A centuries old Japanese tradition is the eating of mochi on New Year. It usually starts around the new year when Japanese households and communities take part in a traditional Mochitsuki the pounding of sweet rice to make the flour. The flour is used to make mochi which can be a sweet or savory treat.
In Hawaii mochi is definitely served on New Year specially by families of Japanese ancestry. I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited by friends whose families practice this tradition. I’ve had mochi as dumplings in a fish based soup, not exactly my favorite; fried and served with soy sauce; and sweet chewy squares, my favorite.
Mochi is also always available in Hawaii. It’s found in many local grocery stores and some bakeries. But most of the time I make Mochi at home. One of my favorites is Chi Chi Dango, it’s a sweet square made with coconut milk and is usually pink in color. Another favorite is this Tri-Colored mochi, which is really just a layered Chi Chi Dango in 3 colors, green, pink, and white. I don’t make it often simply because it’s tedious baking 3 layers, the single color version is just as good. But Tri-Colored Mochi does look pretty when served at a party.
By the way Mochi is made from glutinous rice flour and is naturally gluten free and since it uses coconut milk it’s also dairy free! It’s the perfect treat for any one with gluten, dairy, and nut allergies.
You can buy both Mochi flour (one of the brand names is Mochiko), canned coconut milk, and Katakoriko at any Asian market.
1 Box Mochiko flour (1 pound)
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Can Coconut Milk
3/4 Cup Water
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 – 3 drops each of red and green food color
Katakoriku (potato starch)
Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Mix all ingredients except the Katakoriku in a bowl until smooth.
Divide batter into 3 equal parts. (I pour them 1 measuring cups)
Color one part pink with red food color, and one part green with green food color, leave third part white.
Pour Green part into your pan and cover with foil.
Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
Pour white batter over green layer and cover with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven. Uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
Pour pink batter over white layer and cover with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes and remove from oven.
Uncover and cool for at least 30 minutes.
Cut into squares – I use a pizza wheel to cut even strips then cut those strips into small rectangles.
Place Katakoriku on a plate and roll each piece of mochi in it. This will dust the mochi so that they don’t stick together.
Store in airtight containers on the counter. It should last about 3 days, that is if you can keep from eating it sooner!
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There’s a bit of a nip in the air, even here in Hawaii it’s been rainy and gloomy. And Starbuck’s has added my seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice Latte! This can only mean Fall is here!
This time of year I get a yen for spice cookies, nothing smells better than oven fresh cookies. It fills the house with those delicious fall aromas like cinnamon and ginger. And since this year’s Halloween will probably be very different from Halloweens past cookie baking is one of the activities we’ve added to our yearly festivities. I mean Halloween parties (or parties of any type involving multiple people from different households) is out of the question and for our family and friends Trick or Treating is a no go too. Instead we’ve been making Halloween crafts, watching Halloween movies, and reading Halloween books. And now we’ll also be baking and decorating Halloween cookies.
These Sugar & Spice cookies are yummy without the icing. They’re great for all the Fall occasions including Halloween and Thanksgiving. That’s right one recipe different styles!
You can even use the same cookie cutter, well at least the pumpkin shape! And the same icing colors!
These cookies are so easy to bake and they are so yummy! To make them pretty I used royal cookie icing in 2 different consistencies, piping and flooding. I also saved some cookies and icing so the kids can decorate them next when they’re in the mood!
This cookie recipe makes a dough that is great for rolled and cut cookies without having to refrigerate it before cutting! Here’s the recipe for the cookie icing, the cookie recipe is below. Enjoy!
Royal Cookie Icing
4 Tbs. Meringue Powder
1/2 Cup Water at room temp
7 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla extract or other flavor
2 Tbs Shortening
2 Tbs Corn Syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment mix together meringue powder and water until frothy and all powder is dissolved.
Add 1/2 of the sugar and beat on medium speed about 4 minutes. It will be thick and glossy.
Add flavor, shortening, and corn syrup and mix well.
Slowly add in remaining sugar. Mix on slow/medium until well blended. Mix for another 3 minutes. It should be thick like a piping consistency. (if you want it really thick add another cup of sugar, this is used for hard decorations like roses, eyes, and more that you stick to the top of cookies and cakes.)
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth to keep moist.
Divide to make different colors and consistencies.
To make flood icing thin with water but add 1/8 to 1/4 tsp water at a time until you get desired consistency. Flood icing should be a bit thin and runny, but not too runny and watery that it rolls off the sides of the cookie.
To decorate cookies place a small amount of icing in a small bowl and color using gel food coloring.
I usually color a bowl then separate it again so that I can change the consistency of a portion of the colored icing. I place the Piping or thicker consistency in a piping bag and the thinner flood icing in a plastic squeeze bottle.
Pipe a thin line of icing, piping consistency of course, around the edges of the cookies and any other place you want to separate the flood icing from. Let dry.
Squeeze flood icing on the cookie surface and spread out making sure it all stays inside the piped lines. Let dry.
Pipe other decorations onto to dry flood icing, like words, eyes, and designs.
Let everything dry completely and store in air tight containers.
Sugar & Spice Fall Cookies
In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and spices.
In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together butter and sugars.
Add in egg and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated.
Gradually add in flour mixture scarping down sides and bowl bottom to make sure the dough is well blended. Dough will be thick.
Roll out dough on floured surface. The thickness should be between 1/4" and 1/2".
Cut out shapes and place on parchment or silicone covered baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 11 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit on sheet about 2 minutes.
Gently transfer to wire racks and cool completely before decorating.