31 October 2011

A Final Treat

October has been a month of so much cooking inspiration. There are too many wonderful examples to name here, so I won't even try. I was, however, so inspired by the perfect melonpan posted yesterday at Smooch Panda's Sweet Creations, that I felt compelled to revisit this tasty, Japanese-style, cookie-covered bread. Jun posted a follow-up today, which features an adorably festive jack-o-lantern version. Given that today is Halloween, it's not much of a surprise that I also had pumpkins on the brain when contemplating my own melonpan project.

I thought it would be cute to model melonpan as my favorite pumpkin, kabocha, with its orange interior and green shell. Mind you, this version isn't remotely authentic; true melonpan (besides not being vegan) is named for its melon-like appearance, and is not actually flavored like melon. My kabocha-pan doesn't taste very much like kabocha, but the roll is actually made with pumpkin, which gives the interior its orange hue. The cookie topping is made with a matcha-tinted and -flavored dough. I also filled a few of the buns with shiro an (sweet white bean paste), to allude to a pumpkin seed center...or maybe just an excuse to use a filling. It occurred to me afterward that mashed, sweetened kabocha would be a better fit for the pumpkin theme. In any case, the kabocha-pan turned out well. Soft, fluffy bread with a sweet, crunchy cookie shell is a sweet way to celebrate Halloween or an autumn day.
Kabocha-pan (printer-friendly version)
Yields 12 rolls
Nut- and soy-free options (see individual recipes)

Bread: 1 batch of Sweet Potato Roll dough, substituting mashed kabocha (or other pumpkin) for sweet potato
Cookie topping: 1/2 batch of Matcha Coin dough (recipe follows)
Filling (optional): 1 c shiro an or mashed, cooked, sweetened kabocha

For the bread:
Prepare one batch of Sweet Potato Rolls, substituting kabocha or other pumpkin for the sweet potato. While it rises, prepare the dough for the cookie topping.

For the cookie topping:
Prepare one batch of Matcha Coin dough and chill it for 30 minutes. You'll need only half of a batch, so either bake the remaining dough as cookies or save it for later. Divide the dough to be used for the kabocha-pan into 12 equal pieces. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin disc. Lightly score the discs in a starburst pattern, making several lines that intersect at the center. Lay the discs on a baking sheet in a single layer.

To assemble the kabocha-pan:
After the bread dough rises, gently deflate it and divide it into 12 equal pieces.
*To make unfilled rolls, roll and pinch the dough into balls, and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets, a few inches apart (six to a sheet).
*To make filled rolls, before rolling the dough, roll heaping tablespoon-sized amounts of shiro an or mashed kabocha into balls and set them aside. Flatten the dough pieces into discs, place filling at the center, and pull the dough around the filling. Pinch the dough to seal it around the filling, and place the balls, seam side down, on the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Lay one prepared cookie disc over one bread dough ball, gently smoothing down any overlapping areas of cookie dough. It's fine if the cookie layer is bumpy and doesn't cover the bread completely. Repeat for the remaining rolls. Allow the dough to rest for 15 to 20 minutes as you preheat the oven to 350°F/180C.

Bake the bread for 18 to 20 minutes. The cookie topping should be firm and the bottoms of the rolls should be golden-brown. Carefully remove the rolls to a wire rack to cool.

Matcha Coins (printer-friendly version)
Yields approximately 3 ½ dozen cookies
Nut-free and soy-free options

2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 T matcha
½ c vegan margarine (soy-free, if desired), softened at room temperature
½ c evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
¼ c turbinado (raw) sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 T cornstarch
2 T water
2-3 T nondairy milk (rice, hemp, oat, or coconut for nut- and soy-free versions)

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whip together the margarine and sugars until the mixture is well-combined and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and cornstarch mixture and stir until they are fully incorporated. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha. Stir just enough to combine the dry mixture with the wet, then add 2 T of the nondairy milk, using your hands to gently gather the dough into a ball. It should be a bit crumbly, but hold its shape when pressed together. If the dough seems dry, add another tablespoon of nondairy milk.

Divide the dough in two equal pieces. Roll each half into a 1- to 1 ½-inch diameter log and wrap them, separately, in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone lining. (If the dough was wrapped in parchment, you can simply reuse it as the lining.)

Cut the dough into ½-inch-thick slices and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, 1 ½ to 2 inches apart.* Bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

*Note: If you don’t wish to bake all of the cookies in one sitting, you can refrigerate the dough for a few days,  as a log or pre-sliced. You can also freeze the dough. Just be sure that everything is wrapped well.

It's been a lovely Vegan MoFo, friends. Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous food creations and reading along. I hope you'll stick around, because I plan to stick around here, too.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!


  1. veganinbrighton10/31/11, 2:54 PM

    Those look & sound amazing, I need to get my hands on some matcha soon.

  2. wow. they are ADORABLE!!
    the inside filling is a great idea too. I still have some siroan left so I'd love to try these sometime.

    thank you for mentioning me:)

  3. these have gotta be the cutest things i've ever seen! what a wonderful way to end such an awesome MoFo! you rocked some serious socks this MoFo, Tiffany and i enjoyed all of your lovely and uber inspiring posts. thanks so very much!

  4. These are the coolest ever.. keep blogging!  i am finally getting around to reading allthe october posts!
    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog


Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)