BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Mochi Madness

29 Comments

Standing outside on the first cold, crisp day of 2014, I could have sworn I heard the distinctive “don…don…don” of a kine (wooden mallet) striking an usu (stone mortar), far off in the distance. Though unlikely, the tradition of making mochi for oshogatsu is so ubiquitous in Japanese culture, it would be unthinkable for anyone immersed in the culture to ignore it. Pounding sweet glutenous rice into submission is no simple task, typically requiring a whole village to pitch in and churn out enough mochi to ring in the new year. Celebrations are based around the ritual and everyone gets something delicious as their reward. Though ozoni soup is the most authentic way to commemorate the turning of the calendar, ensuring good luck and prosperity for the coming months, mochi is the perfect blank canvas for any flavors sweet or savory. Naturally, my inclination is to play up its capacity for creating unique sweet treats.

Forget pounding stubborn grains of rice until your arms ache and your hands throb. This is mochi for the modern baker, dressed up in a rich cloak of chocolate, no less. Mochiko, otherwise known as finely powdered sweet rice flour, makes the process move along much more smoothly- literally. Crossing cultural boundaries and incorporating some unconventional ingredients, the resulting brownies are a curious hybrid of Japanese and American tastes. Shockingly decadent in comparison to the plain white spheres produced from typical methods, these mahogany brown squares are a definite indulgence, which strikes me as a fitting way to kick off a joyful new year. For anyone expecting a standard brownie though, the texture may come as a shock. Chewy with a delightfully bouncy, sticky texture between the teeth, it makes no secret of its glutenous rice foundation. To some who struggles with anything that isn’t either crispy-crunchy or pudding-soft, these may not be the most winning recipe.

For the rest of you adventurous eaters and bakers though, it’s a stunningly simple mash-up that’s long overdue. Have your mochi and enjoy it too, without any of the hard labor (or choking hazards) associated with the original. As a side bonus, these rice flour-based treats are “accidentally” gluten-free, so everyone can start their year on a sweet note!

Mochi Brownies

2 Cups Mochiko
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
9 Ounces (1 1/2 Cups) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Divided
1 1/2 Cups Plain Vegan Creamer
1 14-Ounce Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Plain or Vanilla Vegan Yogurt
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 9 x 13-inch rectangular baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mochiko, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture and set aside.

Place the margarine and 6 ounces (1 cup) of the chocolate chips in a large, microwave-safe container along with half of the creamer. Microwave for a minute, stir well, and then continue heating at 30-second intervals, mixing thoroughly in between each new cycle, until the chocolate has completely melted. Add in the remaining measure of creamer plus the coconut milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry and stir thoroughly with a wide spatula. Don’t worry about over-mixing, since there’s no gluten here that might form. Go ahead and beat the tar out of that batter! Toss in the remaining 3 ounces (1/2 cup) of chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Once there are no lumps remaining, transfer it into your prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, until dry and slightly crackled on top. The toothpick test won’t be particularly helpful for this brownie, so just trust your intuition when it appears to be done on the surface.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

Makes 16 – 24 Brownies

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

29 thoughts on “Mochi Madness

  1. OMG this is still perfect here.
    Very good year for you Hannah, full of good things for you :)
    Yummy again <3

  2. Looks delicious and totally craveable! Yum!

  3. I think I just droooled LOL… this looks delicious .. Wishing you a very Happy 2014 may it bring everything sweet your way..
    Blessings Sue

  4. What do you do with the other 2/3 cup chocolate chips?

  5. How lovely this recipe is, love it. I heard about this idea before, but I kept putting back in my head ~ can’t remember! hehe
    I wish you can share one with me, :p

  6. I spent Christmas morning working my way through more boxes of black sesame, red bean and peanut butter mocha than I care to reveal at this time. My wonderful daughters, knowing my adoration for the unctuous stuff, bought me a tremendous stash of them (which I am ashamed to say are all gone) and I settled down to watch Christmas Day movies (well…does “Mama” count as a Christmas Day movie?! ;) ) whilst mindlessly dipping into boxes of gorgeousness. I may have thought that I loved you before but I was wrong. I now SERIOUSLY heart you! Mochi…and chocolate…and brownies…and homemade…and entirely possible here in Tasmania = total bliss! Now I don’t have to wait till next Christmas for more of that delicious mochi mania to descend…I get to delve into the mochi happiness ASAP. You are our go-to vegan recipe Maven ma’am…I bow to your creative genius :) (Chocolate…and mochi… “SQUEE!” :) )

  7. Interesting and awesome looking use of mochiko. For the new year, my mom makes savory glutinous rice flour dumpling soup using the same stuff but I wouldn’t mind a couple of those brownies instead… :-)

  8. Mmm,they look so yummy! Feel like trying those very soon:)

  9. Whoa, I love mochi and never thought about doing a brownie with it.. yum.

  10. As someone who ADORES the texture of all things rice flour…YES.

  11. This looks delicious! I love mochi desserts, I definitely need to put this on my to-bake list for 2014.

  12. We watched mochi being made at Mitsuwa Japanese Grocery in Arlington Height, Illinois a few years ago during the New Year season. We love mochi and I will definitely have to try this! Thanks, Hannah, and I hope your new year’s off to a great start.

    janet

  13. I have seen sweet Rice flour before in other brownie recipes & I think that is a genius, tasty idea. Why not, Hey??? It would be great tasty added flavour, I guess!!. A must make, Hannah & a Happy 2014 to you & your lovely cool blog? xxx 🎅🎅🎅

  14. I’m a sucker for mochi – peanut butter ones rock my dessert world. I’m intrigued to try these – I’d be really interested to see how the mochi ‘squide’ would work with the brownies. Yum, I’ll bet!

  15. Yummy! I love gooey stuff! Have you tried Kahula in there! I bet it would give them a stronger taste though. Happy 2014!

  16. Hannah, I work with a very fine powdered rice flour that comes from Thailand because that’s the best I can find in Israel (which is Kosher). Don;t you find that rice flour, especially in these quantities, yields a very dry cake?

  17. I do love mochi and so do my kids, we get a raisin cinnamon kind at our co-op. It has such a great texture, soft and chewy at the same time. Love this idea of chocolate mochi brownies. I have the right kind of sweet rice flour, so this one’s on my list to try.

  18. these sound cool! would love to try them.

  19. you just combined 2 of my FAVOURITE desserts into one. Brilliant, that is what you are!

  20. That looks amazing! How cool! :D

  21. who would have thought! i cant get over people choking over mochi:) these brownies look fudgy and fab!

  22. Looks and sounds delectable! My mouth is watering!

  23. Such a perfect name for Hannah’s decadently delicious desserts – they look definitely chewy and sticky and delicious! Remind me chocolate sticky cakes :) Your post makes me happy when you mention a familiar ingredient, which is rarely mentioned in food blogs! This is why I love your blog! I am familiar with mochiko and/or mochigomeko. It’s very hard to find vegan mochi or mochi cakes today…but it’s always nice to have this ingredient to make your own! You can also use mochiko for ‘fried’ seitan, tofu or other meat alternative instead of just flour.

  24. Made this recipe last week, but using non-vegan ingredients. Brownies turned out absolutely delicious!! They had a beautiful nice mochi skin with a very fudgy, almost gelatinous inside. The only thing I might change the next time I make these is using a little egg to help create a balance and add a little more cakey-ness to the inside.

  25. Pingback: Mochi a Rice Treat Great for Everyone in the Family - Japan Guide

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