Snowball Cakes (Banh Bao Chi)

This Snowball Cakes recipe makes delicious coconut-coated glutinous cakes filled with grated coconut, roasted peanuts and mashed mung bean. The combination of nutty flavors and sticky texture makes for a tantalizing snack cake that is absolutely addicting. The Snowball Cakes are bite-sized and make perfect sweet treats to enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee, wonderful lunchbox treats or tasty petite cakes to serve at a dessert buffet. Even though the snowballs may look like the real thing, the only place you’ll want to “throw” these is in your mouth! 🙂 Make a batch to enjoy today!

Snowball Cakes / Mochi Cake / Nut-Filled Glutinous Rice Balls / Banh Bao Chi - sweet and nutty filling enrobed in coconut-coated glutinous cake | recipe from runawayrice.com

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Notes on the Snowball Cakes Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The traditional Snowball Cakes / Banh Bao Chi recipe does include mashed mung bean, just peanuts and coconut. I find this filling really dry and heavy so I add mashed mung bean to make it more palatable.

For more delicious coconut-ty taste, use fresh young coconut in the filling. Grate fresh young coconut or buy it already grated and frozen. Sadly, I couldn’t find either when I went shopping for the ingredients.

If you have peanut allergies, substitute with another nut or use a combination of other nuts. This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

For a recipe short-cut, use only sweetened shredded coconut. Add 1/2 cup water (instead of 1/4 cup) to rehydrate the coconut when making the filling. Use the remaining coconut to coat the cakes. Also, if needed, reduce the sugar in the filling since the coconut is already sweetened.

I use Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour in this recipe. If using another brand, such as the Elephant/Erawan brand from Thailand, you may need to adjust the water and flour a bit to get the right dough consistency. The dough should be soft, pliable and tacky. It should not ooze or lose its shape (too moist) or crumble or crack (too dry). The dough is forgiving but adjust using small teaspoon increments.

Make sure the liquid is hot, between 120-140 F, when making the dough. If the liquid cools, simply reheat in the microwave using High power for 20-25 seconds.

After boiling, don’t let the snowballs sit for long. The balls need to be warm so the shredded coconut sticks.

The Snowball Cakes are best enjoyed the day they are made. Refrigerate any remaining Snowball Cakes. To serve again, warm in the microwave using Low power for 20-30 seconds. Freeze the cakes for up to 3 months. Allow frozen cakes to thaw completely and then reheat in the microwave.

Watch the video for instructions.

If you enjoy this Snowball Cakes recipe, you may also like:

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Ingredients

Filling
1/3 cup peeled split mung bean
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup frozen grated coconut, thawed
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, unsalted
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Dough
2 cups Mochiko glutinous/sweet rice flour
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
food coloring: yellow, pink and Pandan paste

Cake Coating
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Directions

Making the Mashed Mung Bean

Transfer the mung bean into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Wash the beans by swirling in the water and then pouring out the rinse water. Repeat this process 2 more times or until the water is mostly clear. Fill the bowl with cold water and let the beans soak for 2 hours.

Wash the beans one more time. Drain using a colander. Transfer the beans into a rice cooker. Add the salt and water. Spread out the beans into an even layer. Close the lid and cook using a basic white rice setting.

Transfer the cooked beans to a medium bowl. Using a paddle spoon, quickly mash the beans while they are still hot. Set aside for now.

Making the Filling

Transfer the thawed grated coconut into a small colander. Rinse the coconut with cold water. Stir to remove any remaining water.

Transfer the roasted peanuts into a small food processor and chop for a few seconds.

In a large non-stick skillet over Medium heat, add the water and sugar. Stir together dissolving the sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, add the grated coconut and combine together. Stirring occasionally, cook until the coconut turns translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped peanuts and combine together. Add the mashed mung bean and combine well. The filling should become a thick paste once all ingredients are fully incorporated.

While the filling is still warm, use a small cookie scoop to transfer small mounds onto a plate. Make a total of 24 mounds. Roll each filling mound between your palms forming a ball. After all filling balls are made, cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Making the Dough

In a measuring cup, add the boiling water and sugar. Stir together until the sugar is dissolved. Divide the liquid evenly among 4 small bowls.  In one bowl, add yellow food coloring. In another bowl, add pink food coloring. In a third bowl, add the Pandan paste. Leave the fourth bowl as-is, with just the clear liquid. Stir the liquid to blend the color in each bowl.

