This fall-tastic pecan pie filling is encased in a fudgy mooncake skin made with pumpkin, almond flour and cocoa powder.
Here’s another delicious mooncake recipe I’ve developed in my Healthier Mooncakes Experiment post. Made with pumpkin and pecans, this particular recipe is a perfect little treat for the fall season and best of all, it’s gluten-free, vegan, paleo as well as low carb!
The pumpkin in this recipe is very subtle because of the cocoa powder, and can be substituted with mashed sweet potatoes.
Ingredients Used to Make This Chocolate Paleo Mooncakes
**I’ve linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Almond flour – I used blanched almond flour. But you can also make your own by blending raw or blanched, slivered almonds in the food processor and sifting them through a sieve.
- Coconut flour – Coconut flour does not substitute well, and I can’t recommend swapping coconut flour with other ingredients unless you absolutely had to (2 Tbsp coconut flour = ½ cup almond flour). Unfortunately, you probably won’t get the same texture or mouthfeel as the original recipe.
- Pumpkin puree – I used canned pumpkin puree, which you can find in the baking aisle. There are so many great benefits to eating pumpkin. It’s particularly high in carotenoids and antioxidants such as vitamin C, which helps counteract aging as well as boosting your body’s immunity. It’s also a good source of vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium and fiber—which is what makes us feel full longer and helps control blood sugar.
- Salt – Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Sugar – You can use any granulated sugar of your choice. I recommend using coconut, date and maple sugars which are less processed and higher in vitamins and minerals. For the lower carb, lower calorie option, you can use a sugar-free substitute such as monk fruit sweetener or, stevia powder (but you’ll have to convert the amount of stevia according to package directions).
- Coconut Oil – You can use regular coconut oil, but I like to use refined coconut oil, like this one, because there’s less coconut flavor/scent. But for this recipe, you can also try using olive oil, avocado oil, or regular canola oil. You can also use plant-based, dairy-free butter or regular butter instead.
For the Filling You’ll Need
- Chopped pecans – or any other nuts of choice is fine
- Maple syrup – to sweeten the pecans. You can also use agave syrup or honey
- Coconut flour – added to bind the pecans together
Recipes that Also Use Pumpkin
The main highlight of mooncakes is their beautiful engraved patterns and shapes. Mooncake molds are readily available at different Chinese grocery stores. You can also find it online, especially on amazon. They are of premium quality and quite affordable. I got the 50g mooncake molds here
How to Make
How to Make Chocolate Paleo Mooncakes
Mix dough ingredients in a clean bowl. For best results, use hands to knead the dough until the dough comes together).
Divide the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces and roll into a ball (about 20-30 grams of dough each).
Prepare the filling- mix chopped pecans, maple syrup and coconut flour together and mold them into 20-30g balls (about the size of a Tablespoon)
Flatten the dough into a thin disk using the palms of your hands, place up to 30g of filling in the middle.
Cover the filling with the dough and gently squeeze the dough into a ball. The ball really does not have to be perfect or smooth, because you’ll be using the mooncake mold to press these rough edges into shape anyways.
Use a well-greased mooncake mold to press the dough into shape. A non-stick cooking spray works well to ensure that the mold is properly greased.
Bake in a 350F pre-heated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the mooncakes appear dry. The bottom of the cakes should be lightly browned.
More Mooncake Recipes
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
There are so many types of fillings used in traditional mooncakes. Sweet Bean Paste, Lotus Paste, Jujube Paste and Nuts/seeds are just a couple of examples. For a different kind of filling you can also try these ideas below:
- Purple sweet potato – mashed, lightly sweetened and rolled into a ball
- Chopped Nut filling – can be peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, you name it!
- Lotus paste – classic! You can buy these in the refridgerated section in a Asian grocery store, or buy them online (like Amazon, here)
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here
- Koshi-an (sweetened red bean paste) – on Amazon, here
- Matcha paste : 1/2 cup Shiro-on mixed with 1/2 tsp matcha powder; or Matcha Chickpea Filling (recipe here)
- Coffee paste : 1/2 cup Shiro-a mixed with 2 tsp coffee extract (click on the link to see my 2 ingredient coffee bean paste recipe here)
- Cheesecake – it’s just how it sounds like 🙂 Use a mini circular cookie cutter to cut a small circle of cheesecake and use it to fill these mooncakes.
- Nutella paste: 1/2 cup Shiro-on mixed with 1 Tbsp Nutella (or Nutiva)
- Cookie dough: like my healthy chickpea cookie dough made in the food processor (recipe here)
You can also play around with different Crust variations, too.
- Chai or Cinnamon mooncakes – Omit cocoa powder and try adding a tsp of Cardamom Powder or Chai Tea Powder to the batter with the other dry ingredients.
- Coffee or mocha? Omit cocoa powder and add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder.
How to Store
- You can store these cakes covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 4 months.
- I found that these mooncakes taste WAY better the day after they are made. I don’t know how to explain it other than that these mooncake crusts have a better flavor and develop a more fudgier/tender texture when they have a chance to rest in the fridge overnight. So for the best flavor and texture, I recommend that you store these mooncakes inside an airtight container and let them cool in the fridge for at least 8 hours before eating.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love
More Vegan, Gluten-Free Mooncake Recipes Coming Up:
Go to my Healthier Mooncake Experiment post to see more ideas!
Chocolate Paleo Mooncakes (Made with Pumpkin and Pecan FIlling)
- 3/4 cup Pecans, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2-3 tsp Coconut Flour more if needed to hold together the filling
- Mix dough ingredients in a clean bowl. For best results, use hands to knead the dough until the dough comes together)
- Divide the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces and roll into a ball (about 20-30 grams of dough each)
- Prepare the filling- mix chopped pecans, maple syrup and coconut flour together and mold them into 20-30g balls (about the size of a Tablespoon) — almost like how you'd pack a snowball. You may need more coconut flour depending on how fine you've chopped the nuts. Set aside.
- Flatten the pumpkin-cocoa dough into a thin disk using the palms of your hands, place up to 30g of filling in the middle.
- Cover the filling with the dough and gently squeeze the dough into a ball**
- Use a well-greased mooncake mold to press the dough into shape. A non-stick cooking spray works well to ensure that the mold is properly greased.
- Bake in a 350F pre-heated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the mooncakes appear dry.
- For best flavor and texture, let the mooncakes cool in the fridge overnight (or at least 8 hours) sealed inside an airtight container. This extra step ensures that the mooncake crust to soften and become more chewy, rather than tough.