Hello, moon pies. Where have you been all my life (better yet, where have I been?) This late-blooming discovery can be traced back to the glorious plaid-uniformed days of grade school. My parent's version of a lunch box 'treat' was usually in the form of sliced carrots, peppers or, if I was lucky, a yogurt. It didn't take very long to realize that no one one was willing to trade in their Hostess cakes for anything orange, yellow or green, unless it was made out sugar. I feel like I made up for lost time on this one. Even though I've never had an actual moon pie, I can't imagine it coming anywhere close to this from-scratch version.
Since I'm still waiting for the replacement camera to arrive, I skipped this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for thanksgiving cranberry shortbread cake. But it looks and sounds delicious! Please visit Jessica, of A Singleton in the Kitchen, for the missed recipe. Sorry I couldn't bake along with everyone this week. Hopefully everything will be back to normal by next Tuesday... and by normal, I mean I'll have a camera again. And I promise not to drop it into into any frosting(s), marinara sauces, ganache, or a pot of Israeli couscous. Tripod, you're on notice.
These pseudo pies are basically shortbread cookies containing a triple-threat of fillings. One side has peanut butter, the other, ganache...holding these two lethal forces together is homemade marshmallow creme. Each one of those ingredients is amazing in it's own right, but when they combine, you have this concoction that kind of tastes like a cross between a s'mores and a whoopie pie. The cinnamon sprinkled on the top adds just enough spice to qualify this as an ideal cold-weather recipe. Just be careful with the marshmallow creme, it's quite sticky and has a habit of getting onto just about everything, including camera buttons.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Moon Pies
(recipe adapted from Food & Wine)
*printer friendly Recipe*
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
Pinch of salt
4 oz of dark chocolate, melted
About 1 cup of peanut butter
Marshmallow Creme ingredients
2/3 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
Cinnamon, for dusting
Prepare the cookies: In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the 1 whole egg. Add the 2 1/4 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and beat until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into 2 mounds and transfer to 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pat each mound of dough into a 1/3-inch-thick square, wrap and refrigerate until firm, 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 square at a time, on a floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 13-inch square, 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out rounds and arrange them 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets; repeat with the second square of dough. Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm. Reroll and cut out more rounds, using the scraps only once. Refrigerate the cookies just until firm, about 10minutes.
Bake the cookies in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned, shifting the pans halfway through baking. Let cool slightly, then carefully invert the cookies onto racks and let cool completely.
Spread the melted chocolate on half of the cookies and the peanut butter on the other half. Allow the chocolate to set.
Prepare the marshmallow creme: In a small saucepan, boil the corn syrup over high heat without stirring until it registers 230° to 235° (thread ball) on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, in a clean standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 2 egg whites with the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Slowly drizzle in the hot corn syrup and beat at high speed until glossy, about 2 minutes. At medium-low speed, beat in the vanilla and the 1 cup of confectioners' sugar.
Transfer the marshmallow to a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip or a large zippered plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe 1 1/2-tablespoon mounds of the marshmallow onto the chocolate-covered cookies. Top with the peanut butter–covered cookies and press lightly to spread the marshmallow to the edges. Let the moon pies stand in an airtight container for 2 hours (they will soften slightly) before dusting with confectioners' sugar, cocoa and cinnamon and serving
Makes about 25-30 Moon Pies