As you may recall, I try out new mooncake recipes every year for Mid-Autumn Festival– it’s always fun to try new twists on classic recipes! This year I was trying to brainstorm ideas and was thinking about peanut butter cookies, when I came across a recipe for a peanut-and-honey based mooncake— kind of a riff on a traditional “nuts and seeds” filling. It seemed pretty simple– only a few ingredients and steps– so I decided to give it a try!
I enjoyed these– the food processor brought together the filling in a snap, and the resulting filling had a nice texture without being hard to press into a ball or likely to tear through the delicate mooncake skin while assembling. I doubled the original filling recipe to use up exactly one bag of Trader Joe’s roasted unsalted peanuts, and ended up making exactly 24 mooncakes (39g of filling, 19g of skin). I used my standard mooncake skin recipe, with the exception of using half peanut oil, rather than all vegetable oil– I think it added extra peanut flavor to the finished mooncakes, which were excellent. The insides are nice and chewy, without sticking in your teeth too much, and the salt cuts through the sweetness perfectly.
If you’re interested in making non-traditional mooncakes, I’d say these are a great start. Next time I may try adding some toasted sesame seeds to mimic the flavor profile of a classic Vietnamese peanut-sesame candy!
Honey-Salted Peanut Mooncakes
- 260g flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 170g golden syrup
- 25g vegetable oil
- 25g peanut oil
- 1 tsp. alkaline water (available in Asian grocery stores)
- In a small bowl, mix syrup, oils, and alkaline water. It will not want to mix smoothly– you’ll have to stir it vigorously and even then it may look curdled. If you let it stand too long the oil will start to separate out again, so make sure you use it while it’s emulsified.
- In a larger bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add syrup mixture.
- Mix to form a dough. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before using– overnight is better. The dough can be extremely stiff at first, but keep mixing until it comes together and gets smoother. The resting period will let it hydrate further, so don’t skip this! (NOTE: If the dough still isn’t usable after resting, knead in water a teaspoon at a time until it comes together)
Peanut filling (from Kristina Cho)
- 3 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1 cup honey
- 4 tbs. coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbs. kosher salt
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse peanuts until coarsely chopped.
- Add honey, coconut oil, and salt, then continue to pulse until the peanuts are more finely chopped and the filling holds together when squeezed. Refrigerate to let it firm up.
To assemble and bake:
- For 50g molds, divide chilled filling into 39-gram balls. Divide skin into 19-gram balls.
- Roll out skin into a circle about 3″ across (maybe a bit smaller). Wrap around filling ball and turn around in your hands until the warmth of your skin smoothes out any cracks or bare spots.
- Press into lightly floured mooncake molds and unmold onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Chill for at least 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake mooncakes for 12 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
- At the end of the cooling period, you may brush with egg wash for extra shine.
- Bake another 10 minutes, then remove to cool a second time. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for about a week– the crust will soften over time, which is the traditional texture (personally I like the crisper texture but that’s just me. You can also freeze them for longer storage!