Mid-Autumn Festival is right around the corner! With just a few more weeks until October 1st, mooncake season has already begun. I'll be honest though, I've never actually been a fan of mooncakes, at least not the traditional kind. Lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks aren't really my thing. Although I have to say the lava custard kind is pretty good. So, this year I decided to try making my own non-traditional version: a brownie mooncake with a surprise Ferrero Rocher center!
I added a slight American twist by swapping out the lotus paste for brownie and the egg yolk for Ferrero Rocher! Definitely not the most authentic of flavors but these are modern times. Plus, who would ever say no to chocolatey, fudgy brownies with hazelnuts and nutella cream inside? Keep reading to learn more about these Ferrero Rocher Brownie Mooncakes.
What makes mooncakes mooncakes?
There are a few essentials you need to make mooncake dough.
- A mooncake mold! I got mine at my local bake shop but you can definitely find them online. Like these. There are lots of pretty patterns to choose from. The one I used is a circular mini mooncake mold that's about 63g.
- Golden syrup. It's a type of inverted sugar syrup (similar to maple and honey) that helps keep the mooncake skin soft and prevents it from drying out too much. It's deeply golden brown and very sticky. I used Lyle's golden syrup, but you could also make your own, like this recipe from Omnivore's Cookbook. I've read you can also replace the golden syrup with honey but I haven't tried it myself.
- Lye water 枧水. This is an ingredient I've never used before and only found at my local bake shop since we're right in the middle of mooncake season. Lye water is an alkaline water that apparently helps balance out the acidity of the golden syrup and also helps give the mooncake skin its distinctive color. It might not be easy to find and I'm not sure if it can be bought online, so it can be skipped, especially if you are using honey instead of golden syrup.
The recipe I followed to make a traditional mooncake dough using the ingredients above comes from Two Red Bowls.
Brownie & Ferrero Rocher Filling
Why brownies? Well, because I love them. And also, brownies may be rich, but they are way less dense than the typical lotus seed or red bean paste. The texture is also thick and fudgy, making them a good filling replacement.These brownies are from a small batch recipe by Hummingbird High. They are super easy, chocolately and just the right amount of sweet. They have the most beautifully thin crackly crust as well. I was very tempted to just eat them all instead of saving them for the mooncakes.
Why Ferrero Rocher? In Hong Kong, Ferrero Rocher is the #1 candy/chocolate gift to bring to a festive event. In most people's houses there's bound to be a box of the little gold balls somewhere. So, I thought it would be perfect as a mooncake center. Plus, if you reheat it a bit in the oven, the cream inside the Ferrero Rocher will soften up for some extra melty goodness when you cut it open.
This was my first time making mooncakes, so they definitely aren't the most beautiful but they are tasty! So, if you're looking for something different to share with family and friends this year and want to give mooncake-making a shot, give these Ferrero Rocher Brownie Mooncakes a try!
Ferrero Rocher Brownie Mooncakes
- 50-63g Mooncake mold
Traditional mooncake dough:
- 120 g (1 cup) cake flour, or all-purpose flour
- 80 g (¼ cup) golden syrup
- 20 g (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
- 5 g (½ teaspoon) lye water
- 57 g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 57 g (¼ cup) dark chocolate, a chopped bar, chips or discs
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- 50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 53 g (¼ cup) brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 36 g (¼ cup) all-purpose flour
Ferrero Rocher center:
- 12 Ferrero Rocher
- 1 egg
- splash of water
Make the brownies:
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F), and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper with enough overhang that you can easily pull the brownies out of the pan after they're baking.
- Melt the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Remove from heat once everything has melted, about 5 minutes.
- In another bowl, mix the egg, brown and white sugar, salt and vanilla together.
- Pour in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
- Finally, add the flour and stir until just combined. Don't overmix!
- Spread the batter into your prepared loaf pan, smoothing it out into all the corners.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. You want them slightly underbaked because they will go back into the oven again later. The surface of the brownies should be shiny with a crackled top.
- Lift the brownies out of the loaf pan out using the parchment paper and cool completely. If you want to speed up the process, you can pop the brownies in the fridge.
- Brownies can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container after completely cooled.
Make the mooncake dough:
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the golden syrup, lye water and vegetable oil. They won't completely combine but do your best.
- Add your flour and stir until you get a thick dough. Once all the flour has been incorporated, knead the dough for a bit until it comes together in a smooth, but slightly sticky mass.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight.
Prepare the mooncakes:
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F) and prepare a baking tray with parchment or a silpat baking mat.
- Now that the brownies have cooled, cut them into 12 pieces.
- Flatten a brownie square with the palm of your hand and put a Ferrero Rocher in the center.
- Wrap the smooshed brownie around the Ferrero Rocher, rolling it around in your hands until it's completely enveloped. You should end up with a nice round brownie ball. Repeat with the rest of the brownies and Ferrero Rocher.
- Divide your mooncake dough into 12 pieces. Your dough should weigh roughly 216g, so each piece should weigh about 18g.
- Dust a work surface, rolling pin and mooncake mold with flour.
- Using your rolling pin, roll out one piece of your mooncake dough to a rough 3 ½ inch circle.
- Place your brownie ball in the center and wrap the mooncake dough around it. Pinch the edges to seal the brownie inside. It might not completely cover the brownie ball at first but keep pressing and pushing the dough. The mooncake dough is fragile, so be gentle. Roll the mooncake ball around in your hands to form an even shape. Lightly dust with flour. Repeat with the rest of your dough and brownie balls.
- Now, take your flour-dusted mooncake mold and put your mooncake ball inside. Turn it upright onto your baking tray and press the plunger down with medium pressure to impress the pattern into the mooncake skin. Lift the mold up while simultaneously pushing down on the plunger to release the mooncake. Repeat with the rest until you have 12 mooncakes ready to be baked!
Bake the mooncakes:
- Put your mooncakes into your preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes.
- While they're baking, make an egg wash by combining one egg with a splash of water.
- Remove the mooncakes from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. It's important to do this so the mooncake skin can harden slightly before you apply the egg wash.
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of the mooncakes. Be careful not to ruin the pattern on the top.
- Put the mooncakes back into the oven for another 10-12 minutes, or until they're a nice golden brown.
- Let them cool completely. You can serve them the same day or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Waiting a few days is the traditional way because the oil in the mooncake dough will start to release, making a shiny, soft and moist outer skin.
- If you want to reheat the mooncakes and melt the Ferrero Rocher inside, just pop them in the oven at 175°C (350°F) for 5 minutes or in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.