Come in and Stay Safe! --Sue

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moonlight Pies in Vermont

Chocolate graham crackers filled with maple marshmallow cream: moonlight pies in Vermont.

Sometimes I just want to make something that evokes memories.  These cookies remind me of my childhood in the Midwest, although my mother would never have made them.  She was fascinated by supermarkets, frozen food, and kitchen appliances.  Cooking was a chore, which modern-day people had more or less dispensed with.

Which is why I didn't know how to make chocolate graham crackers.  If she had only known how easy it is to make them!  However, while I was researching graham crackers, I uncovered some disturbing facts.  Wikipedia:  Developed in 1829 by Presbyterian minister Rev. Sylvester Graham, "Graham crackers were originally marketed as "Dr. Graham's Honey Biskets" and were conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what he considered unhealthy carnal urges, the source of many maladies according to Graham. "

My, my.  Kids eat these.  They're made into prefab piecrusts.  You can buy them at the IGA.  What's the world coming to?
But the description of graham flour sounded a lot like the lovely white whole wheat flour I get from King Arthur.  I decided to also use double-dutch cocoa powder, to get the deep chocolate color, and Vermont honey for depth and sweetness.  Of course, this train of thought soon led to marshmallow, as many things do.

Chocolate Graham Crackers

Makes 30 - 36 crackers

In Preparation:
Heat oven to 300F.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper

10 oz. White Whole Wheat flour, from King Arthur Flour
4 oz. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Double-Dutch Cocoa powder
3 oz. brown sugar
2 oz. caster sugar (very fine sugar, dissolves easily)
1 tsp baking soda
3 oz. butter
1/2 cup Vermont raw honey
1/3 cup milk

1. In an electric mixer bowl, mix together the flours, salt, cocoa powder, sugars, and baking soda, until blended thoroughly.
2. Add the butter, honey and milk; mix thoroughly
3. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the counter.  Roll out half the dough, fairly thin (about 3/16", or less).

Cut out 3" circles with decorative cutter, or biscuit cutter.  With the tip of a skewer, poke small holes at even spacing on the cookie, with one in the center.   Place on prepared parchment-lined pan.

4. Bake at 300F for 13 minutes or until cooked through.  Take care to not permit the cookies to burn on the bottom.
5. Cool on parchment, then remove and store in cool, dry space, or use as wrapper for marshmallow cream.

Maple Marshmallow Cream

This makes a lovely filling for graham crackers, or for eating by itself.  The maple is a very subtle note in the marshmallow.  This recipe makes quite a bit of marshmallow.  If you are only going to use it for the cookies, cut the recipe in half.

In preparation:
Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; sprinkle with corn starch.
Get out all the ingredients and be ready to quickly combine.
Find candy thermometer

3 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin, or 3 T gelatin powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 pound sugar
2 oz. light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 egg whites, or 4 T dry egg whites and 7 T water, whisked together.
6 T Vermont maple syrup, grade B
corn starch for dusting

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water.  Stir in with chopstick; this will soak up and become a mass.
2. In a saucepan, put candy thermometer on the side, then combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil and cook to 245F.  Soften the bowl of gelatin by microwaving for a few seconds, set aside.
3. When sugar is almost at the desired temperature, start to beat egg whites to moderate peaks; when sugar is ready, keep the mixer running and add the sugar in a thin, steady stream.  Continue beating.
4. Add in the gelatin, and then add in the maple syrup.  Beat until the meringe holds a peak.  Then pour a couple of cups onto a plate, and put the rest (any extra) in the prepared pan.  (Later, the pan marshmallow can be cut up with a knife dipped in hot water.)
5. Refrigerate the plate for three to five minutes, then put a large tablespoon of filling between two cookies, twist and press together.  This should be done while the marshmallow is still very warm, and workable.
Alternate approach:  Using a pastry bag with a large star tip, pipe the hot marshmallow onto the base cookie in a spiral pattern, creating a uniform layer.  Place the top cookie on the marshmallow and press lightly to seal.

6.  Enjoy with a glass of milk!

The first night we moved to Vermont, we stood outside in awe of the night sky.  The air is very clear. There is no ambient light from cities or highways, and the stars are very bright.  Every night, the show is different.  When the moon is full, it's almost like daylight.
Last night, we were halfway there:


  1. "Of course, this train of thought soon led to marshmallow, as many things do." It's the same at my house. In particular, I have one daughter who is marshmallow crazy. I think we'll be playing in the kitchen soon with this recipe.

  2. These are so cute! I'm very happy to have found your blog. I went to college in Vermont and it was such a blissful time in my life. It is nice to be reminded of this. The photography is beautiful...keep it up!

  3. Saw your photo on Photograzing and when I saw you were from Vermont I couldn't wait to skip on over here and say "hello." Good to meet another New Englander, and one from the Twin State, no less.

  4. Hi Katy! Thanks for coming! - Sue


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