Moon Pies

While I was doing some research for the jambalaya that I made earlier this week, I also came to find out that Moon Pies are a very traditional part of Mardi Gras. Having never been in New Orleans for the celebration, I had no idea. As it turns out, Moon Pies are typically thrown from the parade floats out to the crowd. Believe it or not, I’ve never eaten a moon pie. I see them in the store all the time, but for some reason it has just never occurred to me to try one. Since I’m on a bit of a Mardi Gras roll here, I thought it would only be fitting to include some homemade moon pies in the celebration. While the traditional moon pies have two cookies with marshmallow filling in the middle, the ones I saw at the store (research!) were all double-deckers – cookie, marshmallow, cookie, marshmallow, cookie. Covered in chocolate. I decided to go the all-in, double-decker route. Shocking, I know 😉

These are actually pretty easy to make; it just takes some time getting all of the pieces together. The cookies are basically a sugar cookie made with all brown sugar instead of white, so they have a little bit of a sweeter flavor. The marshmallow filling is homemade, which I LOVE! You do use uncooked egg whites that are warmed up with the boiled corn syrup but if you are nervous about the eggs, I would encourage you to buy pasteurized eggs. I can usually always find them at the grocery store. And then of course the chocolate coating. I just spooned the melted chocolate over the cookies a couple of times so that it ran down the sides and covered most of the cookie. I love the ones where I can see cookie and marshmallow peeking out!

I absolutely adore these cookies. At first I thought the marshmallow filling may be too sweet when I tasted it by itself, but it’s perfect when melded together with the cookies and chocolate. I think these should be an everyday type of treat, not just a Mardi Gras treat. I’m going to start campaigning now 🙂

One year ago: Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

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Moon Pies

Ingredients:

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


Directions:

1. To Make the Cookies: With a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and the salt, and mix just until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in two, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line at least two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. Working with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2½-inch diameter round cutter, cut out the rounds and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about ½ an inch apart. Refrigerate the cookies (on the baking sheets) for 10 minutes.


3. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pans for a couple of minutes, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.


4. To Make the Marshmallow Filling: Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the the egg whites with the cream of tartar and the salt until firm peaks form, gradually increasing from medium-low speed to medium-high speed as the egg whites gain volume. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, boil the corn syrup over high heat without stirring until it registers 230 to 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer (thread ball stage). Slowly drizzle the hot corn syrup into the egg whites and beat at high speed until glossy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, beat in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar.


5. Using either a pastry bag or a spoon, mound about 1½ tablespoons of marshmallow filling into the center of a cookie. Top with another cookie and press lightly to spread the marshmallow to the edges. Add another mound on top of the second cookie, and top with another cookie, again pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.


6. To Make the Chocolate Coating: Using a double boiler or in the microwave on 50% power and in 30 second increments, 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 and covers most of the cookie. Allow to set at room temperature for about 2 hours (or refrigerate to speed up the process). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


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(Recipe adapted from Food and Wine)


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