If you got your hot hands on the Joy the Baker 2021 Holiday Magazine you might have flipped to the back pages and noticed page after page of sparkle jackets, andouille sausage, crawfish, and the unsung hero of all late winter street parades: THE MOON PIE. It’s Mardi Gras, baby! It’s that time of year we hit the streets hoping to catch beads, plastic cups, handmade glittered shoes, and a packaged Moon Pie cookie.
While there may be fried chicken on the table and warm jambalaya on the stove back at the Mardi Gras safe House (your friend’s house along the parade route with a reliable bathroom), a Moon Pie is just the sustenance you need in the thick of it – deep in the parade path.
Admittedly the moon pie recipe in the holiday magazine (pictured on the left above) is … ambitious. That’s code for, it’s too much when you just want a cookie in the streets.
I’ve taken the the key elements of the moon pie (graham cracker crumbs, creamy marshmallow fluff, and chocolate) and literally smashed them into a square baking pan. This is an easier way to moon pie.
It’s Mardi Gras weekend – celebrate with us won’tcha!
And if Moon Pies aren’t your thing, here are loads more of my favorite recipes inspired by New Orleans.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Moon Pie Bars:
• all-purpose flour
• crushed graham cracker crumbs
• unsalted butter, at room temperature
• brown sugar
• one large egg
• baking powder
• kosher salt
• vanilla extract
• egg whites and granulated sugar for marshmallow creme
• cream of tartar
• semi-sweet chocolate chips
We’ll start these Moon Pie Bars by first mixing together the crust and topping.
In a large bowl cream together butter and brown until whipped around the bowl and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt. The crushed graham cracker act as an additional, flavorful flour to the base and topping.
Beat together the mixture to a thick cookie dough.
Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan, line the pan with parchment paper, and lightly grease the parchment paper as well. Parchment paper flaps will make the bars much easier to lift and remove from the pan.
Press about 2/3 of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Save 1/3 for the topping. You can totally eyeball this! Set the crust aside. We’ll bake it once it’s fully assembled.
Marshmallow creme is essential to this recipe!
Can you use Marshmallow Fluff or regular marshmallows for this Moon Pie recipe?
I’m afraid not friends – only marshmallow creme will do! Marshmallow fluff can’t withstand the heat of the oven and regular marshmallows will melt away and create a sticky burned mess so… let’s make our own marshmallow creme. It’s worth it, I promise!
Start in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Place egg whites, granulated sugar, pinch of salt, and cream of tartar and beat starting at low speed over a double boiler.
A double boiler is as easy as 2 inches of water brought to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the bowl over the simmering water but don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water. The heat will melt the sugar and pasteurize the raw egg whites. The mixture is done on the double boiler when the sugar is completely dissolved. Carefully dip a clean finger in and feel for any sugar crystals. When the sugar crystals are completely dissolved, remove from the double boiler, add a teaspoon of vanilla, and beat into a glossy, opaque sweet marshmallow creme.
The creme will hold still peaks.
Spoon those gorgeous stiff marshmallow peaks over the graham cracker crust. Top with a very exciting amount of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.
Take the remaining 1/3 of cookie graham cracker dough and press it into rough coins. Arrange the dough coins across the top of the chocolate. Leave some seams where the marshmallow creme and chocolate chips peek through. They’ll bake up rustic and irresistible, really.
Bake until golden across the top, until the chocolate has melted, and the marshmallow has oozed just so.
Allow the bars to cool for an hour (this is really difficult, I know) until you can reasonably lift the bars from the pan and slice. I like to pop the pan in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before slicing just to get some clean cuts.
Moon Pies are typically a cookie sandwich, but look how gorgeous they are as bars! Gorgeous, gooey and easy friends – that’s the Mardi gras vibe this year.
Grab and RC Cola. These moon pies make fantastic treats.Print
Mardi Gras Moon Pie Bars
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12 bars 1x
- Category: dessert, holiday
A classic Moon Pie made into an easy baked bar. A Mardi Gras inspired treat!
For the Bars:
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (127 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs (about 9–10 full graham crackers)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
For the Marshmallow Creme:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a n 8×8 or 9×9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars after they’re baked. Set the pan aside.
- In a large bowl using electric hand beaters, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until just fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and then beat on medium speed until combined. Stop the beaters and finish incorporating the cookie dough with a rubber spatula.
- Press about 2/3 of the cookie dough into prepared pan. You can just eyeball it. Press into a thin layer. If the dough feels sticky, dip your fingers in flour and keep pressing. Set aside the pan and the bowl with the remaining cookie dough.
- To make the marshmallow creme, place egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with two inches of simmering water. Be careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- Whisk constantly (using either a whisk by hand or the cleaned electric hand beaters) until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thinned and become foamy across the top, about 4 minutes. To test if the egg whites are ready, lightly and quickly dip your finger (it’s hot) and rub the mixture between your fingers to feel for any sugar granules. Heat until the mixture is entirely smooth (about 160 degrees F on a thermometer). . The mixture will be 160 degrees on a thermometer.
- Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and beat on high speed with the electric hand mixer until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.
- Spread the marshmallow creme evenly on top of the pressed in crust. It’s sticky but do your best to create an even sticky later. I find that spraying a rubber spatula with nonstick cooking spray helps! Layer chocolate chips on top.
- Press and mold the remaining cookie dough into large flat pieces and layer on top of the chocolate chips and marshmallow cream, living seams open to let the marshmallow and chocolate peek through.
- Bake the bars for 26-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Cool bars completely for 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Lift the bars out using the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Cut into squares. Cover and store leftover bars at room temperature for up to 1 week.
This recipe is inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction and my love of Mardi Gras Moon Pies.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe! We lived years in Pensacola and we miss the Mardi Gras celebrations! We remember the banana moon pies fondly! Thanks to your recipe, some banana extract and white chocolate chips we enjoyed something better than we remembered!
I followed the recipe to the gram and it came out perfect. I thought it would be more labor intensive bc of the comments but it went super quick.
This was totally worth the effort (and dishes). Made them in an 8 x 8 pan, exactly as stated in the recipe, and I wouldn’t change a thing! My favorite thing that I’ve baked in years.
These are a labor of love, and totally worth the effort. I went with an 8×8 plan and thought the proportions were spot on. 10/10.
I really liked the taste of the cookie part… I would however do things a bit different next time. I used a 9×9 (that’s all i have), and the amount of dough was not enough… such a thin layer at the bottom and not enough for the topping! I would either get an 8×8, or make more dough, or use less than 2/3 for the bottom (I used a scale and did exactly 2/3 lol) The marshmallow part was tasty, until it baked….then it tasted soooo sour! It didn’t even taste like marshmallow after being in the oven… I’d go for less cream of tartar. Lastly I used semi-sweet & dark chips, and with the sour meringue, I would not use dark chocolate again.