Add the clear liquid into the mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup glutinous/sweet rice flour. Using Low speed, mix together until a soft dough forms. This takes approximately 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the dough from the bowl and shape into a rough ball. Transfer into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Repeat the same steps to make the remaining dough using the yellow, pink and green-colored liquids.

Making the Snowball Cakes

Transfer the first batch, the white dough to a work surface. Shape into a log about 6-inches long. Using a pizza wheel or knife, cut the log into 6 equal pieces. Separate the dough pieces. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Take a section of dough: Using your fingers, flatten the edges, making a circle about 2-inches in diameter. Place a filling ball in the center of the dough circle and wrap the dough around the filling. Pinch the dough together to cover the filling completely. Roll between your palms to form a smooth ball.

Continue with these same steps making balls using the different colored dough. Make 6 balls of each color: white, yellow, pink and green.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Transfer the white and yellow balls into the pot. Stir the balls gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Boil using Medium heat stirring occasionally. In about 5-6 minutes the balls should start floating to the top of the water. After all balls float to the top, rotate gently and continue boiling for 2 more minutes.

Transfer the balls into a large colander. Leave some space around the balls so they don’t stick together. Let cool for 3 minutes.

Put the sweetened shredded coconut into a large plate. Roll the warm balls in the coconut coating them evenly. Transfer each snowball into a mini cupcake liner.

Follow the same above steps to make the remaining pink and green balls.

Enjoy the Snowball Cakes while they’re fresh!

Yields: 24 cakes

Snowball Cakes / Mochi Cake / Nut-Filled Glutinous Rice Balls / Banh Bao Chi - a perfect sweet treat to go with tea! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

 

Snowball Cakes / Mochi Cake / Nut-Filled Glutinous Rice Balls / Banh Bao Chi - a perfect combination of coconut, peanuts and glutinous rice | recipe from runawayrice.com

Snowball Cakes / Mochi Cake / Nut-Filled Glutinous Rice Balls / Banh Bao Chi - beautiful and festive cakes for the holidays! | recipe from runawayrice.com


Snowball Cakes / Vietnamese Mochi / Nut-Filled Mochi Cakes / Banh Bao Chi - festive Snowball Cakes, a tasty holiday treat! | recipe from runawayrice.com
Print

Snowball Cakes (Banh Bao Chi)

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 24 cakes
Calories: 125 kcal
Author: Trang
This Snowball Cakes recipe makes delicious coconut-coated glutinous cakes filled with grated coconut, roasted peanuts and mashed mung bean. The combination of nutty flavors and sticky texture makes for a tantalizing snack cake that is absolutely addicting. The Snowball Cakes are bite-sized and make perfect sweet treats to enjoy with a cup of hot tea or coffee, wonderful lunchbox treats or tasty petite cakes to serve at a dessert buffet. Even though the snowballs may look like the real thing, the only place you'll want to "throw" these is in your mouth! 🙂 Make a batch to enjoy today!

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1/3 cup peeled split mung bean
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen grated coconut thawed
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts unsalted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Dough

Cake Coating

Instructions

Making the Mashed Mung Bean

  1. Transfer the mung bean into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Wash the beans by swirling in the water and then pouring out the rinse water. Repeat this process 2 more times or until the water is mostly clear. Fill the bowl with cold water and let the beans soak for 2 hours.
  2. Wash the beans one more time. Drain using a colander. Transfer the beans into a rice cooker. Add the salt and water. Spread out the beans into an even layer. Close the lid and cook using a basic white rice setting.
  3. Transfer the cooked beans to a medium bowl. Using a paddle spoon, quickly mash the beans while they are still hot. Set aside for now.

Making the Filling

  1. Transfer the thawed grated coconut into a small colander. Rinse the coconut with cold water. Stir to remove any remaining water.
  2. Transfer the roasted peanuts into a small food processor and chop for a few seconds.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet over Medium heat, add the water and sugar. Stir together dissolving the sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, add the grated coconut and combine together. Stirring occasionally, cook until the coconut turns translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped peanuts and combine together. Add the mashed mung bean and combine well. The filling should become a thick paste once all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. While the filling is still warm, use a small cookie scoop to transfer small mounds onto a plate. Make a total of 24 mounds. Roll each filling mound between your palms forming a ball. After all filling balls are made, cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Making the Dough

  1. In a measuring cup, add the boiling water and sugar. Stir together until the sugar is dissolved. Divide the liquid evenly among 4 small bowls.  In one bowl, add yellow food coloring. In another bowl, add pink food coloring. In a third bowl, add the Pandan paste. Leave the fourth bowl as-is, with just the clear liquid. Stir the liquid to blend the color in each bowl.
  2. Add the clear liquid into the mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup glutinous/sweet rice flour. Using Low speed, mix together until a soft dough forms. This takes approximately 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the dough from the bowl and shape into a rough ball. Transfer into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Repeat the same steps to make the remaining dough using the yellow, pink and green-colored liquids.

