super chocolately. I would make the filling chocolate (by making some kind of ganache/marshmallow creme mix) as well as the cookie (maybe substituting 1/2 cup of cocoa powder for 1/2 of flour). 

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