Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pomegranate Moon Pies

This is it.  The end of an era.  Tomorrow I leave the world of academia and become a full-fledged member of the working class.  That's right people, I'm a student no longer.  No more will I be able to use my university ID to get cheap movie tickets.  I'll be paying full price at the local Chipotle.  I have to give up my Amazon U account.  Goodbye academic bubble, I'm going to miss your warm, fuzzy, safe feeling.

I've been waiting years to be able to say these magical words.  The words that every PhD longs to scream from the rooftops and post to their facebook page.  I GOT A JOB!  After several long months of searching the job market, having phone interviews and visiting companies for on-sites, I finally scored my dream job.

2011 has been a great year for me, finished my project, got a job and there's even more to tell, but not today.  I think I've had enough excitement for one day.  Today I have about a million and one things to accomplish at my university lab before I head out of town on Thursday.  My to do list is very, very long and things keep getting added to it.  So, now I focus.  Thursday, I celebrate!

Pomegranate Moon Pies

I preferred the cookies that were not covered in chocolate because the pomegranate flavor was more pronounced.  These were a huge hit at work and barely lasted past lunchtime!

Pomegranate Marshmallows
Adapted from the many marshmallow recipes I've already made!

1 16-ounce bottle pomegranate juice
3 tbsp gelatin

1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cup invert syrup (buy it or make it!)
Pinch salt
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Place entire bottle of pomegranate juice in a saucepan and reduce over medium heat.  You want to reduce the liquid by half.  Once reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Take 3/4 cup of this reduced juice and add 3 tbsp gelatin.  Stir until no clumps remain and set aside to bloom.
In a medium pot, combine remaining ingredients and stir until sugar is moistened.  Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 3 minutes and remove lid, clip on candy thermometer.  Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 240.  Remove the thermometer and add gelatin bloom.  Stir until incorporated then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a bowl and get your hand mixer ready).
Slowly bring the speed up to high and whip for 10 minutes.  The marshmallow batter should be shiny and fluffy.  If it isn't the color you desire, add a little pink or red food coloring.  Transfer to a piping bag with a wide circular tip (or a zip top bag and cut the corner off).   

 Pipe onto half of the graham cracker rounds. Top each blob with a second cookie. Two options - 1. Coat the marshmallow in sprinkles, this lets the flavor of the marshmallow really shine or 2. Dunk the entire thing in chocolate for a true moon pie.

Graham Cracker Rounds
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I used the true recipe from Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago with my key lime mallomars.  I decided that the honey flavor was just too strong, as I don't really like honey.  I have replaced the honey with Golden syrup for this recipe.  Golden syrup is a little harder to find than honey, so feel free to re-replace the goldne syrup back to honey!  I preferred the way these cookies came out, they were more my flavor and let the pomegranate marshmallow really shine.

2 3/4 cups flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup golden syrup
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your food processor.  Add butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is coarse.

In a small bowl, whisk together golden syrup, milk and vanilla extract.  Add to the flour mixture and pulse to combine.  Wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, cut the dough in half and return one half to the fridge.  On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick.  Cut into 2 1/2-inch circles with your favorite round object.  Place dough rounds on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.  While these rounds are chilling, roll out the other half of the dough.  Chill those too.

Heat the oven to 350 and bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for one minute on the pan.  Remove to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely.  See above to put together moon pies!

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