Making the Snowball Cakes

  1. Transfer the first batch, the white dough to a work surface. Shape into a log about 6-inches long. Using a pizza wheel or knife, cut the log into 6 equal pieces. Separate the dough pieces. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
  2. Take a section of dough: Using your fingers, flatten the edges, making a circle about 2-inches in diameter. Place a filling ball in the center of the dough circle and wrap the dough around the filling. Pinch the dough together to cover the filling completely. Roll between your palms to form a smooth ball.
  3. Continue with these same steps making balls using the different colored dough. Make 6 balls of each color: white, yellow, pink and green.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Transfer the white and yellow balls into the pot. Stir the balls gently so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Boil using Medium heat stirring occasionally. In about 5-6 minutes the balls should start floating to the top of the water. After all balls float to the top, rotate gently and continue boiling for 2 more minutes.
  5. Transfer the balls into a large colander. Leave some space around the balls so they don't stick together. Let cool for 3 minutes.
  6. Put the sweetened shredded coconut into a large plate. Roll the warm balls in the coconut coating them evenly. Transfer each snowball into a mini cupcake liner.
  7. Follow the same above steps to make the remaining pink and green balls.

  8. Enjoy the Snowball Cakes while they're fresh!

Notes, Tips & Tricks

For more delicious coconut-ty taste, use fresh young coconut in the filling. Grate fresh young coconut or buy it already grated and frozen.

If you have peanut allergies, substitute with another nut or use a combination of other nuts. This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

For a recipe short-cut, use only sweetened shredded coconut. Add 1/2 cup water (instead of 1/4 cup) to rehydrate the coconut when making the filling. Use the remaining coconut to coat the cakes. Also, if needed, reduce the sugar in the filling since the coconut is already sweetened.

I use Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour in this recipe. If using another brand, such as the Elephant/Erawan brand from Thailand, you may need to adjust the water and flour a bit to get the right dough consistency. The dough should be soft, pliable and tacky. It should not ooze or lose its shape (too moist) or crumble or crack (too dry). The dough is forgiving but adjust using small teaspoon increments.

Make sure the liquid is hot, between 120-140 F, when making the dough. If the liquid cools, simply reheat in the microwave using High power for 20-25 seconds.

After boiling, don't let the snowballs sit for long. The balls need to be warm so the shredded coconut sticks.

The Snowball Cakes are best enjoyed the day they are made. Refrigerate any remaining Snowball Cakes. To serve again, warm in the microwave using Low power for 20-30 seconds. Freeze the cakes for up to 3 months. Allow frozen cakes to thaw completely and then reheat in the microwave.

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6 Responses to Snowball Cakes (Banh Bao Chi)

  1. Natalie Duyen December 11, 2017 at 7:42 am #

    Lovely snack cake. For covering the snowballs, can i use dried grated coconut ? Or better i use fresh grated coconut ?

    • Trang December 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

      Hi Natalie, I use dried coconut. The fresh grated coconut is delicious if you have time to prepare it. Enjoy the recipe!

  2. Lisa December 2, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    Hi Trang,
    In the past I tried the recipe where you cook the dough in the microwave but didn’t like it because it’s such a sticky messy process. I was so delighted to see you have a different method. I just made the first batch and the snowballs are so wonderful, the dough is so soft and the filling is perfect. My husband and girls love them. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us!

    • Trang December 2, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for trying my recipe. I am so glad you like it! Yes, the microwave recipe may seem quicker but the clean-up process is much longer…lol! 🙂

  3. Thinh December 2, 2017 at 4:03 am #

    The snow balls are so pretty! I am glad this is a make ahead recipe which would help out tremendously for a big party. How do I keep them soft and moist through out the party?

    • Trang December 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

      Hi Thinh,
      When serving for a party, keep the Snowball Cakes covered with plastic wrap or store them in a covered cake plate or pan. Enjoy!

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