Mooncake Brownie Bites

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Another year means another batch of homemade mooncakes. This time, these seasonal confections come filled with a not-so-traditional chocolate brownie filling and a hint of lychee flavor. To top things off, they’re complete with a mini moon center that’s sure to surprise!Although I love the look and idea of mooncakes, I find the red bean or lotus seed paste hidden inside them rather cloying and dense. Along with the salted duck egg yolk center (which is supposed to represent the moon), it’s not my favorite Chinese snack.The American half of me thought it would be a good idea to swap out brownie crumbs for red bean paste and dried apricots for salted egg yolks this year. The results look so much like the original it’s mind-blowing. And the taste? Two thumbs up for my Asian-American palette.These brownies are made with dark chocolate since it’s my favorite (and because of the health benefits, of course!). I found this delightful lychee flavored dark chocolate that I thought would add a nice Asian touch to this otherwise straight-forward brownie recipe. The chocolate is actually speckled with lychee bits–fancy, right!?mooncake-brownie-bites-2The moon surprise inside these cakes is made up of dried apricots, whirled in a food processor with a bit of water until they become a shapeable paste. You can make them super small to fit inside mini mooncakes like I have here or shape the balls larger and true to the size of a salted egg yolk if you are making regular sized mooncakes.Not only are the faux-yolks inside the cakes tasty, they also cut beautifully. Since I use lychee dark chocolate in the brownies, I like serve these along with some Lychee Black Tea to echo those exotic fruit flavors. Enjoy!

Mooncake Brownie Bites

Makes 24 brownie bites. 

{Dark Chocolate Lychee Brownies}

10 1/2 ounces of chocolate (I used 3 bars of Lindt’s Lychee Dark Chocolate)

1/3 cup unsalted butter

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

1 container store-bought chocolate frosting

{Mini Moon “Yolks”}

1/4 cup dried apricots

1-2 tsp water

{Mooncake Skin Dough-one full recipe}

bench flour

{Egg Wash}

1 egg

1 tsp water


mixing bowls

8 x 8 inch baking pan, greased

double boiler

food processor fitted with a steel blade

1 Tbsp measure

1/2 tsp measure

mooncake mold

pastry brush

large baking sheet fitted with parchment

cooling rack


1. Make the Brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate with the butter gently on top of a double boiler. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together until slightly frothy. When the chocolate has melted, mix it in well with the butter, then set aside to cool a bit. Mix the melted chocolate in with the egg mixture, then add the flour until everything is just incorporated. Transfer this batter to a 8″ x 8″ baking pan, then bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

2. Make Brownie Balls. After cooling, cut any hard crust off of the brownies. Process the brownies into crumbs in a food processor, then add a 2-3 Tbsp of chocolate frosting in with the crumbs and continue to process until the crumbs become a mass of brownie dough. You may need to use more or less frosting depending on how moist your brownies are. Using a 1 Tbsp measure, shape this paste into 1 Tbsp balls. Set aside.

3. Make the Mini Moon “Yolks.” In a food processor process the apricots with 1-2 tsp of water. Scrape the sides of the processor bowl down occasionally. Continue to process until the apricot pieces become a paste. Using a 1/2 tsp measure, shape this paste into 1/2 tsp balls. Set aside.

4. Make a Dumpling. Flatten a brownie dough ball into a 2″ disk. Place a mini moon yolk inside, then fold the edges of the brownie dough in to envelop it. On a large work surface lightly dusted with bench flour, cut the skin dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rough 3 1/2″ circle. If you need to, coat your rolling pin in flour. Wrap the yolk-stuffed brownie ball in the circle, then pinch to seal and enclose the brownie filling.

5. Shape the Dumpling into a Mooncake. Prep the wooden mold by putting a generous amount of flour in the cavity. Use a pastry brush to brush the flour into all the nooks and crannies of the decorative mold. Now take the dumpling and generously flour it on all sides. Roll it into a cylinder-like shape, with the width less than 1 1/2″. Push the dough round into the cavity and press it in firmly with the palm of your hand.
6. Release the Mooncake. Hold one end of the wooden mold while smacking the other end against a hard, durable surface edge (or rolling pin) over the floured work surface. As the edges of mooncake start to release from the mold, lightly ease it out with your fingers, then place it on a baking sheet fitted with parchment. Gently dust it off with the pastry brush to reveal it’s decorative design. Set the oven to 350 degrees F. Repeat this process to make a total of 24 mini moon cakes.
7. Finish & Bake the Mooncakes. Place the moon cakes on the baking sheet at least 1/2″ apart. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Brush the mooncakes lightly, on all sides, with egg wash, then place them back in the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cakes are a rich mahogany brown on all sides. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once they have cooled, store these cakes in an airtight container in the fridge. 

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Bonnie Eng

Thank you Anna! I hope you do get to make these! I wanted to use larger molds, but couldn’t get them in time. There are so many pretty designs! 😉

miss mochi

I love the non-traditional fillings! The apricot center is so cool! I’ve never cared for the mooncakes I’ve tried (too sweet, too dry) but these look good enough I might have to give them a go.

Bonnie Eng

They are really good, Miss Mochi! Look like the real thing but taste like a brownie…yay! 🙂

Bonnie Eng

I wish we lived next door to each other, Georgia–I would certainly make some mooncakes for you! The chocolate is really good, I was surprised how well a fruit as light as lychee goes with dark chocolate. 😉

Lan | MoreStomach

goodness, this is so creative, i love love love love it. i personally can’t handle more than a bite of traditional mooncakes but i would totally devour this concoction.

Bonnie Eng

I’m totally with you about the only one bite thing, Lan! I was experimenting with darker photography in this post and thought of you when I was playing with the light. 🙂

Cindy C.

Oh how fun, definitely a refreshing update of the traditional moon cake. Thanks for sharing.

Emiko C. Doi

This is an excellent alternative and healthier!! I love this recipe!
This original and unique recipe will pair beautifully with Osmanthus or Magnolia teas.


This was what I have been searching for. I am a sugar free/high protein baker and have been trying other non tradiional fillings and skins th at are sugar free. Have you tied to flavor the lotus paste? If so, how does that work? Can the lotus paste be flavored?