Tastykakes. Cosmic brownies. Frosted chocolate cupcakes. These are some of the stars of the snack world. Our mission: to taste them all, to explore strange new snacks, to seek out new favorites, to boldly eat snacks that many people have eaten before us—we just haven’t gotten to them yet.
Our first stop: THE MOON… PIE! But what are Moon Pies? What is in a Moon Pie? Is it cheese, like the moon? Let’s find out.
What is a Moon Pie?
A Moon Pie is like a less messy s’more. It has a center of chewy marshmallow squished in between two circular graham crackers that are four inches in diameter. This sandwich is dipped in chocolate, cooled, and then individually packaged. They are sold in boxes of eight or twelve and also sold individually in a lot of convenience stores.
Where did Moon Pies originate?
The Moon Pie (or MoonPie, if you want to adhere to the company style guide) comes from the final frontier… Chattanooga, Tennessee! Invented in 1917, the snack cake has been made by the Chattanooga Bakery for over 100 years; they’re cranking out a million pies a day at this point.
There’s a lot of folklore and tradition surrounding the Moon Pie that make it an intrinsically Southern snack. It is said that a miner, when asked about what he would want in a snack, replied, “Something as big as the moon.” And thus, the name was born.
One tradition throughout the South is having an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. This pairing is ingrained into Southern culture, so much so that the country song “Gimme an RC Cola and a Moon Pie” was a hit in the 1950s. The snack’s popularity extended from Tennessee to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle.
The city of Mobile, Alabama has really gone all in on the Moon Pie. It’s common for people in the city’s annual Mardi Gras parade to huck Moon Pies into the crowd. And during New Year’s Eve, they go all out. They have a Moon Pie Drop at midnight, which is like the Times Square ball drop, except it is a 12-foot tall Moon Pie sign. They also partake in the world’s largest Moon Pie, a 55 pound monstrosity that can feed hundreds.
What was the original Moon Pie flavor?
The original Moon Pie flavor is chocolate, but the brand has explored other flavors. The single decker pies also come in salted caramel, vanilla, and banana. They also make a Double Decker Moon Pie, which has a third graham cracker in it, which come in the same selection of flavors. There are also seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice, lemon, and blueberry.
Finally, there are the Mini MoonPies—half the size of the original—and they come in all the flavors listed above, plus mint and strawberry. It’s enough to make Little Debbie blush.
What is in a Moon Pie?
A Moon Pie consists of marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate. But if you want to go deeper, here are the ingredients within a classic chocolate Moon Pie: WHEAT FLOUR, INVERT SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, PALM OIL AND PALM KERNEL OIL, WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, GELATIN, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, BAKING SODA, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CORN STARCH, COCOA, CORN SUGAR, ENZYMES, NATURAL FLAVOR. (Sounds better when we just say marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate, right?)
Are Moon Pies vegan?
Sadly, the marshmallow within a Moon Pie is made with gelatin, which contains animal products, so they are not vegan.
Are Moon Pies vegetarian?
If you are okay with gelatin as a vegetarian, then Moon Pies are A-OK for you to eat. If not, then steer clear.
Are Moon Pies gluten free?
The graham crackers contain wheat flour. Sorry, gluten free people.