Homemade Moon Pies
Yield: 12 servings
6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup cane syrup, see note
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 teaspoons (1 packet plus 1 teaspoon) powdered gelatin
½ cup water, ice cold
¼ cup water, room temperature
¼ cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons honey, preferably clover or wildflower
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
Note: Cane syrup (usually Lyle’s or Steen’s) can be found at international food stores and some gourmet shops.
1. For the cookie dough: Cream butter, brown sugar, cane syrup and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, and mix with a fork. Add these dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed; slowly stream in milk. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Press dough flat, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Turn out chilled dough onto a flour-dusted surface, then roll out until it is ¼-inch thick. Stamp out cookies using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Scraps of dough may be rerolled for more cookies. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and, while cooling, start making the marshmallow creme.
5. For the marshmallow creme: Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup ice-cold water and set aside to bloom (absorb the water and become semisolid).
6. Combine the ¼ cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey and sugar in a small pot, insert candy thermometer and simmer until mixture reaches 240 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees — but not before — place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip on high. Stop whipping when the whites form stiff peaks.
7. Once the sugar mixture hits 240 degrees, remove it from heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves. Then, while the egg whites are whipping, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to avoid spattering the hot syrup. Continue whipping for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens. The pan will still feel warm to the touch, but no longer hot.
8. For the assembly and chocolate coating: Flip over half of the cooled cookies. Spoon about ¼ cup of marshmallow creme onto each flipped cookie. Use the remaining cookies as tops; gently push down until you can see the marshmallow just come to the edge. You will only use about 1/3 of the marshmallow creme. Allow cookies to chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes while making the chocolate coating.
9. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and let it cool slightly. Once the chocolate is no longer hot, but warm, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
10. Submerge chilled cookies in the chocolate, using 2 forks to gently lift the sandwiches out of the bowl. Let stand until shell hardens.
Per serving: 561 calories; 28g fat; 17g saturated fat; 31mg cholesterol; 6g protein; 74g carbohydrate; 49g sugar; 3g fiber; 269mg sodium; 29mg calcium
Recipe by David Gaus, via Garden & Gun magazine