Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Full Moon Pies

AAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  The 23rd is a full moon.  Time to get your werewolf self ready for the big howl.  Besides bringing out beasts and goblins, full moons are thought in the obstetrical world to bring out babies.  As an already overworked and overwrought poor little intern running around labor and delivery, this can’t be a good thing.

But are full moons actually related to the onset of labor? Most studies suggest that, in fact, they are not.  A 1979 study of 11,681 live births at UCLA hospital showed that there was no correlation of lunar cycle to births.  These results were reproduced in a smaller study of 3706 births in the 1990s in New York City.  However, some studies suggest otherwise.  One small Italian study suggests that there might be a small effect on multiparous patients (those that have had more than one baby) with the lunar cycle. 

Not only is tonight/tomorrow (the calendar says tomorrow but it looks full tonight) a full moon, but it is also a harvest moon.  Besides being a great Neil Young album, a harvest moon is when there is a full moon at the autumnal equinox.  Supposedly the harvest moon appears bigger and brighter than a normal full moon.  Time to get out the scythe and start farming.  

To celebrate the full moon, I made a traditional southern classic, the moon pie.  A moon pie is 2 graham cracker cookies filled with marshmallow and topped with chocolate.  To celebrate my day off, I made my own graham crackers and my own marshmallow.  Although it seems difficult, it isn't too tough.  Just takes a candy thermometer. Graham crackers require graham flour, which I know some people have had trouble finding.  I like Bob's Red Mill which is in the health food section with the other whole grains.

Full Moon Pies

For the cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart's baking)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups graham flour
1tsp baking soda
2 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.  In mixer, beat sugar, honey and butter until fluffy.  Slowly mix in flour, stir to combine.  On floured surface roll out cookies thin about 1/8 inch and cut with 1.5 inch round cookie cutter (or glass or jar which is what I used).  Place on baking sheet and bake about 7 minutes until brown and crisp.  

For the Marshmallow (from Food Network)

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 packet plain gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine the 1/4 cup water, the corn syrup, and the sugar in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil and cook to "soft-ball" stage, or about 235 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons water and let dissolve. When the syrup reaches 235 degrees F, remove it from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix. Pour the syrup into the whipped egg whites. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe a "kiss" of marshmallow onto half of the cookies, and top with the rest to make sandwiches. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.

For the Ganache

8 oz chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Over double boiler on medium heat, melt chocolate and cream, stir together.  Dip cookies in ganache.  Also can make white chocolate for an extra drizzle

Abell, GO.; Greenspan, B. “Human births and the phase of the moon.” New England journal of medicine, v. 300 issue 2, 1979, p. 96.

Joshi, R.; Bharadwaj, A.; Gallousis, S.; Matthews, R. “Labor ward workload waxes and wanes with the lunar cycle, myth or reality?.” Primary Care Update for OB/GYNS, v. 5 issue 4, 1998, p. 184. 

Gabriele Ghiandoni, Roberto Secli, Marco B. L. Rocchi, Gilberto Ugolini, Does lunar position influence the time of delivery? Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1998 Mar;77(1):47-50.


  1. So, you need to update. Were there more laboring women during the full moon? :)

  2. Good question. The answer is YES. We had 8 deliveries before 1PM. I totally cursed myself. But hey, doing deliveries is so awesome.