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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jack-O'-Lantern Moon Pies

Halloween is upon us! We haven't carved our pumpkins yet because I did not want them to rot before the big day, but I still wanted to do something fun and Halloweeny for the kiddos tonight. Please don't ask me where this bolt of inspiration came from - this is probably one of the most random things I have ever thought to make - moonpies!! Its been probably almost two decades since I've had a moonpie! Not only did I want to make a moonpie, but I wanted to make a pumpkin moonpie. No, I'm not pregnant. I don't think so, anyways.

I had no idea how to make a moonpie, so I started googling. I didn't really find much of what I wanted, and then I stumbled across the Domestic Diva - Martha Stewart. She has recipe that I adapted from, so if moonpies aren't your thing, I'm quite sure these whoopie pies would be awesome instead. I used the cakey part of her recipe for my cookie base. My first batch looked like a big poofy ball - I didn't think about having these little guys rise. Next batch I tried to flatten the batter before baking - that was a bit hard and didn't turn out right. Third try (a charm, of course) I let them bake halfway, then took them out, flipped them over, then squished them flat. Worked perfect!

I let my cookie-cakes fully cool off before I made marshmallow sandwiches with them. I discovered, however, that after dunking the sandwiches in melted chocolate the marshmallow filling tended to soften and ooze out of the sides (you can tell in my pictures). I would recommend maybe freezing your sandwiches for a few minutes to harden up the marshmallow center to help prevent the issues I had. Also, the reviews I read said that the amount of spice used in these was very overwhelming - and I can't help to agree that tablespoons of cinnamon sounds scary. I personally used teaspoons instead of tablespoons - but to each his own. I used food coloring and white chocolate chips to dip our moonpies in - and these were incredibly adorable!! The pictures do no justice - I could not get a picture with the color to turn out right, so I just gave up after a while. Anyone with any lick of artistic talent can do a much better job than I did - I am lacking in that field.

Overall, this took a while to put together, but the result was so delicious and festive! The pumpkin cake layer was very, very good, even on its own, and it definitely tasted like I wanted. These were a bit on the rich side, so I could only eat a part of it, but I will not hesitate to make these again next fall.


Jack-O'-Lantern Moon Pies
Yields 12-18

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 jar marshmallow cream
1 bag white chocolate chips (or semi-sweet/milk if you prefer)
2 tablespoons shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism (to ensure even sized cookies), drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, flip each cookie over then press flat. Return to oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on pan.

4. Once cookies are completely cool, make sandwiches by spreading marshmallow cream on one cookie and covering with another. Place sandwiches in freezer for 5-10 minutes, enough to allow the marshmallow to firm.

5. Meanwhile, place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stopping to stir about every 30-45 seconds. Lay out a sheet of wax or parchment paper.

6. Dip each sandwich into the melted chocolate, and using a fork, gently tap the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place on wax paper and allow to cool and firm completely. Store covered in the refrigerator.

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