If you’re out-and-about celebrating Cinco de Mayo or the Kentucky Derby tonight and you notice the moon seems unusually large, don’t worry it’s not the Margaritas or Mint Juleps going to your head: it’s the “supermoon” – the biggest moon of 2012. Appearing 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal, it will be at its most magnificent around 11.35 p.m. E.T. (3.34 a.m., May 6th, Irish time).
The scientific name for this phenomenon is “the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun-system” or “perigee moon” for short. It is thought to have a slight effect on tides, dogs, and human sleep patterns but other than that there’s no chance of the supermoon posing a threat to Earth.
Assuming the skies are clear, the best viewing of the supermoon will be at moonrise or moonset when, thanks to the mystery of optical illusion, it will actually appear larger than it does when higher in the sky. In my experience, a supermoon looks especially impressive when rising up over a horizontal plane, like the sea, or peeking out from behind a distant object such as a mountain or tall building.
Since this is the first time our children are old enough to stay up and enjoy the magic of a supermoon (no wild Cinco de Mayo or Kentucky Derby parties for us), we’re planning a backyard picnic under the moon. We’ve got blankets and carafes of hot chocolate to keep us warm and, just in case we need a snack, I made Moon Pies with Nutella Cream filling. Hope you enjoy the night (sky)!
Moon Pies (recipe from Viola Goren’s book “Whoopie Pies”
2 ¼ cups/300gm/10oz All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 oz butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup/4oz sour cream or yogurt
Nutella Cream Filling
4 egg whites
1 cup/200gm/7oz sugar
3 oz butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
½ cup/4oz Nutella
Directions for Cake Batter
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Sift flour and baking powder in small mixing bowl.
4. Place butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a separate mixing bowl and beat until mixture is light and airy. Add eggs, one at a time, until everything is mixed well.
5. Gradually add dry ingredients and sour cream or yogurt to the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla mixture.
6. Drop batter onto baking sheets, spacing evenly. Spread batter in approximately 1½-inch circles.
7. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick, inserted in the center of the cake, comes out clean.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Directions for Nutella Cream Filling
1. Pour egg whites and sugar into a bowl placed over a pot of hot water (double boiler). Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.
2. Transfer to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed, then on high speed, until mixture cools completely and the meringue is set.
3. Gradually add butter and Nutella.
4. Mix well until the cream filling is smooth and uniform.
Directions for Assembly
1. When cakes are completely cool, spread the filling onto the flat side of a cake and top it with another cake. Press gently on top until filling spreads to edge.