Irresistible Cookies Whether Dubbed Whoopie Pies or Moon Pies

Chefs, Cooking, Restaurants By Feb 25, 2011

Michael Owens, Executive Pastry Chef at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach, shares his recipe and tips for making Moon Pies

One of his most popular treats is one of the simplest.

His Moon Pie Cookies, buttery marshmallow fluff-style filling sandwiched between dark chocolate cake-like discs, are impossible to resist.

Some might argue that these rich cookies should be dubbed Whoopie Pies, but whatever you choose to call them, few could argue about their delectability. Owens bakes them at his Irvine home for his sons Bryan and Jason, often augmenting the filling with peanut butter or seedless raspberry jam.

When serving them at the hotel’s Palm Terrace Restaurant and Lounge, he gives them a touch of glamor. Half of a chilled cookie is hand-dipped in melted chocolate and allowed to harden in a vertical position resting in a puddle of chocolate. The cookie stands at attention in all its glory.

Shooting the Moon Pie video with Owens was very informative. Not only is he a top-notch pastry chef, he is also a talented teacher. Along the way he talked about specifics.

How long should you cream the butter and sugar? What should it look like? How do you hold the pastry bag?

Have a look at the video, home bakers. The lessons hold sweet rewards.

The Island Hotel’s Moon Pies
Yield: about 9 to 11 sandwich cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup marshmallow crème
Cook’s notes: If desired, add 1/2 cup peanut butter to the filling.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl of electric mixer cream butter and sugar on low speed until combined using the flat paddle. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light in color, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula (or silicone spatula) as needed. Add egg and mix to incorporate, scraping down sides if needed. Add evaporated milk and vanilla on low speed in two batches; beat on medium speed and scrape the bowl as needed.
3. In a separate bowl or on a sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients and mix on slow speed at first; increase speed to medium and beat until well incorporated. Place batter in medium sized plain pastry bag. Pipe the batter into circles the size of a silver dollar on prepared baking sheet. Bake until the cookies feel set or firm to the touch, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
4. In large bowl of electric mixer, use paddle attachment to cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy and no lumps of butter are present. Add marshmallow crème and mix to blend. Put filling in pastry bag.
5. Match the cookies together by size. Make sure they are as consistent as possible in diameter. Pipe the filling on the flat side of one cookie. Take the other cookie and sandwich them together. Repeat this until all of the cookies are filled. Refrigerate cookies airtight to prevent them from drying out.
Source: Michael Owens, Executive Pastry Chef, The Island Hotel, Newport Beach

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