Moon pies are another one of those treats that you probably know very well if you grew up in the South. While Whoopie pies were making the rounds up North we were quietly (and demurely I’m sure) nibbling the chocolate coating off the scalloped edges of Moon Pies. On the veranda. Barefoot. In March.
As far as I can remember they came in three different flavors; banana, strawberry, and chocolate. They were basically a sort of crumbly not-quite-graham cracker cookie sandwich, with marshmallow cream in the middle and coated in a thin coating of chocolate. My personal favorite was the banana. Or the strawberry. Or the chocolate.
Since I was an only child the boxes of these childish epicurean delights were all mine.
And they were delicious. I saw some in Cracker Barrel the other day and immediately I was 11 years old, barefoot, in cut-off jeans, and reading the book of the moment while eating a Moon Pie. Right then I knew that I had to learn to make them.
I did some research and tried some things but nothing really tasted like I remember. If the flavor was close the texture was off and if the texture was close the flavor was off. I used about 10 different recipe variations. I will link to the ones I liked best at the end of this – but I didn’t really use enough of any of them to say that they were more than an inspiration.
One of my other favorite things as a kid were Creamsicles. Orange and vanilla? Who knew? Besides Orange Julius , I mean. I decided to see if I could make Orange Creamsicle Moon Pies.
I did it. OMG. They are so good. I think the texture of the cookie is a little soft but it could be because I froze them so they would be set enough to wrap and send to Matt in Virginia and Chris and Toya in Japan. You may want to let them bake a touch longer to see if you can get them a bit crispier. I also have to admit that I used marshmallow fluff rather than making homemade marshmallow for the filling. It was 91 degrees in the kitchen, even with the air conditioner on, and humid – not a great environment for making marshmallows. Plus, knowing that some of them were destined to be in the mail for 2 weeks I was a little concerned that the homemade marshmallow would not get there in too good of a shape. So. I bought marshmallow cream at the store and I am happy to say that it worked just fine.
The coating is softer than the storebought kind but if you wanted that crisper chocolate coating you could add a tablespoon or so of melted culinary paraffin – that’s what gives that microthin hard chocolate coat in the commercial brands.
Let the cookies cool completely before you add the marshmallows or you will end up with a gooey mess. Been there, done that. Once you have the cookies sandwiched together with the filling pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to chill and make them easier to dip.
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Triple Sec or Orange liqueur
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Grated rind of an orange (microplaned)
- 14 ounces of marshmallow fluff
- 1 teaspoon of orange extract (optional)
- 12 ounces of white chocolate or 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup lightly flavored oil
Beat the butter until creamy and then add the brown sugar.
Beat until there is no graininess.
Add the egg, vanilla, orange extract, orange juice, and Triple Sec.
Combine the dry ingredients with the confectioner’s sugar and orange rind.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
Mix until a soft dough forms.
Chill 1 hour or overnight, tightly wrapped.
Preheat oven to 350F
On a floured surface roll the doug, 1/4 at a time (leave the rest refrigerated) until it is about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. (I like mine a bit between the two.)
If it gets too soft to roll put it back in the refrigerator.
Cut the dough with a 2 or 3 inch round scalloped cookie cutter.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with baking spray.
Place on baking sheet and bake for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until firm and golden.
Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to cool completely.
Mix the orange extract into the marshmallow fluff if desired
When the cookies are cool place a tablespoon of marshmallow cream on the half of the cookies.
Press another cookie on top – firmly but gently to get the marshmallow to the edges.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate (white or dark) in a microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until almost all the way melted.
Add the 1/4 cup oil and stir well.
Heat to mix the two together (about 20 seconds) and finish melting the chocolate.
Dip the chilled cookies in the chocolate and chill until the coating is hardened.
Vary the flavorings and the chocolate for the coating - come up with your own combinations.
I don’t know if you have a microplane or not but I can tell you that I love mine. It grates citrus very finely. If you are interested in here’s one on Amazon.
Yet Another Disclaimer
Also – according to new government FCC guidelines I have to tell you that if you click on that link and buy from amazon I will get a small percentage of the sale. If enough of you click I can buy bubblegum at the local 7-11.