Contributed by Shirley
According to Shirley, Moon Cakes are eaten on Chinese New Years because the Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar (and the little treats look like the moon). They are also eaten as part of an autumn, harvest type celebration which falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.
There are many variations of this recipe. This one is simple for the kids to help with and is desert-like. It reminds me of a cookie recipe my husband's family makes (they're German though... Go figure!)
The real moon cakes are far fancier and these will be, often with impressions of chinese letters on them, but I think the fact that the kids can help makes up for the less professional final product *grin*.
Here's what real moon cakes look like (thanks again to Shirley for sending us these photos)
Er, yours likely will look more like:
Another viewer wrote:
"Moon cakes are also eaten at the Moon Festival which falls in September. I lived in mainland China for two years and enjoyed the many varieties of moon cakes (not just filled with red bean paste - some had hard-boiled eggs in them, some a mixture of fruit and nuts, some lotus paste, etc.)." Mim
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup strawberry (or your favorite) jam (traditionally red bean paste is used so if you want a more authentic version, you can use a can of red bean paste instead of the jam).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the butter, sugar and 1 egg yolk and stir.
Mix in the flour.
Form the dough into one large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate dough for half an hour.
Unwrap the chilled dough and form small balls in the palms of your hand.
Make a hole with your thumb in the center of each mooncake and fill with about half a teaspoon of jam.
Brush each cake with the other beaten egg yolk and place on a cookie sheet. (We didn't have a brush to do this, so skipped the brushing step)
Bake for about 20 minutes or just until the outside edges are slightly brown.