For those of you yet to be introduced to mochi, allow me to lead you out of your deep, dark cave of oblivion – using the familiar guise of donuts to lure out the extra stubborn skeptics amongst you.
Mochi or もち, in its simplest form, is a traditional Japanese sticky-sweet rice confection. Its subtlety and flexibility (literally) makes it the perfect clay for mochi-believers to shape, allowing it to have evolved into many different forms throughout Asia. Naturally, the mochi family tree has extended its reach to North America.
They may look like donuts, but that my comrades, is the extent of their similarities. They are neither deep-fried nor cakey – the donut facade merely acts as a vessel to encase a chewy and sweet interior. And what better flavours to make them more exciting (and instaworthy) than dark chocolate, matcha and strawberry!!
Do not let my talk of evolution and use of foreign Japanese characters scare you away from this surprisingly simple recipe. The only difficulty may be gathering a few of the ingredients, and I’m not talking about the glutinous rice flour, which can be found in the imported foods aisle of regular grocery stores – the most common variety would be from Thailand, but it’d be even better if you find Japanese Mochiko flour. It may also be slightly tricky to hunt down some quality matcha powder, but you can refer to my previous post for tips on that.
So, these seemingly elusive Asian ingredients are not so hard to find after all. But, when testing the recipe, what had me stumped (for quite a while) were the freeze-dried strawberries. Alas, would I have to resort to Amazon, or even worse, some gross artificial strawberry flavouring? None of the above! And I owe it to my cereal phase (in which I ate on average 2 bowls a day for a month) for getting me out of this bind. There are a few cereal brands that contain dried strawberries in the mix (*cough* Special K), and it only made sense for a cereal-lover like myself to purchase an entire box of cereal just to use 4 dried strawberries. And so, that was my great solution to the wild ingredient hunt. I dedicate this one to you, cereal.
For the donuts:
4oz. glutinous rice flour (or Mochiko)
¾ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
For the flavours:
1 tsp matcha
1½ tsp dark cocoa powder
1½ tsp freeze-dried strawberries, ground into a powder
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar (1/3 cup for each flavour)
1-2 tsp half & half for each flavour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the donut pan with non-stick cooking oil. Mochi donuts are particularly sticky so make sure the pan is well-greased.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients grouped under donuts. Divide the batter amongst 3 small bowls. Prepare the freeze-dried strawberries by grinding 3 or 4 pieces into a fine powder by mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.
Sift one flavour ingredient into each bowl and whisk until incorporated. Pour each flavour into their two donut cavities. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are cracked and the edges are slightly golden brown. Cool the donuts in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Using a thin spatula or toothpick, carefully loosen the donut from the pan and turn out on the rack to cool completely.
While cooling, prepare the glaze (because donuts are all about the glaze). Like before, prepare 3 small bowls with 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in each. Sift over one flavour ingredient into each bowl. Begin by adding 1 teaspoon of half & half to each bowl and whisking until smooth. Add more liquid in ½ teaspoon increments to reach desired consistency. If it’s become too runny, simply add in more powdered sugar.
Tear a sheet of parchment or wax paper to sit beneath the cooled donuts on the rack. Spoon over each glaze onto their respective donut flavour (or you can mix it up, go wild!) and spread it with the back of the spoon. Wait for the icing to harden, or if you’re continuing on with the rebellious streak, sink your teeth into all its messy, dripping glory.