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.
I made these with gluten-free graham crackers and a gluten free all purpose flour blend I make myself.
So. F*cking. Delicious.
Made as written this time, but next time I will double the marshmallow and only do a cup of chocolate. I think that would be a more balanced ratio.
But no complaints. I have to freeze most of them or I would eat myself sick.
felt so fancy making marshmallow. super tasty – have had to hoard a few for myself.
Especially amazing in the hour after the oven when the chocolate and marshmallow aren’t completely set.
Joy the Baker - Founder
You are fancy!
These were super delicious and totally worth the extra dishes. I used the two egg yolks leftover from the whites I was using in the marshmallow rather than use another whole egg for the base/top and it worked great.
My mashmellow crème never formed the spikes. What did I wrong
Elena, I’m so sorry the creme didn’t form! I hope you tried again. I would invest in a candy thermometer if you don’t have one and make sure those sugar granules are dissolved before whipping it up. Best of luck to you!
These look great! Do you have a favorite recipe for actual moon pies (not bars)?
One of my boys said these would be perfect for a party where they would be completely destroyed in seconds. Then we talked about how we would share the link to the recipe for $5 a piece. :) They’re that good.
I’ve never had the original moon pie before, but your version looks delicious!
OMG! Go right NOW & get a Moon Pie at the gas station. Put it on a parchment sheet (at the gas station!!) & nuke it for a few seconds. Plant your face into what s’mores WISH they were!
Made it today – turned out exactly as shown and was soooo good!
Can the bars be frozen?
Joy the Baker
Yes, they can! Double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks.
Grew up in New Orleans but now live overseas so had to make these! I made them for neighbors but we dug into them before they were given away! Guess I’ll have to make another batch! They were delicious!!!!
I made these exactly as directed and they were a HUGE hit with Hubble, grandchildren and friends! I found this to be a very easy recipe and that includes making the marshmallow cream! Thank you for a wonderful recipe that turned out exactly as your photos suggested they would!
These look delightful!
I don’t have cream of tartar on hand; what do you recommend as a substitute?
Joy the Baker - Founder
No cream of tartar, no problem! You can add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice for the acid element.
Made these a couple days ago…fabulous recipe. They turned out exactly as you said, and were so tasty. Definitely not just for Mardi Gras! Thanks!
Do you think I could make these gluten free with a cup for cup substitution?
Joy the Baker - Founder
You can absolutely make these gf! Cup for Cup is a great substitution. If you use a gf flour blend without xanthan gum, add 1/2 teaspoon to the flour blend for this recipe.
Please report back if you try making them GF! I’m also interested in doing a GF version for a kiddo with celiac – I think she’d love it
If you triple the recipe which pan size do you use? It can’t be the same size as the 1x right?
Joy the Baker - Founder
I would suggest your double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch dish. Triple it in a 9×13-inch pan and you’ll have thicker bars that will likely need a longer baking time, say 40 minutes or so? I haven’t tested that variation but that’s my estimation.
Oh my gosh these look amazing! That’s my weekend sorted!
moon pies! marshmallow creme only – noted, fun treat that I’ve never had, so thank you