Tennessee’s cookie is a homemade version of their famous Moon Pie, with homemade marshmallow sandwiched between two cake-like vanilla cookies and drenched in semisweet chocolate.
Up until last week, I had never had a Moon Pie. Our town library had a little party during Story Time to celebrate the end of Summer Reading and since the theme was outer space they served Tang and Moon Pies as the snack. They were these double-decker kind, and I had half of one. It was about what I expect from the kind of mass produced snack cake you find in a vending machine: dry cookie, the plasticky “chocolate” coating. I wasn’t too impressed (and lest you think I’m just a snob about sweets, I love Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls and those Snowball things and various other mass-produced, eerily-long-shelf-life little cakes).
You can get the story about the Moon Pie here but basically it’s two graham cracker cookies with marshmallow between and covered in chocolate, and the legend says that it was born when a coal miner requested a dessert “as big as the moon.” Sounds about as apocryphal as Amish children yelling “whoopie” about getting whoopie pies, but nonetheless it happened in Tennessee and is a perfect cookie for the state.
This cookie is vanilla, not graham cracker, but the marshmallow inside is homemade (instead of, say, using Fluff) so I have high hopes.
I didn’t check the yield beforehand (a bad habit of mine) but I was going to end up with ten cookies once they were paired off. Like previous times I’ve rolled balls out of chilled dough, they didn’t spread much and had high domes.
I’ve made marshmallows before, and as long as you’re comfortable cooking some syrup and can stand the barnyard smell of hot gelatin (seriously, how can you not know what it comes from when you smell that?) it’s pretty easy. This recipe included an egg white, which the Taste of Home and Alton Brown recipes I’ve used before didn’t use. So in a way it was partway between when I made marshmallows before and when I made Italian buttercream last month. The problem was the tiny amounts I was dealing with: 2 TB of water, 2 TB of corn syrup, 1/3 c of granulated sugar, and 1 TB of gelatin. Check this out:
I was too stingy with the filling. I think I was thinking of when I fill whoopie pies, because if you try to really stuff them, you’ll likely end up with filling blobbing out the sides. The recipe instructed me to refrigerate the cookies after filling to set the marshmallow, which meant I really could have made that layer thicker, especially since the cookies were so thick. That knocked the ratio all off and I barely could taste the marshmallow.
Next, the chocolate coating, which happily used real chocolate and a double boiler melting method (which I would have used anyway).
It recommended using a fork to dip, but I have this cool dipping spoon so why not use it?
I hate tempering chocolate (I didn’t this time, I just got lucky with careful slow melting) but man do I love dipping things in chocolate. If I could justify the cost I’d get a chocolate tempering machine.
So what am I going to do with these marshmallows? Hmm…
Okay, dipping individually is going to take forever, let’s just make a huge mass of chocolate covered marshmallows:
Overall impressions: As you can see, the cookies are really thick and the marshmallow is not. That’s on me. Flavor-wise, the chocolate dominates because of it. But I can’t complain, and it’s definitely much tastier than the one I had at the library. The cookie is more like a dense, soft cookie than a cake, so it’s definitely in cookie territory.
Tips and Tricks:
- Next time I would flatten each ball of dough after placing it on the cookie sheet. I want these to spread and get a little thinner so I end up with a chocolate-covered saucer shape, not a chocolate-covered ball.
- Make the marshmallow layer thicker. Be generous. Maybe instead of putting them together one at a time, I’ll lay out each cookie that’s getting filled and divide the marshmallow evenly between them until it’s gone. Or whatever is reasonable.
- Make a double batch
Next time: Texas Sheet Cake Cookies. Chocolate and peanut butter, can’t go wrong.