Mardi Gras

Kelly Fields' Moon Pies

November 17, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by Oriana Koren
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Makes about 12 pies
Author Notes

Moon pies have a life of their own in the city of New Orleans. Once a year, during Mardi Gras, moon pies show up in such force that one could acquire a full year’s supply from the parades in which they’re thrown. Why moon pies? Well, in the early ’70s, krewes (the organizations that put on the various parades during Mardi Gras) would throw boxes of Cracker Jacks from the floats, but the boxes were banned because they were hard to throw and, more importantly, those box corners hurt when they hit people in the head. The replacement became small, soft, round moon pies—much easier to throw. Forty-something years later, moon pies are still going strong.

Reprinted with permission from The Good Book of Southern Baking by Kelly Fields with Kate Heddings, copyright (c) 2020. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Food52

What You'll Need
  • Cookie dough
  • 1 sleeve (about 9) graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cane syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • Marshmallow filling
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Chocolate coating
  • 1 pound dark chocolate (preferably Valrhona 70% cacao), chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  1. Make the dough. Place the graham cracker pieces in a food processor or high-speed blender and process until they become powdery, like flour. Transfer to a large bowl and add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cane syrup, and vanilla paste on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three portions, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Add the half-and-half and mix until the dough comes fully together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten it with the palm of your hand, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough, to about 1⁄4 inch thick. Using a 2 1⁄2- or 2 3⁄4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet; reroll the scraps one time only to cut out more cookies. (If you reroll more than once, the dough will start to get dry and brittle.) Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes, until the outer edges of the cookies are golden but the centers are still slightly soft.
  4. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Make the filling. In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Do not stir, since stirring could cause crystallization of the sugar—which has no real place in marshmallow filling. Attach a candy thermometer to the rim of the pot and place the pot over high heat.
  6. While the sugar starts cooking, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer. When the sugar syrup registers 225°F on the thermometer, turn on the mixer to medium-high speed and whip the egg whites to soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Once the sugar mixture reaches 240°F on the thermometer, turn the mixer to a moderately low speed (think 3 out of 10), remove the pot from the heat and carefully stream the hot syrup into the mixer, being very careful to stream it in along the side of the bowl—you want to avoid pouring right onto the moving whisk, which will fling molten sugar at you. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, add the vanilla paste, reduce the speed to low, and whip until cool, 6 to 8 minutes. You can store the cooled marshmallow filling in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
  7. Make the coating. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until fully melted and combined. Let cool to room temperature before dipping the cookies.
  8. Assemble the cookies. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire rack on top. Fill a pastry bag with the marshmallow filling. Evenly pipe a mound of filling (about 3 tablespoons) on half of the cookies, then carefully place a second cookie on top of each mound and gently press down until even and the filling is flush with the outer edges of the cookies. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Dip the sandwiches into the melted chocolate, one at a time, using a fork to flip for even coating and to lift them out of the chocolate and place on the wire rack.
  10. Let the moon pies set up completely before serving. If you have leftover chocolate coating, pour it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to set up, then chop it up to use in some other cookies! The moon pies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you live in a warm climate, like me, it's best to keep these in the refrigerator.

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1 Review

Katie B. December 24, 2020
I had a hard time with dipping these in chocolate. After dipping, the weight of the chocolate seemed to push out the marshmallow filling, so I'll probably go easier on the filling next time - maybe I had too much on there. My chocolate might have also been too hot, so be sure to let it cool like the recipe says. But then after it set, it was impossible to get off my wire rack and I ended up sacrificing the bottom cookie. Maybe I should've moved them to parchment paper? So my first batch didn't turn out the prettiest, but I knew these would be a challenge going in to it. Definitely going to try again because these were delicious and I love Moon Pies. Thank you for this recipe!