I’m not a fan of single-use items, which is why I’ve come up with multiple ways to use our mooncake molds. This year, I thought, why not make mooncake cookies? I tested several batches to get this easy one-bowl recipe just right! The cookies are crispy and melt in your mouth at the same time. The best part—these mooncake cookies are not too sweet!
Why I love these mixing bowls: The bowls are metal, the bottom is non-slip, and the splatter guard lid comes with different inserts for grating. There’s even a handle!
This set is under $10 USD for multiple shapes and sizes. I’ve used them for all of my Mid-Autumn festival recipes and they have held up really well.
Reduce waste by baking on a silicone baking mat, aka silpat mat. I’ve had this Amazon brand baking mat for a decade and it still costs under $10 USD.
- mooncake molds
- parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- baking pan
- mixer or whisk
- ½ cup salted butter or 1 stick, room temperature
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or rice flour
- ½ teaspoon flavor extract e.g. vanilla, almond
- 1 egg yolk optional
- ¼ cup granulated sugar for rolling
Making the Cookie Dough
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter, powdered sugar, flour, cornstarch, extract and egg yolk. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. The cookie dough will look crumbly.
- Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes to make the dough easier to work with. If the dough is too hard, let it soften a little. You want to make sure the dough is still cold but pliable.
How to Stamp the Mooncake Cookies
- Prepare your baking sheet. Put your baking mat or parchment paper on our baking sheet.
- Make cookie dough balls. You want your cookies to be about 1/3" thick. Thicker cookies will spread and distort the design. Experiment with the amount of dough that works with your molds or stamps.
- Roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar. The sugar prevents the dough from sticking to the mooncake mold. Shake off excess sugar to ensure a crisp design after baking.
- On your prepared baking sheet, press the dough balls using the mooncake mold as you would with mooncake dough. Carefully release the mold. The cookie should stay on the baking mat or parchment paper.
- Chill the stamped cookies in the refrigerator for at least 15. This will help to preserve the details of the design and prevent the cookie from spreading during baking.
- Preheat the oven to 350 while cookies are chilling in the fridge.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be just golden on the edges. Over-baked cookies may taste a little bitter.
Mooncake Cookie Recipe Notes
My number one tip for sucessful mooncake cookies is to NOT OVERMIX.
Powdered sugar is a must. This adds only a mild sweetness that balances out the additional sugar the dough is rolled in. Trust me, it won’t be too sweet.
You can swap out the vanilla extract for any flavor that you like! The base cookie dough is a simple shortbread so you can have as much fun as you want with the flavors.
For a crips stamp, make sure the dough is a little cold but not hard. Also, don’t press down too hard or the dough will stick to the stamp.
Alternate Mooncake Cookie Stamping Method
For the first trial, I used the mold as a cookie cutter and the mold insert as a stamp. While this worked, this method was hard for my 7-year-old daughter to do without my help. The dough would begin to stick to the mold once it warmed up to room temperature.
I had to think of a way to keep the dough from sticking. Rolling the dough into a ball, then rolling the dough ball in regular granulated sugar worked out really well and was simple enough for my daughter. It also added more sweetness to the cookie, which was much needed!
Test 1: Three ingredient recipe
For the very first batch of cookies, I used the most basic short bread recipe using only butter, powdered sugar, and flour. The goal was to find the easiest recipe that did not require any special ingredients. The dough was dense and hard to stamp. The baked cookies didn’t look very pretty and tasted too bland.
Test 2: Regular sugar
Trying to simplify the recipe, I substituted regular granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. I wanted a recipe using ingredients that most poeple normally keep in their pantry and fridge. This recipe ended spreading too much. My theory is that granulated sugar needs to be mixed longer to incorporate with the butter. This increases the amount of air in the dough which caused the cookie to puff up during baking. A higher sugar content also causes a cookie to spread more.
Test 3: Adding vanilla and egg yolk
I added vanilla extract and an egg yolk to my next batch more flavor. It worked! Plus, the egg helps to hold the dough together better.
Test 4: Cornstarch
Many shortbread recipes add a little cornstarch or rice flour. This created the perfect a melt in your mouth cookies! I did reduce the amount of cornstarch so that the final recipe resulted in cookies that were not too delicate.
Test 5: Salted Butter
Lastly, I wanted to substitute salt and unsalted butter with a stick of salted butter. It’s not always as simple as it seems and we are always taught to only bake with unsaltesd butter. For this recipe, using a stick of salted butter actually worked! When cooking with younger kids, it’s sometimes easier to have less ingredients.
Test 6: One bowl method
Most baking recipes that use butter start by creaming the sugar and butter. This helps to disolve the sugar so that it incorporates evenly in the batter. My first batches were not holding the stamp design very well. I researched what might be causing this and one theory was over mixing. I also wanted to create a recipe with fewer steps that is easier for young children. I dumped all the ingredients into one bowl and mixed until just combined. This resulted in the best of all the tests!
Test 7: Eggwash
I applied an eggwash in the hopes that it would give the cookie the same golden brown coloring as mooncakes. While the eggwash added sheen and color, it caused the design to become less defined. In the end, I found the undecorated cookies were just right!
We made several batches of cookies this past weekend to develope the perfect recipe for stamped mooncake cookies. Some of them didn’t look too great, but according to the kids, they all tasted delicious! The most important part is that the cookies don’t need to be perfect. Making mooncake cookies together will be perfect in their memories.