Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, for those who celebrate! Every year, around July, I promise myself I will try to bake mooncakes. And every year I find excuses not to do it, because it seems so intimidating! Finally, I decided to woman-up, and go for it. I used the recipe from a great cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread, by Kristina Cho. The copyrighted recipe is available online (click here), in case you don’t have the cookbook. I will share my experiences as a mooncake-virgin.
To make mooncakes, you will need molds (either plastic or wood will work). I used molds similar to these. You will also need Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a special type of water that can be made from baking soda, but I decided to get the commercially available (click here). You will only use 1 tsp of alkaline water per batch of dough. Molds come in two common sizes, 50g and 100g. I used the larger ones, make sure to adjust the amount of dough + filling to the size of mold you have.
The dough is surprisingly easy to work with, due to the high fat content. It stretches easily and I had no issues forming the balls with the filling inside. I used 48 g dough per ball, and about 35g filling of two kinds, the pistachio-honey described in the original link, and my second batch was simpler, just almond paste (8 oz) with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
My problems started during baking. For many of the mooncakes, the pattern was almost fully lost during the second stage of baking. Maybe I used too much egg wash, or maybe some other tweaking in my technique was needed. At any rate, you can see in the picture below that my first batch was not as good as the second.
I suppose that making mooncakes is a bit like baking macarons, you’ll get better the more you make them. At any rate, I will definitely be using my molds with other types of cookie dough, as long as they don’t spread too much and have a higher chance of retaining the beautiful designs. Stay tuned… And if you celebrate…
HAPPY MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL!
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