Matcha Butter Cookies
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food

What is sleep? What state am I in? I’m speaking in front of how many people tonight? These are the types of questions I’m asking myself today. I just got back from a quick 36 hour visit to Little Rock! It was such a wonderful time! I had absolutely no expectations for this trip at all. I only assumed that we would be eating lots of rice, which we definitely did. I’m glad Reuben and I attempted to be carb free this month to make up for the amount of carbs consumed in Arkansas. I met some wonderful people from The FeedFeed, USA Rice, Arkansas Rice, and Ralston Family Farm! Plus the other lovely food blogger ladies that were on the trip! It’s always so nice to meet people you only know from the internet in real dang life. Everyone was so sweet. We spent a whole day at the Ralston Family Farm learning about rice production and I got to harvest some rice on the combine! I’ll be sharing a bunch of photos and do a little more story telling next week! All you need to know for now is that I want to move out of the city even more desperately than I did before this trip. I need a minimum of 50 acres of open space ASAP.

Right now, I need to urgently caffeinate myself and practice my public speaking skillz. I’m giving a little presentation tonight at Reuben’s old architecture firm about my journey from architecture to food blogging. Not really sure if I’m really qualified to speak on this subject since I’ve only been fully time food blogging for like 4 months now and I’m not totally sure what I’m doing. BUT! I included 2 childhood photos in my presentation if I totally bomb at least people will be amused by my perfectly spherical head. Fingers crossed that I don’t say anything weird!

I’m in need of an entire tray of these Matcha Butter Cookies STAT. When I first baked them I couldn’t stop eating them and then I was wide awake for half the night. So I confirm that they are effective. These were inspired by those tins of Royal Dansk butter cookies my grandma (and I’m assuming all grandmas??) kept on the coffee table. Every single time we would go over to my grandparents’ house I’d open up the tin and pick out the pretzel shaped ones. The pretzel shaped ones were always my favorite because they had the most edge exposure and were in turn extra crispy. The last time I was at my grandma’s I opened the box, expecting buttery little cookies, and just saw a bunch of large crackers she was keeping in there. SO MUCH DISAPPOINTMENT.

I obviously haven’t been able to shake off that disappointment, so I decided to give making my own danish butter cookies a try! This time I added my beloved Aiya Matcha into the dough for at beautiful green color, subtle grass sweet flavor, and a little caffeine boost. I piped them into hearts because I ,<3 matcha, but you could just pipe them into rings or just form little disc cookies. The hearts are so fun and the ridges get a little extra crispy, which I’m aaaaaall about!

Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How To Make Matcha Butter Cookies

These butter cookies are relatively simple. So when you have such a simple equation of flour, butter, and matcha you want those main ingredients to be excellent!

BUTTER is probably the most important ingredient in these butter cookies. Use a higher quality butter like Kerrygold or something that says it’s European. I read once that European butter has a lower water content so it a lot richer and more flavorful. I also so unsalted butter in this recipe because I like to be able to control the amount of salt in these cookies. I do like butter cookies a little on the salty side.

MATCHA is the second most important ingredient! I only use Aiya Matcha because I love the flavor and the green color stays so beautiful after baking. A lot of other matchas tend to get a little dull or sludge colored after a while. You should only be baking with culinary grade matcha. The flavor of ceremonial grade matcha is too delicate for baking and you’ll just be wasting your money. Save the ceremonial grade stuff for when you’re back home after a work trip and haven’t slept well but need to talk in front of a lot of strangers!

Once you’ve gotten a hold of some quality ingredients you’re only moments away from warm butter cookies. All you do is cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. I like the vanilla in this because it balances out the slight bitterness of matcha. Then slowly add the flour mixed with a bit of matcha powder. Mix until you have a smooth but thick dough. At this point you can pipe the cookies with a pastry bag of form them in rounds with a cookie scoop. I like to pipe them because it gives me Royal Dansk vibes. I fit a pastry bag with a star tip or some type of ribbed pastry tip and then pipe small heart shaped cookies. My cookies are fairly small, about 2”, so they bake in almost no time!

The exterior is crisp but the interior is still soft and tender. They almost melt in your mouth. The matcha is floral and a little bitter but that’s balanced out with the salty butter and sweet vanilla. So cozy and tasty!

