Kirbie's Cravings

Snow Skin Mooncakes

overhead photo of Snow Skin Mooncakes

I was at Ranch 99 the other day and I saw the display of mooncake boxes. I couldn’t believe it. Was it already that time of year? It feels like only a few months ago, I was attempting to make mooncakes for the first time.

But yes, Mid-Autumn Festival is coming up in a couple of weeks. Since I made mooncakes last year, I decided I’m not going to buy any this year, I’ll just make my own. The snow skin mooncakes are actually really easy to make and don’t require any baking.

Snow skin mooncakes use a cooked glutinous rice flour crust, resulting in a very soft mochi-like texture. I really enjoy making snow skin mooncakes because they are so colorful. They are also easier to make because they are no-bake and healthier because the crust is not as oily as the traditional ones.

photo of three Snow Skin Mooncakes on a plate

Last year I searched high and low for cooked glutinous rice flour but couldn’t find it at any Chinese or Vietnamese market in San Diego. I even checked a few in Orange County and Los Angeles.

A reader, Aimee, commented on my mooncake post from last year telling me she found the flour in Seattle. She sent me a photo and lo and behold, I found it in San Diego! (Thanks again Aimee!) Last year, we went to Ranch 99 and Thuan Phat Market in San Diego. Then I remembered that there is another Vietnamese market in Mira Mesa, Vinh Hung. It’s much smaller, which is why I didn’t think to try it last year. (Actually Mr. K thinks we did try this market last year as well, but I don’t remember doing so. Either way we didn’t find it.) I decided to start there and I immediately found it. Not only did I find the brand that Aimee had emailed me a photo of, but there were two different brands. I know for sure I didn’t see either one at all the markets I went to last year because I read every single label and definitely did not see the photos of snow skin mooncakes with the label “roast glutinous rice flour.”
photo of two brands of glutinous rice flour
Anyhow, I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to make my own. I stocked up even though one bag makes quite a few.

One great thing about the prepackaged flour is that it’s white (likely bleached), whereas the one I made last year was a toasted yellow, making it impossible to make the original crystal white colored mooncakes which is where the name “snow skin” comes from.
close-up photo of white mooncake
Enough babbling. The mooncakes are really easy to make, so don’t be intimidated. You mix a few ingredients together to form a dough. You do need mooncake molds though. I bought mine from ebay last year, but they are now also available on Amazon*. I bought the plastic ones, rather than the traditional wooden ones. It’s easier to use and comes with many interchangeable faceplates.

step by step photo showing how to stamp the mooncakes with the mold

The traditional fillings: lotus paste, red bean paste, etc, can be found at Ranch 99 in their fridge section of prepared items. They look something like this:
photo of a package of lotus paste
It took a few before I got the hang of making them again. I am going to work on making some multi-color ones and hopefully sharing those in time for mooncake day. I did experiment with a few two-toned ones.
close-up photo showing a multi-color mooncake
Here are some step by step photos:
photo of how the dough looks once it's combinedphoto showing how to roll the doughphoto showing how to shape the cakephoto showing how to mold the cake using the mooncake mold tool

If you can’t find the flour anywhere near you, you can read my post from last year on how to make your own roasted glutinous rice flour.
photo of a white, pink, and green mooncakes on a plate

SPECIAL TOOLS:

Mooncake molds*

*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

Snow Skin Mooncakes

Servings: 9 (100 g) mooncakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Snow skin mooncakes use a cooked glutinous rice flour crust, resulting in a very soft mochi-like texture. With the right ingredients and tools (see notes for more details), mooncakes are actually really easy to make and don't require any baking, although the cakes need several hours to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Ingredients

  • 100 g roasted glutinous rice flour (see note)
  • 90 g icing sugar
  • 30 g shortening
  • approx 50g cold water
  • filling of your choice (see note)
  • food coloring

Instructions

  • Sift the flour and icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Gently rub the shortening into the flour mixture, combining until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. If using food coloring, add drops into the cold water. Mix in the cold water about 1 tsbp at a time and knead dough until soft dough forms. You may need slightly less water or slightly more so don't pour it all in at once. It's best to knead the dough with your hands so that it comes together. The dough should be soft and malleable. Make sure you work with the dough right away because it gets hard and dry if it sits out.
  • Divide dough, depending on size of mooncake molds. The ratio should be 1 part dough, 2 parts filling. So for a 100g mooncake, you would weigh out 30 grams of dough and 70 grams of filling.
  • Flatten the ball of snow skin and roll out until you get a thin circle. Place the ball of filling in the center of the dough and seal the filling with the snowskin dough. If there are any holes in your dough, make sure to smooth them out. Put the seam-side part of the ball into the mold and pack it in gently (the folded bunched up section will get flattened and shaped by the face plate). Flip it over onto flat surface. Press down on the lever hard so that the mooncake shape is formed and the face plate makes imprint. Then squeeze to release and mooncake. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill for 6 hours before serving. Keep uneaten ones in the fridge.

