I am from California.
When I was younger, I was completely captivated by the American South. It’s a region that is romanticized in literature all the time. In college, I met a Southern boy who pronounced “foil” like “foll” and told stories about the tobacco fields of his childhood. His family admitted that watching “The Beverly Hillbillies” was like watching home videos. And I fell in love.
We live in North Carolina now. Specifically, Eastern North Carolina… where all Nicholas Sparks’ books are set.
There is one thing I’ll never deny about the South: Their food is uh-may-zing. Like, so darn good.
One of those amazing food items is moon pies. Yes, you can buy them pre-packaged in plastic, but you can also make them…
So if you’re looking for a treat to go along with your Southern literature, here you go:
Moon Pies with Cream Cheese Filling
For moon pies:
2 cups (283 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup (43 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (92 grams) vegetable shortening
1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
½ cup (120 ml) hot water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add one-third of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix again, followed by another third of the flour mixture, the hot water, and then the remaining flour mixture. Give the batter a few quick folds with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Drop the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheets using a medium cookie scoop (about 1½ tablespoons of dough). Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes. The cookies should look puffed and completely set. Let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the filling, cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla; sift in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- To assemble whoopie pies, spread or pipe filling on one cake and then top with another cake.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and then bring to room temperature before serving.
Note: Moon pies are often made with marshmallow filling, which is also delicious. I opted for cream cheese filling this time.
Also, if you’re interested, you can check out my Instagram for more bookish photography.