How to Make Butter Mochi

I stopped into Gjusta several weeks back and ended up buying a piece of butter mochi garnished with pomelo. I had no idea what butter mochi was, but the friendly girl behind the counter told me she "loved it!" so I was sold. When it comes to baked goods, I'll put just about anything in my face.

I got into the car and pushed my new discovery under Rob's nose with an enthusiastic "butter mochi!" I confessed to having no clue what the cake was but felt that we should try it. "It's like those mochi ice cream treats you get at sushi restaurants," I said, "but it's a...pastry?" Good guess, but incorrect. The cake was spongy and slightly dense as I split it, and we both agreed that it was interesting and pretty good. The texture was definitely the most curious part.

Once we got home, I asked The Google, "What is butter mochi?", "How do I make butter mochi?", and while we're at it, "What is mochi?" Always a 3-year-old when it comes to food. Speaking of 3-year-olds, this recipe would be great to make with kids since there isn't anything tricky about the technique or equipment.

Useless Facts

What is Mochi?

Mochi is a rice cake, and I don't mean the styrofoam disks our moms (and I) ate by the bucket in the 90's. It's a Japanese confection that's made by pounding steamed sweet rice into a paste. Since this process is a little too labor intensive (and dangerous) for most folks, mochiko flour or sweet rice flour can also be used to make mochi. If you want to make traditional rice cakes without the work, this machine will apparently do the trick. That video is both creepy and mesmerizing.

Mochiko vs Shiratamako

I found a number of posts that mentioned both mochiko flour and shiratamako. Mochiko flour is raw sweet rice that has been finely ground. Shiratamako, on the other hand, is cooked mochi that has been dried and ground into a powder. They are not interchangeable as some sites suggest. If a recipe calls for mochiko flour, that's probably what you should use.

Types of Mochiko Flour

After reading some online discussions about various brands of flour, I determined that Bob's Red Mill sweet rice flour is fine for general baking but Koda Farms is preferred for making mochi-related goods. I ordered a few boxes from Amazon and was happy with the results.

Tools



Santa Rosa Plums at Windrose Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market



Ingredients (Inspired by Lucky Peach)

  • 2 cups (302 grams) mochiko flour
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 6 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (225 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp flake-style salt
  • Peach, nectarine, or plum slices (optional but recommended) Note: I'm sure there are other fruit options that would work, these are just the ones I tried.

Instructions

  • Butter the cupcake pan.
  • Move your oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350.
  • Melt the butter, then set aside to cool.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium/large mixing bowl.
  • Gently whisk the eggs, then combine them with the coconut milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and cooled butter.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly add the wet ingredients, whisking as you go. Mix thoroughly. Note: As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be much risk of over-mixing this batter.
  • Add one generous #40 scoop of batter to each cup. Note: The batter fills about a 1/3 of the cup if you don't have the scooper. Also, a #40 is equivalent to 1.75 tablespoons if you're curious.
  • Top each cup with a thin slice of fruit, then very lightly press the fruit into the batter just so it's settled. Note: When I pushed the fruit too far into the batter, it disappeared entirely by the time the butter mochi was done baking.
  • Bake until golden (about 45-60 minutes). Note: Towards the end of baking, I popped one out to ensure the bottom wasn't getting too dark. Once I got a feel for the look/smell this wasn't necessary.

Make Ahead

I stored some batter overnight and baked it off the next day without any issues.

Storage

Plain butter mochi (without the fruit) can apparently be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Zap it in the microwave to bring the flavor and texture back to life. Adding the fruit makes storage a little more tricky since the moisture from the peaches/nectarines makes the butter mochi slightly soggy. I stored the butter mochi in an airtight container at room temperature and thought it was fine the next day but probably wouldn't go much longer than that.

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