By now, most of you have probably received several boxes of mooncakes from well-meaning friends, colleagues, and acquaintances for Mid-Autumn Festival. However, it’s no secret that some of the fillings – salty egg yolk and lotus paste, for example – aren’t exactly a hit with kids (or adults, for that matter). If you love the idea of mooncakes but hate the taste, there’s one way you can have your (moon)cake and eat it too: by making them yourself.
There are tons of shops on Taobao that sell mooncake-making kits. Our colleagues at the Beijinger recently bought a kit from this shop, as well as a mold set for shaping the dough. The kit included 200g of flour for the mooncake shells and a packet of “white oil” (a mixture of vegetable oil and butter that prevents the whole thing from sticking too much).
Obviously, we jumped on the chance to join in the fun. The process was surprisingly easy, and would be easy to replicate with even young children (provided they have adult supervision, of course).
A co-worker brought a homemade filling made from Hershey’s cocoa powder, egg, milk, flour, and a bit of sugar cooked in a frying pan; it would be a simple matter for each family to devise their own filling according to personal taste. Another co-worker suggested a mix of sunflower seeds, chopped cashews, mashed dates, and lemon juice to taste.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to making the mooncakes:
Recommended ages: 4+
Prep time: 10 minutes
Make time: 30-45 minutes
- Sprinkle your prep surface with flour to prevent sticking. Combine all 200g of the mooncake flour with 100ml of water. Knead into a ball until you get a dewy – but not sticky – texture.
- Break off a small piece, roll it into a ball, and flatten until you get a disc the size of a coaster. Use the white oil or some flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to your hands.
- Spoon some of your filling into the center, close the skin around it, and roll into a ball again, making sure to keep the filling on the inside.
- Choose a design from the mooncake mold kit and slot it into the included cylindrical, syringe-like device. Put your ball of mooncake dough into the cylindrical chamber and turn it onto a floured surface. Holding the device like a syringe, lift the handle until you see the sides of your mooncake pop out. Then, pop off the mold to reveal your finished mooncake design!
N.B. The mooncake skins that we got are meant to be eaten cold (they’re called "snowskins" or 冰皮), but this is optional. You can pop the finished mooncakes into the fridge for 15 minutes for a cold kick or enjoy your creations on the spot. Bon appetit!
For the Beijinger’s take, click here.
Special thanks to Max Wu and Ashley Lendrum for the filling recipes
Photo by Ellis Friedman