Enjoy them with a mug of matcha for extra caffeine or a glass of cold milk for nostalgia sake!

Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Matcha Butter Cookies Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Matcha Butter Cookies

makes 60 small cookies

materials:

1 cup unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups al purpose flour
2 tbsp Aiya Matcha Culinary Grade Matcha

sanding sugar - optional

steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Place softened butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat for another minute.

  3. Combine flour and matcha powder in a bowl. Give it a quick whisk to combine. Reduce the standmixer speed to low and gradually add in the flour. Mix until dough is thick and combined.

  4. Line 2 baking trays with parchment or silicone baking mats.

  5. Fit a piping bag with a star or ribbed tip. Scoop cooking dough into the piping bag and pipe small heart shapes or circles onto the trays. Dust with sanding sugar if you wish.

  6. Bake one tray at a time for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool and enjoy!

Chicken Sausage Steamed Bun
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Hi from Little Rock! Hopefully! This week is so crazy, I can barely keep my days straight! But if I successfully woke up at 3:30am this morning to make my way to the airport I should be in the “Natural State” about to lay down for a much needed nap in my hotel room. Did you know that Arkansas is called the “Natural State”? I didn’t until like 5 minutes ago. I also didn’t know that Arkansas was the #1 producer of rice in the US! I’m here for a few days with The FeedFeed learning all about rice farming! It’s my first business trip and I find it so fitting that my first trip is all about one of my favorite ingredients in the world! RICE!

I’ll be sharing photos from my trip very soon! In the meantime, y’all can get working on these Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns!

I rarely talk about sports… but if it involves hot dogs or sausages, I’m all about sports! More accurately, I’m more into sitting around the TV while sports are on and enjoying a hot dog. Football just started and Reuben has been PUMPED. Go Eagles??! Sundays, if we’re not setting up for a dumpling workshop, are reserved for football and football foods. That means chicken wings, veggie platters, tortilla chips, and wieners! I love me a great pigs in a blanket, but have you ever heard of a chicken in a space suit???! I just loved the name and the chicken sausage steamed bun that came out when I ordered it at Moongate Lounge a few months ago.

Such a revelation! They bring back so much childhood nostalgia of the soft and fluffy Chinese hot dog buns of my bowl cut youth! The addition of chicken apple sausages made them feel much more adult. If you rather use classic hot dogs or want to go your own way with a currywurst or another fancier sausage, you do you!

Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Chinese Steamed Sausage Buns

The beauty of this recipe is that all you really need to do is prep the steamed bun dough! The sausages are just waiting to be wrapped!

To make the dough, you add flour, cornstarch, sugar, and instant yeast into the bowl of your standmixer. While the mixer is kneading, slowly add some warm water and continue to knead for 8 minutes. Take your smooth dough ball and place in a greased bowl to proof for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it has doubled in size. I like to proof my dough in the oven with the door left slightly oven. You just want a warm cozy spot for your dough.

After the dough has doubled, punch it back down and then divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Roll out a portion of dough into a 8” to 9” rope and wrap it around a chicken sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on a lined baking tray. Wrap the rest of your sausages. Cover them with a damp towel and let them proof for a final 30 minutes.

During the final proof, start boiling water for your steamer set up. If you have a bamboo steamer you ideally want a pot that has the same diameter. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer basket, you can steam using a multicooker or rice cooker. Steam the sausage buns for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool and then enjoy with or without sports!

Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Toast Cho Buns!

If you want to go one step further, you can toast your buns for a little extra texture!

Heat a skillet over medium high heat without any oil. Once hot, places buns in the pan and toast for 30 seconds or a little longer until toasty and golden brown. Flip and toast the other side if desired.

I started toasting my steamed buns every once in a while after I messed up a batch of steamed buns. They totally collapsed because I let them proof a little too long… but a little toasting action in a hot pan salvaged them! I love the extra crunch and slight nutty flavor it adds!

Don’t forget to top the buns with a little extra Sriracha and scallions to dress them up a little! Or you can just enjoy them plain with mustard and ketchup. ALWAYS KETCHUP! They are the perfect game time treat or any time meal!

Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Chicken Sausage Steamed Buns

makes 6 large buns

materials:

250g (~1 3/4 cups) AP flour
50g (~1/3cup) cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
6 chicken sausages

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, and instant yeast in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Give it a quick mix to evenly incorporate everything. Begin to stir on medium speed. Slowly pour in 1 cup warm water and continue to knead for 8 minutes. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead for another 5 minutes until you get a smooth ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 1 hour to 1.5 hours until doubled in size.

  2. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Punch down the dough and scoop out the dough on to the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out a portion of dough into a 8”-9” long rope. Wrap the dough around a chicken sausage and place a a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining sausages. Cover the buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow the buns to proof for 30 minutes.

  3. Bring a large pot of water, the same diameter as your bamboo steamer, to a boil. Line the bamboo steamer with perforated parchment or spray with nonstick spray. Place the buns in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Remove the steamers from the pot, remove the lid, and allow to cool.

  4. Enjoy plain or top with scallions and Sriracha. Toast the buns in a hot pan for a little extra texture!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Friday is the Mid-Autumn Festival! The Mid-Autumn festival is probably the second most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, right behind Chinese New Year. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve actually been home to celebrate with my family, but every year we would gather at my grandparents’ house, eat dinner, split some mooncakes, and go stand outside in my grandma’s garden to stare at the moon while eating taro. Despite the name Mid-Autumn Festival, it actually occurs at the beginning of Fall, when the seasons are changing and a new harvest is about to start. It you want to get technical, the Mid-Autumn Festival happens every year on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Lunar Calendar. I had to remind my mom this morning that it’s this Friday lol

My grandma grew up in a farming family in China, which you can definitely tell when you look at her garden. So I could imagine how important this tradition would be to her family and the community she grew up in. Farming families would offer things like mooncakes, fruit, and taro to the Moon to ensure a prosperous and bountiful harvest in the upcoming season. Mooncakes are typically incredibly dense. I think if you ate a whole one on your own you would get sick! You would cut up the mooncake into little wedges and split them amongst your family! I love this sweet little tradition. I also like that I can take little wedges and sample all the different flavors! My favorite flavor by far is white lotus with a salted egg yolk. It’s a classic. Some other favorites are red bean, black sesame, mixed nuts, and the ever elusive mixed nut and ham flavor! I recently tried a winter melon mooncake when I was home a few weeks ago and I was not a fan…

Chinese people almost never make their own mooncakes. Baking is not very common in traditional Chinese households and they rarely ever use their ovens. I don’t think my grandma has ever turned her’s on. Up until this year, I had only ever bought my mooncakes from the store. Then I finally mustered the energy to order some mooncake molds and try my hand at making mooncakes! The first time I made them it was sort of disaster. My filling was too loose and everything got too soft and goopy. NOT GOOD. I learned from my mistakes and pushed through. Thankfully, all my trials afterwards were actually super easy! I’ll go into detail about how I made these Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes below! The filling is not traditional but inspired by the mixed nut variety of mooncakes. Somehow these Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes ended up tasting like the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had! It made me so happy!

Before you panic, there is still plenty of time for you to go out to your local asian market to buy a fancy tin of mooncakes or to make your own!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Special Equipment for Mooncakes

I’m going to be honest with you, there are a few special ingredients and tools that you need to make mooncakes. I know it seems like a lot when this is something you’re only going to make once a year, but I think it’s worth it!

Mooncake Molds - this is the set that I bought, but you can use whatever pattern you like!

*** if you really don’t want to use a mooncake mold you could form them into little pigs like I did!

Golden Syrup

Alkaline Water

you could make your own golden syrup and alkaline water from scratch, but I really didn’t want to mess with the chemistry of these ingredients, so I just ordered everything online and made my life so much easier.

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Cantonese Baked Mooncakes

Once you have all your special tools and ingredients in hand, you’re ready to make mooncakes! I just wanted to note this method is for traditional Cantonese baked mooncakes. There are a few other variety of mooncakes out there, one being more like a mochi and another that has a flakey pastry like crust.

To make the dough of the mooncake, you combine flour, golden syrup, alkaline water, and olive oil in a large bowl. Stir everything together until you have shaggy dough. Then begin kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest and hydrate for at least 45 minutes. This rest period makes the dough much easier to work with.

