Happy New Year 2012! Thank you to all who continue to read and support my baking adventures. It is your kind words of encouragement that I continue to write posts and share with you recipes, tips and tricks, and my crazy obsession! Speaking of crazy, this post is based on a craving from long ago with a new twist . . . all from a dream.
I am trying to continue some traditions from both mine and my husband’s heritage to pass down to our kids. There are quite a few around the New Year’s for the Japanese. One such tradition we partake in for the New Year is eating ozoni or good luck soup with mochi. Unfortunately, we now buy the plain mochi from our local Japanese store. Although in Hawaii some Japanese families still “pound mochi” the old way–steamed rice pounded with a mallet. Making and eating mochi for the New Year are considered good luck.
Here is my hubby’s special ozoni soup with mochi (upper right-hand corner), kamaboko (fish cake in the center), mizuna (Japanese mustard greens), and clams.
I usually make tri-colored (red, green, and white) chi chi dango mochi for dessert (see my last year’s post) , however this year I was craving for an old favorite from my college days–chocolate mochi.
The best chocolate mochi ever is from Nori’s Saimin and Snacks on Kinoole St. in Hilo, Hawaii. Not only is their chocolate mochi good, but they saimin is ono! Being on a college student’s budget, I didn’t frequent Nori’s as often as I would have liked. But their chocolate mochi left quite an impression on me.
I didn’t have to search long for a comparable recipe, I got THE recipe from an article in the Honolulu Star Advertiser. You can imagine my delight and I immediately started baking. I followed the recipe exactly with one exception, I used 1/2 cup less sugar. Gosh it’s been . . . a long time since my undergrad days, but one bite brought me back. And last night we had some ozoni and chocolate mochi to ring in the New Year! Boy did I sleep well . . . and dreamt well too. I dreamt of chocolate covered mochi!
So today when I woke up, I rummaged through my collection of chocolate. At first I wanted to use a darker semi-sweet chocolate at 61% so I placed this in my trusty chocolate warmer, but when I was putting away my chocolates, my milk chocolate at 38% (Callebaut) was calling to me (hee hee). So I put some of this in the warmer too.
While waiting for the chocolate to melt, I cut up the chocolate mochi in bite sized square pieces.
I dipped each piece into the chocolate using two forks and then placed them on a piece of parchment paper. They looked a bit plain, so I toasted some unsweetened coconut flakes (since the chocolate mochi is made with coconut milk) and sprinkled the flakes on top.
All I can say is that DREAMS DO COME TRUE! These were sooo darn good. This will be kept in my favorite file and I will be looking forward to the next occasion to make it.
Here is the recipe for Nori’s Chocolate Mochi Cake from the Honolulu Star Advertiser, which I adapted into making Chocolate Covered Mochi Bites with Toasted Coconut. If you are ever in Hilo, drop by Nori’s at 688 Kinoole St. You won’t be disappointed with the food and chocolate mochi.
Chocolate Covered Mochi Bites with Toasted Coconut (adapted from Nori’s Chocolate Mochi Cake courtesy of the Honolulu Star Advertiser)
4 1/2 c mochiko (sweet rice flour)
4 c sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
1 can evaporated milk
5 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted
combination of semi and milk chocolate for dipping
toasted unsweetened coconut flakes to sprinkle over top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 5×9 inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, mix mochiko, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, combine coconut milk, evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and butter. Mix well.
- Add dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until batter is smooth.
- Pour batter into loaf pans and bake for 75-90 minutes, until center does not jiggle or cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool completely and cut into pieces using a plastic knife or very sharp paring knife.
- Melt chocolate in a warmer, double boiler, or microwave until smooth.
- Place mochi pieces into melted chocolate and use two forks to take each piece out.
- Place dipped mochi pieces on parchment paper.
- Sprinkle toasted unsweetened coconut flakes over the tops.
- Let chocolate set and store at room temperature.
A few more notes on making these mochi bites: to toast coconut flakes, place on a cookie sheet at 375 degree and watch carefully. You will need to turn it over a couple of times to ensure even toasting. Also, mochi should not be refrigerated. You can store these bites in a covered airtight container or in a ziplock bag. Also, use good quality chocolate for dipping. This will make all the difference in the world. I have a stock of Callebaut, Guittard, and Godiva. All ranging from milk (31%) to very dark (71%).
These are great for mini dessert hors d’oeuvre, which gave me a chance to bring out a set of tasting spoons I bought awhile back.
One more look at this sumptuous little bite up close.
My ai daughter is not a fan of mochi and I thought covering it with chocolate . . . well let’s just say she’s still not a fan. But kids taste and likes change and so I am not terribly worried. However, look at who loves it.
He said to me “this is yummy for my tummy” his usual saying for his favorite foods. But then again he also tells me I am “so pretty”–I better enjoy it while I can.
Again to all Happy New Year from our family to yours. And may 2012 bring you good luck, peace, love, prosperity, and more baked goodies!