When you think of a con man during the Great Depression befriending a young girl who may or may not be his daughter and going around to small towns swindling people for money, you might not find that funny. And yet, in the 1973 comedy crime drama Paper Moon, this exact premise is hilarious. Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) agrees to take Addie, a young girl (Tatum O’Neal, and Ryan O’Neal’s daughter in real life) who just lost her mother, to people who will take care of her. As a con man, Moses thinks Addie is going to cramp his con-style. Instead, the opposite happens. She’s an even smarter con-artist than he is, and together they make an unstoppable team. Paper Moon, though the characters are deceiving, is really quite heartwarming and entertaining.
Inspired by the title of the film, the references to moons in the movie, and the popular song, It’s Only a Paper Moon, cookies in the shape of moons popped into my head. These Mint Chocolate Lavender Moon Cookies are filled with a variety of great ingredients you may not often have the opportunity to experiment with. One such ingredient being culinary lavender. It’s always fun working with lavender in a culinary setting, and a little bit goes a long way! Too little and you hardly taste it, too much and it tastes like you’ve eaten a spa. For this recipe you don’t need more than 1 ½ tablespoons of culinary lavender.
The mint in this recipe is also not overbearing, but instead offers a hint of mint chocolate that is just right. I rarely use peppermint extract, but now I want to find ways to incorporate more of it into desserts I make.
Before letting the dough cool in the fridge you’ll divide it into two halves. If you don’t want to make too many cookies now, save the other batch of dough for later. The one half of dough will make about 15-25 cookies. The moon cookie cutter is fairly small so you’ll get a lot of mileage out of the dough.
The mint, lavender, and honey all go very well together. The flavors enhance one another instead of overpowering each other. With the fresh mint chocolate smooth filling and the crunch of the lavender cookie, your taste buds will enjoy a variety of textures and flavors.
Mint Chocolate Lavender Moon Cookies
Lavender Moon Cookies
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons honey
4½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ tablespoons culinary lavender
Mint Chocolate Filling
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablepoons heavy cream, warm
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add softened butter, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Mix together with an electric hand-held mixer until smooth and combined.
3. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and honey. Mix until combined.
4. Add flour, baking powder, and lavender. Mix.
5. Divide the dough in half and flatten each into an oval. Wrap each dough oval (which will be soft at this point) in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
6. After the dough has become firm, roll the dough out flat on a well-floured surface. Using your moon cookie cutter, stamp moons into the dough. Place each moon on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
7. While the cookies are baking, make the mint chocolate filling by melting the chocolate chips in a double broiler. Once the chocolate has melted, add the warm cream and peppermint extract. Stir until combined and set aside.
8. As soon as the cookies are finished baking, let them cool. Once they’ve hardened, add the mint chocolate filling onto the bottom of a cookie. Spread the filling with your thumbs or a small spatula or knife. Add a second top cookie, and just like that you’ve got mint chocolate lavender moon cookies!
© A Dash of Cinema
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Food Images by Lauren Jessen; Film Stills of Paper Moon from Paramount Pictures