Malaysia is such an amazing country when it comes to celebrating festivals. We have just celebrated Hari Raya Haji on 24 September and we are preparing to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 27 September. The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie 中秋节 ) falls on the 15th of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar and there’s still a little time left to bake some last minute homemade baked bamboo charcoal mooncakes.
These mooncakes are basically similar to the traditional baked mooncakes. Only difference is, bamboo charcoal powder is added when making the mooncake skin. As it turns out, in terms of look, well, it’s ‘awfully’ pretty. In terms of taste, it does impart a mild sweetness to the mooncake skin.
Bamboo charcoal powder is made with charcoal of the bamboos. It is one of the popular flavours found in bread and pastry. It’s believed to have health benefits, with the ability to reduce acidity, hence to detox one’s body. This precious black bamboo charcoal powder can be used on almost everything, including adding into coffee and tea! The black colour can really intrigue anyone who is just obsessed with black food in general, another example is Squid Ink.
Baked Bamboo Charcoal Mooncakes 竹炭烘月饼
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- 175 gram golden syrup
- 55 gram peanut oil
- 1 tsp alkaline water, or Lye water
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- 240 gram all-purpose flour
- 7 gram bamboo charcoal powder
- 1200 gram lotus seed paste, homemade or store bought
- 40 gram melon seeds, toasted
- 10 Salted egg yolks, baked
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ tbsp water, cold
- 1 mooncake mould, 180g
- First, have ready ingredients for the mooncake skin.
- Then, prepare ingredients for the mooncake fillings
- Separate and retain salted egg yolks from salted eggs. Lightly washed, pat dry and baked in preheated 175 degree C oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool before use.
- In the same oven, lightly toast melon seeds and set aside to cool.
- To prepare the mooncake skin, first pour golden syrup followed by peanut oil in a mixing bowl.
- Then add alkaline water, baking soda, all-purpose flour followed by bamboo charcoal powder.
- Stir using a spatula till a soft and smooth dough is formed.
- Cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap. Then set aside for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Meantime, prepare the lotus seed paste fillings. Mix lotus seed paste with the lightly toasted melon seeds till well combined.
- Then roll into a long log. Using a sharp knife, cut the lotus paste filling into 10 equal pieces.
- Weigh each piece of lotus paste to ensure they are of the same weight and roll each lotus paste into a ball. (The weight for my lotus paste each is 120g as I am wrapping one egg yolk about 15g in it).
- Flatten the lotus seed paste ball and place a baked egg yolk in the middle.
- Wrap the egg yolk in the flattened lotus seed paste and roll to form a ball. Repeat for the rest of the lotus seed paste balls. You should get 10 dough balls, each about 135g. Set aside until needed.
- After 30 minutes, weigh and divide the rested charcoal skin dough into 10 equal pieces. (Each dough is about 45g).
- And we're ready to assemble the mooncakes!
- Flatten slightly the dough skin and wrap it around the lotus seed paste filling by slowly pushing the dough skin until totally cover the entire lotus paste filling.
- Roll to form a ball.
- Lightly dust the wrapped dough and place it into the floured mooncake mould. Using your fingertips, lightly press the dough to imprint the shape of the mould.
- Gently knock a few times onto a thick tablecloth to dislodge the moulded mooncake. Repeat the same for the other wrapped doughs.
- Place the mooncakes equally spaced on a baking tray.
- Baked in a preheated 200 degree C oven for 10 minutes.
- Then remove and leave to cool on wire rack for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will prevent the surface of the mooncakes to crack due to high baking temperature.
- Then lightly brush the top with very dilute egg wash.
- Return the egg washed mooncakes to the oven and continue to bake using the same temperature for another 10 minutes. Check for doneness after 8 minutes to prevent over baked.
- Let the mooncakes cool completely before storing them in air-tight container and let them rest for at least 2 days before serving in order for the mooncake skin to soften as well as for the flavour to develop. And we're done!
- Mooncakes are enjoyed in small wedges accompanied by freshly brewed Chinese tea so cut into small wedges before serving. Enjoy!