I’ve never really been a big moon pie person. Apparently though, they are the Southern pre-packaged food. All of my Northern friends who have spent any time in the South (ok, that’s not that many) are obsessed with moon pies. Me? I’m a little more inclined to Little Debbies, which used to get packed into my lunch box daily.
But moon pies made at home? These…these are incredible. And absolutely rich with a filling that almost makes your face scrunch up with sweetness. These are the kind of summer dessert that in theory should be eaten with a coke out on the back porch. But in reality, you need a glass of milk for the richness and air conditioning to keep all that chocolate from melting.
The cookie part of this recipe is the part that fascinated me the most. The batter is made with your usual cookie components, but add in some graham cracker crumbs and some sour cream. They come out fluffy and cake like, but still firm enough to grasp in the palms of your hands and spread with sweetened marshmallow cream without the fear they will crack and fall apart. And even though they resemble cake cookies, they are still moist. And with the graham cracker crumbs they literally taste like a cake made of graham crackers (now there is an idea we need to pursue). And the filling (made of butter and marshmallow cream and powdered sugar) and the chocolate coating (made of, obviously, chocolate, more butter, and in my case some half and half) do all they can to amp up the richness of the dessert.
What this really is though, if we look at it honestly, is a sophisticated version of a s’more. Graham cracker cookies, marshmallow filling, chocolate. Now, I don’t think s’mores necessarily need sophisticating (although the addition of peanut butter and dark chocolate is always welcome). But hey…it doesn’t hurt.
Chocolate Dipped Moon Pies (aka Swoon Pies)
adapted from Southern Living Magazine February 2012
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes per batch
Wait Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Makes about 12
For the cookies:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter or shortening
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream*
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy. Then add the egg and the vanilla and beat until blended.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, ending with the flour mixture and beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (In other words: add 1/3 of flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Then add 1/2 of the sour cream, beating on low to combine. Then continue to alternate until you’ve added it all.) Use a large rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and make sure it is all combined.
5. Drop about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter onto the baking sheet, placing each cookie about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until set and golden brown. Remove from oven, allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute, and then transfer the cookies to wire racks to finish cooling (about 30 minutes).
7. While the cookies are baking (or cooling), make the marshmallow filling. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended. Then add the marshmallow cream and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and spreadable.
8. To make the moon pies, spread the bottom of half of the cookies with 1 tablespoon of the filling. Then top with the remaining cookies, bottom sides down. Place in the freezer until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.
9. Melt the chocolate, butter, and half and half together either in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave. Stir often as the chocolate is melting until it is smooth.
10. Remove the cookies from the freezer and dip 1/2 of each cookie in the chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip off before placing it back down on your plate or tray. When all of the cookies are dipped, return them to the freezer to allow the chocolate to set, about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator (and they are best if eaten within 24 hours).
*I only added the half and half because the chocolate seized up on me just a bit and was not nearly creamy enough to dip cookies into.