I was just in the lovely city of Charleston, SC and was inspired to create a gluten free version of the world famous Moon Pie. And, since I could create whatever I wanted, Mochaccino – chocolate and espresso – two of my favorite things, seemed like the right flavor combination. So, here’s my version of a Gluten Free Mochaccino Moon Pie.
What do you want to do while in Charleston?
This is what my husband asked on the ride up to Charleston, SC. Charleston is such a beautiful city with so much history and so many well-rated restaurants that you would have thought my answer might have been one of a bunch of must do things: Husk Restaurant with the famous Chef Sean Brock, or Fort Sumter where history was made or a tour of The Yorktown, or, at the very least, a carriage ride through the streets of Downtown Charleston to see the most incredible architecture with that Southern Charm.
But, first on my list was The Moon Pie Store. I know if I didn’t do that first, that all these other amazing things would have pushed my request to the bottom of the list and it may not have happened. But, luckily my husband loves me and made sure it was the first stop. I didn’t grow up with Moon Pies. I’m from the Northeast, but I’ve always heard the story about the Baby Boomers loving their RC Cola and a Moon Pie and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Well, those lovely people in that store sample every flavor – from the original Chocolate to all the new flavors. But, the unfortunate thing is that these aren’t gluten free. So, my husband ate his way through all the flavors and tried to explain it all to me. Only problem is, is that he loves everything, so this didn’t help at all. But, I got the gist of it: It is literally two round, somewhat soft, graham crackers sandwiched with a marshmallow and the top and bottom of the graham cracker is dipped in a chocolate glaze of sorts.
History of the Moon Pie
How did this thing all start? Well, according to The Moon Pie website, a Kentucky coal miner requested a snack “as big as the moon” from Earl Mitchell, Jr., a travelling salesman and the son of the owner of The Chattanooga Bakery. Well, Earl went back to Tennessee and delivered on the request. They created an affordable snack – 5 cents a piece – that not only fit in a coal miner’s lunch pail, but was filling as well. The Chattanooga Bakery has been making these since 1917. The original version was chocolate dipped graham with vanilla marshmallow. Over the years, new flavors have emerged: Vanilla, Banana, Orange, Lemon, Strawberry and Salted Caramel. As well as new sizes – there’s the Double Decker and the Mini Version.
And, serve it with an RC Cola
And, apparently there’s something about eating a Moon Pie while drinking an RC Cola. Not sure how this came about, but in the 1950’s Big Bill Lister came out with the song “Gimme an RC Cola and a Moon Pie.” And another song came out in 1973 by NRBQ (New Rythym and Blues Quartet) called “An RC Cola and a Moon Pie.” And, if you’re interested, there’s an annual RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival held in Bell Buckle, TN. Look for that every year around June.
So, how do you make this Moon Pie?
I would start with the marshmallow. It needs, at least, 4 hours to set up and I prefer to let it sit overnight. You’ll note that my marshmallow is super thick in this moon pie which is a departure from the Traditional Moon Pie. I like it this way. But, the amount of this marshmallow mixture will stretch the limits of your large stockpot as well as your 6 quart mixer. So, if you don’t want it this thick, please cut the recipe in half and you’ll end up with a thinner marshmallow, but it will work just the same.
After the marshmallow has set, select the round cutter you’d like – I used a 3″ round cutter. Dip the cutter in cornstarch and cut marshmallow. Set aside.
Then it’s on to the graham cracker rounds. When I was formulating this recipe, I tried several different flour and sweetener combinations. Although all of these tasted delicious, the best combination for this application was the honey with the sweet sorghum flour. Tastes just like a graham cracker. And the honey keeps this graham cracker a bit softer, which is perfect for the Moon Pie. If I was going to make a regular graham cracker, I would substitute granulated sugar for the honey to get some of that crispness that you want in a regular graham cracker. You can make these up to a day ahead of time and if you’d like to keep them longer before assembling, just place in a ziploc bag and freeze. They’ll keep for up to 6 months frozen.
And, finally, the super simple milk chocolate ganache. Just put nice, evenly cut pieces of milk chocolate or milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chips. Let it sit for about a minute and then start whisking until combined. Let it cool for about 10 to 20 seconds until the mixture starts to cool a bit but is still fluid.
And here is how these lovelies are assembled!
If using crushed espresso beans, have those at the ready. To crush these, I used the bottom of a heavy saucepan and pressed down firmly until they crushed. Have a cooling rack set up over parchment. Dip the tops and bottoms in the milk chocolate glaze and place on the rack to drip and dry. Before the tops dry, sprinkle the tops with crushed espresso beans. Let the chocolate set before putting them all together.
Melt the additional milk chocolate in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, whisking until smooth. Have a piece of parchment set up on a cookie sheet. Dab a small amount of melted milk chocolate on the underside of the bottom graham cracker. Place the marshmallow round on top. Place another dab of milk chocolate on the underside of the top and place on top of the marshmallow to form a sandwich.
They are ready to eat immediately or you can store them at room temperature, covered for 3 days. If you want to keep them longer, I’ve successfully frozen them for up to 6 months. But, believe me, they won’t last that long. Enjoy!!
And all those amazing things I mentioned about Charleston, I got to do them all. Can’t wait to go back – it’s one of my favorite cities.
Special thanks for the beautiful Photography Karie Sofie Photography!