I am always looking for ways to use up leftovers around the house. In this case I had leftover strawberry butter cream frosting and some chocolate ganache leftover from some cupcakes I made last week… hmmm.. what to do with it? Being from the East Coast, I grew up on Whoopie pies and half moon cookies! A Half Moon cookie is a domed disk that is a cross between a cookie and a cake. The flat side is then frosted with Butter cream frosting and the other half is glazed with a chocolate glaze, like a ganache. A whoopie pie is the same cookie/cake but sandwiched together with frosting. Walking home from school, I used to stop at Elks Bakery occasionally and the siren song of the giant Half Moon cookie would be too irresistible to ignore. I mean come ON! Soft, sweet cookie. Rich, chocolate glaze. Slightly salty, butter cream frosting! Oh yeah, good eats! Whipping up a batch of cookies is not a big deal, especially since I have the butter cream frosting, and the chocolate ganache ready to go! If you have never had a Half Moon cookie, you are in for a serious treat! You may even cry after tasting one, tears of joy and the realization of years of lost taste bud opportunity… sigh. My kids always ask me to make these to take to school for their birthday treats. Kids love them! (The teachers love them too!) So give them a try and make up for lost culinary time. While I was making the Half Moon cookies, I ran out of ganache. That is OK, because then you just make whoopie pies… to do this just sandwich your buttercream between two of the cookies. The pictures below are made with my dulce de leche buttercream.
Note: You do NOT need to buy a whoopie pie pan… do not waste your money they work just fine on a cookie sheet.
Half Moon Cookies
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
scant 1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-5 T hot water
Butter cream Frosting:
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
10 tbsp. room temperature butter, cut into pieces
7 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. For the cookies: Preheat oven to 375°. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Put sugar, butter, cocoa, and salt in bowl of standing mixer and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat. Add half the milk, then half the flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth; repeat with remaining milk and flour mixture. Spoon or scoop (I like the 1 T ice cream scoop) batter onto silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets. Note: These can be made large (about 2 T of batter) or small (about 1 T). Bake until cookies are set, anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes depending on how large you made them. Check them frequently. The sides should be set and a toothpick should come out cleanly. Allow cookies to cool, then remove from baking sheet.
2. For the fudge icing: Melt bittersweet and semisweet chocolates and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water over medium heat. (This can be done in a microwave if you prefer) Add confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, add 2-5 tbsp. boiling water and mix to a smooth, stiff paste with a rubber spatula. Thin icing with more hot water until it is pourable, but not too thin. Keep icing warm in a double boiler over low heat or reheat in the microwave as you go, because it sets up fast!
3. For the butter cream frosting: Put sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on low speed to mix, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy. (I added 3 T of strawberry jam)
4. Using a metal spatula, spread about 1 tbsp. of warm fudge icing on half of the flat side of each cookie. Spread the other half of each cookie with 1 heaping tbsp. butter cream icing.
Mix all ingredients together in order given. Beat until smooth. Drop by round tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Allow space to spread. Bake at 370 degrees for about 7 minutes. Cool and frost half the flat side of each cookie with vanilla icing and half with chocolate icing. Yield: 3 dozen 3 in. cookies