Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling...just another name for Moon Pies? That's what the recipe said so I seriously debated with myself over these...the mister loves Moon Pies...but is that reason enough to make them?! (He's in the dog house again as he spent an unusual amount of time with his friend Jack last night. So making something special for him was not high on my list.) Santa always brings the mister a box of Moon Pies and puts them in his stocking, right below the coal, and they're gone by New Years and HE is the only one who eats them...I'm not a fan and neither is the boy or girl. The mister grew up eating Moon Pies and was shocked that I didn't know what they were - I was just a dirt-eating-desert-girl so I had no idea until after we were married and he bought me one, yeah, he's a big spender.
Moon Pies have a cream filling with graham/cardboard-like cookies dipped in fake chocolate...at least, that's what I remember - as I said, I'm not a fan. When I saw this recipe in the July issue of Cooking Light I was intrigued...could someone really make a Moon Pie at home that tasted as bad as the packaged ones?! And did I really want to make a bad Moon Pie? Why yes, yes I did.
After reading the recipe and discovering that cardboard wasn't called for, I realized these would in no way resemble real Moon Pies...maybe they would just be chocolate cookies with a filling - and where's the harm in that? So into the kitchen I went and I'm SO glad I made these!!! Let me say that again...I'M SO GLAD I MADE THESE!! The cake-like cookie is soft, moist and chocolaty-sweet -it's just down-right good and the filling is nothing short of heavenly. Nothing like a Moon Pie. Nothing. And they're too good to just be called chocolate sandwich cookies...so they needed another name, but what?? Well, after careful consideration and due diligence I realized that they already HAVE another name...they are none other than 100% bonafide Whoopie Pies!
Even I have heard of Whoopie Pies so surely you must have too! They originated, in of all places, Amish-land...and they're still sold by the Amish and various other bakeries/gas stations on the East coast - they're about the size of a hamburger so one is usually all you need (these cookies are about 3 inches in diameter.) I'm not sure where they got the name Whoopie Pie from but it's probably because one bite will make you scream WHOOPIE! Just for fun, see if you can ONLY eat one...I'll bet you can't.
Two of my friends, who shall remain nameless (Wendy and Joyce) will be sorely tempted to eat the marshmallow fluff filling straight from the bowl...DO NOT. You might be tempted too but I assure you, eating it WITH the chocolate cookies will be a far greater reward.
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling or Whoopie Pies - Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2008, by Susan Kwun, NYC
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
silpats or parchment paper
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cold water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make cookies, combine 1 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and eggs; beat until combined. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats. (I found that using cooking spray, which the recipe called for, made the cookies flatten out more as they slid in the oil. The ones I baked on silpat were nice and plump.) Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.
To prepare filling, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a large, deep bowl; set aside. Combine remaining 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, syrup and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 244 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gradually pour hot sugar syrup into softened gelatin mixture; beating with a mixer on low speed then at high speed until thick. (The recipe said this would take about 6 minutes; after 6 minutes my filling was still very runny so I poured the mixture from the large bowl I had it in into a deep, narrow bowl so the beater would get more of the mixture and that did the trick, after two more minutes of beating it began to thicken and after 10 minutes it was thick and the right consistency to fill a cookie.)
To assemble cookies; quickly spread about 2 tablespoons filling over bottom side of a cookie and top with another cookie. (As the filling continues to cool it will firm up very quickly.) Repeat procedure with remaining filling and cookies. Makes 16 Whoopie Pies. (Oh...Cooking Light said a serving size is one cookie....Hahahahahahahahaha!)
It was worth the extra THIRTY MINUTES on the treadmill and the risk of a sugar-induced coma...they are ridiculously good! I've had different versions of these before...all good...but this is BY FAR the best tasting to date. These cookies can be individually wrapped and frozen for up to a month! Woo-Hoo! I mean Whoopie!