Moon Pies for the Moon Landing

Moon Pies for the Moon Landing
Moon landing--July 20, 1969.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I decided to make some moon pies to celebrate. I’d never had a moon pie, and honestly didn’t even know what it consisted of before I decided to make them. But let me tell you, once I made them, I loved them! 

Moon pies are a popular American cookie, especially down south, where they have been made at the Chattanooga Bakery since 1917. According to the bakery’s website, the idea for Moon Pies came about when Earl Mitchell, a traveling salesman for the bakery, asked a Kentucky coal miner what kind of snack he would like to eat, and the miner requested a snack "as big as the moon." My homemade version is a little smaller than the original, and I made a couple small tweaks, but I think you will like them! 

Graham Cracker Cookies- recipe from Alice Medrich: https://food52.com/recipes/29264-great-graham-crackers 

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (225 grams) graham flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (55 grams) oat flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons (65 grams) honey
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

Directions

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the graham and oat flours, ¼ cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Pulse to mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In a small cup, stir the milk, honey, and vanilla together until the honey is dissolved. Drizzle the honey mixture into the bowl. Process just until the mixture gathers into a single mass. 

Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a 6 or 7-inch flat square patty. Wrap and refrigerate it until they are very firm but supple enough to roll out, 20-30 minutes. Or keep them refrigerated up to two days; let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling. 

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll one patty between the sheets of parchment paper until it is 1/8-inch-thick (about 8 by 12 inches) and as even as possible from the center to the edges. (Try to avoid a thick center with thinner edges). Flip the paper and dough over once or twice to check for deep wrinkles; if necessary, peel the parchment and smooth it over the dough before continuing. Peel the top sheet of parchment off. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Repeat with the second patty. 

Slide one sheet of dough, with the bottom layer of parchment, onto each cookie sheet. With a 3-inch, round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Leave edge scraps in place (good for nibbling and to protect the rest of the grahams from burnt edges). 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the grahams are golden brown with deep brown edges. Rotate the pans from upper to lower and front to back a little over halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pans on racks to cool. Break the grahams along the score lines. Cool the grahams completely before storing. Grahams keep in an airtight container for at least 3 weeks. 

Troubleshooting: Grahams crisp up after they are completely cool unless they are under baked. If your grahams are not thoroughly crunchy when cool (especially any in the center that might be a little thicker), return them (on a parchment lined baking sheet) to a preheated 325-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Let cool and check for crunch. 

Marshmallow Filling- recipe from Brown Eyed Baker: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/moon-pies-recipe/

  • 2 egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted) 

Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat 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. 

Chocolate Coating 

  • 12 oz. Good quality chocolate (I used 63% dark)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil 

Heat the chocolate and vegetable oil in microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir in-between each 30 seconds until melted completely. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Assembly 

Fill a Ziplock bag (or a pastry bag) with the marshmallow filling and snip the corner of one side of the bag. Pipe a mound of the filling onto the center of half of the cookies. Sandwich the filling with the other half of the cookies, pressing gently so that the filling pushes out to the edge of the cookie. Once all the cookies are sandwiched, dip them one by one into the chocolate, using a spoon to ensure the whole cookie is covered. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with a fork and let the excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Place coated cookies onto a baking tray covered in wax paper. Sprinkle a few big flakes of finishing salt onto each cookie (optional, but it the little bit of salt is welcome with all that sweet). Place the tray into the freezer or refrigerator to set the chocolate. Eat!