Chocolate Almond Mooncakes

Photography by Joe Schmelzer / Recipe Development and Food Styling by Rebecca Firth

These mooncakes are not difficult to make as long as you follow some key instructions. For this particular recipe, it’s imperative that you use Medjool dates, as other dates won’t yield the same firm and delicious texture that the filling requires. It’s equally important to not only chill the dough and filling prior to assembling the cakes, but to also give them ample freezer time just before baking. This last step ensures that the intricate detail on top stays intact throughout the baking process.

We used the 14×4.5 cm KINGSO Round Mooncake 50g DIY Moon Cake Mold Cookie Cutter, with four stamps, available for purchase on Amazon. For a mooncake crash course, check out our interview with our DisplacedHouswife recipe developer, Rebecca Firth. Baking with a different mold than the one listed above? Read up on our tutorial for Baking with Different Molds.  

Chocolate Almond Mooncakes
 
Makes 15
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) vodka
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking soda
  • ⅔ cup (226 grams) honey
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) sunflower seed oil or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1½ cups (182 grams) cake flour*
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate Almond Filling (recipe follows)
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) heavy whipping cream or whole milk
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water, vodka, and baking soda. Add honey and oil, whisking to combine. Sift flours over honey mixture, and stir until a ball starts to form.
  2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place on top of another baking sheet.
  4. Divide dough into 15 balls (each weighing about 1.35 ounces). Cover with a lightly damp, clean towel to keep dough from drying out. Divide Chocolate Almond Filling into 15 balls (each weighing 1 ounce). Roll each dough ball into a 4-inch circle. Place one ball of Chocolate Almond Filling in center of each circle, and cover completely with dough. Pull off any excess dough, and discard it or use it to patch any thin spots. Hold dough ball in your hands for 1 minute to soften, and gently shape into a sphere.
  5. Lightly dust mooncake ball and a mooncake mold with flour, shaking off excess. Place mooncake mold on top of mooncake ball, and firmly press down until you reach some resistance. Always place smoothest side of ball upright to get best design imprint. Tap mooncake mold on counter to gently release mooncake from mold. Set mooncakes on prepared pan. Freeze for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C), and place rack in top third of oven.
  7. Take mooncakes from freezer, and immediately place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water. Lightly brush egg wash over mooncakes. (Don’t let wash get too thick in areas, or you’ll lose detail of mooncake design.) Gently brush off any excess. Bake 12 to 15 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days before serving.
Notes
*We used King Arthur Cake Flour.

If using a larger mold with a 6.5 centimeter diameter:
In Step 6 of recipe, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C), and place rack in top third of oven. Bake for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water. Lightly brush egg wash over mooncakes. (Don’t let wash get too thick in areas, or you’ll lose detail of mooncake design.) Gently brush off any excess. Bake 8 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes.

If you would like to do an additional egg wash for an extra-dark lacquer appearance, do it halfway through the second bake time. After the first egg wash, bake for 4 minutes. Brush with another thin layer of egg wash. Bake for 4 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Almond Filling
 
Makes about 1¾ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (240 grams) water
  • 14 pitted Medjool dates (194 grams)
  • 1½ tablespoons (21 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2 gram) almond extract
  • ¾ cup (85 grams) chopped unsalted almonds, toasted
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) 60% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (21 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) Chinese five-spice powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup (240 grams) water and dates to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until most of liquid has been absorbed by dates, about 15 minutes.
  2. Place dates and any remaining liquid in the work bowl of a food processor. Add butter and extracts; blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. With processor running, add almonds, and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. (Mixture should be thick with only small bits of almond visible. Be sure to scrape down sides of bowl so that everything gets incorporated.)
  4. Add chocolate, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, salt, and five-spice powder; blend until combined. (Mixture will be sticky.) Scrape filling into a bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.

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