Notes

  • Look for glutinous rice flour at Chinese or Vietnamese markets. I found mine at Vinh Hung in Mira Mesa, CA.
  • I bought premade red bean and lotus pastes for my mooncake filling. You will need quite a lot of filling so plan for about 70 grams per 100 gram mooncake.
  • I use these mooncake molds*.
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

 

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80 comments on “Snow Skin Mooncakes”

  1. My dough came out to be in between mashed potato and play-dough texture. Is that right? I don’t trust myself

    • It should be more like play dough. You should be able to roll it out. It sounds like you have too much water. You shouldn’t add the whole water amount, but instead should just add 1 tbsp at a time until it comes together. I don’t have an exact amount because I’ve found that each time i make it, it varies a little. Sometimes I need a bit more sometimes a bit less, which is why I wrote in the instructions to do 1 tbsp at a time. Try adding some more flour to the batch you have right now until it’s play dough like

  2. Do you think the shortening could be substituted with unsalted butter/margarine?

  3. Hey there! How many pieces does this recipe make roughly?

  4. Hi there!
    I tried your recipe but without fried glutinous flour (kou fen) since I can’ find it in my country.

    I tried to fry raw glutinous rice flour to make koufen for at least 10 minute until the color gone yellow (or dark cream)

    But here’s the problem:
    After I add water, the dough become very lumpy and very sticky (more like texture of glue), even after I kneaded it about 10 minutes.
    Where did I go wrong?
    Did I add to much water?
    Or did I make the wrong kou fen?

    • it sounds like you added too much water. make sure you only add a little at a time and you may not need the full amount.

  5. I don’t have a weight. How many tablespoons is 50 grams of water?

    • i dont know off hand. you can try google search, usually there are cooking websites that provide conversions for common ingredients.

  6. I want to try to make this.  Can coconut oil or something else be used instead of shortening?  
    Thanks!

  7. Of the two brands of cooked glutinous flour you bought, which one do you think is best? Or do both work just fine?

  8. The texture of the snowskin comes out to be a bit powdery…i guess it is the sugar ,i expected a smooth skin like “Japanese mochi”….is that the right texture?

    • yes, the texture is more soft and a little powdery. it’s not the same as japanese mochi texture which is steamed, though it sort of looks similar.

  9. I had so much fun making these for the Autumn Moon Festival, and they turned out beautifully! Thank you for a spectacular recipe!

  10. Do i need to fry the flour? Can it be done without frying? How about the dusting part? Do i use nornal flour or fried glutinous flour also?

    • if you use the fried/roasted glutinous rice flour pictured in the post, then it is already fried so you dont need to fry it. if you use regular glutinous rice flour that hastn been fried, then yes, you have to and you should refer to the post I linked to for frying it. There is no dusting.

  11. I am so happy to have found your recipe again this year.  I will be making these gluten free moon cakes, for a second time, for the Autumn Moon Festival at the request of my two Chinese adopted daughters. We are gluten free and I used to purchase moon cakes at a NYC bakery in China Town. These were so delicious last year and simply gorgeous!

  12. Do I have to chill them? What quality will they be if I don’t chill them?

  13. Hi Kirbie,
    I also did every thing as the recipe said with the exception of 70 grams of icing sugar, but it turned out with a rather sandy or grainy taste as if the flour was not well cooked. But i did use the store bought cooked glutinous rice flour. Might you know what happened to my mooncake? I was a bit disappointed with my outcome tho. Do i need to wait one more day or…..?
    Thank you very much!

    • Did you leave out the icing sugar or what did you do instead? It makes a difference in the taste and texture of the mooncake. The cooked glutinous rice flour on its own does taste grainy but when its mixed with the shortening and powdered sugar it makes it soft and taste better.

  14. Hi!
    I would like to ask what is the outcoming texture of the mooncake dough, is it elastic or easy to crumble? And how long do you need to knead before you get that texture?

    • The dough should be soft and pliable. It’s not that elastic but you should be able to roll it out and shape it and it should not be crumbly. It should not need a lot of kneading time– maybe just a minute or less. If your dough is crumbly, you will need to add a little more water.

  15. I also used 40 grams of sugar as it was too sweet for me.

    • the sugar definitely affects the taste of the dough. I think because you reduced the sugar you are tasting the cooked flour more. even though the flour is cooked it’s still not pleasant to eat without it being sweetened first. Also since you reduced the sugar, it may also change the consistency of the dough.

  16. Hi Kirbie, thank you for this wonderful recipe. I love your blog and have been reading for quite some time. I’m sorry if this seems like a dumb question, but with this cooked glutinous flour, you do not have to steam the dough to cook it at all? The dough will be ready to eat once the steps in your recipe are followed? I was a bit confused after watching some Youtube videos and seeing that the cooked glutinous flour was steamed first. Thank you!

  17. Hi Kirbie, if I make a few batches to be given away as gifts, how do I store them? The last round I packed them in sealed bags n the dough dry out. Pls help!

  18. Hi there, 

    Would this work with ice cream filling? Have you tried it with ice cream inside. I use a similar recipe to make my mooncakes but by the time the skin defrosts and softens the icecream is all melted 🙁

  19. Hi Kirbie. What is the shelf life of these?
    Can they be put at room temperature?

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