While the dough is resting make your filling. If your peanuts are not already roasted, roasted them in the oven or in a skillet until toasty and fragrant. Watch the peanuts carefully as they have a tendency to burn easily when you’re not paying attention. Allow the peanuts to completely cool before processing them.

Place the peanuts in a food processor and blend for a few seconds until you have a coarse crumb texture. Add the honey, coconut oil, and salt. If you only have salted peanuts just taste the filling before adding any additional salt. Blend again until you have a fine crumbly texture and the filling sticks together if you apply pressure. It’s important that the mooncake filling is fairly firm so it’s easier to work with.

Now that the filling and dough has been made, it’s time to form the mooncakes! Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll the dough portion into a ball and then flatten the dough with the palm of your hand. Roll out the dough into 3.5”ish circle. Scoop out 1.5 tablespoons of the peanut filling and roll it into a ball, pressing firmly so it stays together. Place the filling in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling. The dough won’t initially cover all of the filling. Just pinch the dough until it completely wraps the filling. Lightly dust the round mooncake in flour and place in a mooncake mold. Apply pressure to your mooncake mold using the plunger to form the mooncake into the desired pattern. Gently release and place mooncake on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Then repeat with the remaining mooncakes. Place the mooncakes so that there is about 1.5” in between them.

Bake mooncakes for 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven and remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Mix together egg wash and brush the mooncakes with egg wash, making sure to brush all edges. Using a bristled pastry brush works best. The silicone brushes take on too much egg wash and messes up the mooncake patterns. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the mooncakes to completely cool. Once cooled, place in an airtight container for 1-2 day to allow the exterior dough to soften. Then they are ready to enjoy!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How to Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival

The idea of making mooncakes at home might seem daunting, but I swear that once you get the hang of the mooncake press it’s actually pretty easy! The filling literally couldn’t be easier if you have access to a food processor. Again, these tastes like the best peanut butter cookies on the plant. The exterior of the mooncakes soften after a few days and the filling stays soft and gooey - almost candy bar like - after baking. My mom gave me the great of idea of using pistachios next year!!!!! It sounds soooooooo good, I might not be able to wait until next year to try making one.

I hope you give making your own mooncakes a try! It’s so satisfying to bake them and share them with your family. No shame in buying the ones out of the fancy tins though. The important thing this weekend is spending time with your loved ones over some good food, splitting a mooncake cake, and admiring the moon.

So do these things for me on Friday night:

  1. Invite your family and/or friends over for dinner. If your family is far away, give them a call!

  2. Cook a feast or order a feast from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

  3. Cut your mooncakes into little wedges and savor them.

  4. Step outside and admire the beauty of the full moon.

  5. Feel hopefully for a great new season!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes

makes 12 small mooncakes

dough materials:

1/2 cup golden syrup
1 tsp alkaline water
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour

honey salted peanut filling:

1 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp salt

egg wash - 1 egg + 2 tbsp water

steps:

  1. Add all the dough materials into a large bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula until you have a shaggy dough. Begin kneading with your hands. Knead for a 2-3 minutes, until you have a smooth and cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 45 minutes.

  2. While the dough is resting, make your filling. Add peanuts to a food processor and blend for a few seconds until you have a course chopped texture. Add honey, coconut oil, and salt. Blend again for 10-15 more. The peanut filling should be able to stick together when pressed together. Set filling aside until ready to form moon cakes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Unwrap the dough and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Use a digital scale if necessary. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3.5” diameter circle. Roll up 1.5 tbsp of peanut into a ball and place in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling. The dough won’t initially cover all of the filling. Just pinch the dough until it completely wraps the filling.

  5. Lightly dust the round mooncake in flour and place in a mooncake mold. Apply pressure to your mooncake mold to form the mooncake into the desired pattern. Gently release and place mooncake on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Repeat steps 3-4 for remaining mooncakes.

  6. Bake mooncakes for 8 minutes and remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Mix together egg wash and brush the mooncakes with egg wash, making sure to brush all edges. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the mooncakes to completely cool. Once cooled, place in an airtight container for 1-2 day to allow the exterior dough to soften.

  7. Enjoy!

the mooncake dough recipe was adapted from this recipe from Two Red Bowls!