Fresh Strawberry Daifuku Mochi

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Strawberries, Sweetened Red Beans, and Mochi = YUMMY

Hello! I've always wanted to make Fresh Strawberry Daifuku Mochi and finally made it! When I posted photos to Instagram, several people asked for the recipe. I felt I couldn't just give you the recipe because there's some technique involved. So, here is a video of me making Strawberry Daifuku Mochi. It's a fresh strawberry covered with anko (sweetened red Azuki beans, smooth texture), covered with mochi made with Koda Farms Mochiko sweet rice flour.

This video uses the microwave method. You can search the interwebs for a steamed method. I adapted recipes and techniques from Just One Cookbook, Bon Appetit, and my 40+ years of mochi making experience with my family. Also, I worked in a mochi & manju shop while in high school (Sakura-ya in Gardena, CA - um, seriously the best mochi in Southern California), and I helped make mochi during their busy New Year's holiday season.

Hints for success:

  • Work fast - mochi needs to be hot/very warm when you form it. That's why this is a small batch. 
  • Make sure your hands have potato starch on them to prevent sticking when working with hot mochi. You know what sucks and could hurt you? Having sticky HOT mochi stuck to your hands. It's a pain. Thus, if children are helping, you need to be careful. 
  • If you screw up microwaving the mochi, just make another batch. You are using a small amount of ingredients and your box of Mochiko will give you several batches. (I overcooked it once and had to start over).
  • Some of the video is sped up so I'm not working that fast. Please know that I've been making mochi and baking for a long time. I can hold hot mochi in my hands pretty easily. I think forming mochi might be one of those "harder than it looks on the video" techniques. But keep practicing and you'll get it! And no matter what it looks like, it's delicious! 
  • I've only ever used Koda Farms Mochiko sweet rice flour made with short-grain glutinous rice. This California family business has been making Mochiko for the Japanese American community forever. Support them and follow them on IG. Also, "sweet" rice doesn't mean any sweetener is added, it refers to the type of rice. (You can't use Bob's rice flour because that is made with medium and long grain rice. You need the short-grain rice flour... just get Koda Farms and you'll be good.)
  • This isn't the only way to make mochi. The interwebs has lots of videos and recipes. The ratio of mochi, anko, and strawberry varies. 
  • FYI - I can't make this low-carb and have never substituted real, granulated sugar for other sugars. Koda Farms Mochiko is rice flour and gluten-free. Anko (sweetened Azuki beans) is usually gluten-free but read labels carefully.
  • I have seen people substitute corn starch for potato starch and I think that'll work. You brush off most of the powder.

3/4 cup Koda Farms Mochiko rice flour (link on Amazon) (Hey, I noticed that I have the wrong amount on the video. The correct amount is 3/4 cup Mochiko).
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
Anko (sweetened azuki red beans), smooth (comes in smooth and rough texture. I prefer smooth for mochi) (link on Amazon)
6-8 small or medium fresh strawberries

Preparation (see video for details):
  1. Cover strawberries with a thin layer of anko. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, mix mochiko and sugar. Add water and stir until smooth and well combined.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 1 minute. Remove and stir with spatula.
  4. Return covered dish to the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  5. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir.
  6. Finally, microwave another 30 seconds and stir. Mochi needs to be smooth and sticky.
  7. Microwave times may vary because all microwaves are different.
  8. Spread potato starch on work space, and plop mochi on the potato starch.
  9. Cut small pieces of mochi and form into a circle.
  10. Wrap anko covered strawberries with mochi, placing seal at the bottom.

* I am part of Amazon Affiliates program so I can earn a few pennies if you purchase something - at no cost to you.

Music in video by Ben Sound. Thank you!

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Funfetti or Confetti Cookies

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Funfetti / Confetti Cookies

Funfetti is FUN - I mean, it's in the name! My Bonus Kids Alison, Rosie, and Emily came to Los Angeles to celebrate their grandmother's 100th birthday recently. Pastry Chef Rosie came to my house to bake the desserts, and she made these fun and delicious cookies. Lucky for me (and you), she left her recipe and I made a batch for work.

  Rosie-Grandma-100_2084 Rosie-Confetti-Cookie
First, here is Rosie's beautiful grandma and the cookies she made at my house for the party. (If you are in Western Massachusetts, visit Hunt + Hart Cafe + Bakery in Huntington, MA and eat a delicious lunch or dinner made by my friends Helen, Alison, and Rosie!)

Here are the ingredients. In order to soften the butter quickly, chop and lay on a piece of parchment.

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After making the dough, scoop cookies. My scoops were a bit wonky on this batch so I took a few minutes to round them in my hands before squashing them a bit. (see photo below)

Freeze the squished (yes, I'm sure that is a baking term) cookies for at least 2 hours before baking. I got 47 cookies from one batch of dough.

The cookies spread a bit and have slight cracking on top. These are small cookies. Rosie makes them about double the size.

Spread a thin layer of melted Candy Melts (we bought ours at Michael's) with an off-set spatula. Have sprinkles ready. You need to work fast because the Candy Melts harden quickly (if it does, just re-melt in the microwave).

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You don't need to cover the bottom of the cookie. Coat half the cookie with reserved sprinkles.

You can adjust the sprinkle colors for baby showers, team sports, holidays, and more. I look forward to making UCLA cookies for a big game!

You can skip the top coating altogether and let the colored sprinkles shine through.

Thanks Rosie for a great recipe! Thanks Alison, Emily, and Rosie for being the best bonus kids ever! Love, your bonus mom!

Funfetti or Confetti Cookies Recipe

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon extract
1 Tablespoon almond extract
3 cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch (that worked out to 10 grams for me)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup rainbow sprinkles plus more for decoration

Candy Melts ("white" - I think that's vanilla)

Prep: In a medium bowl, measure and whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking soda.
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar.
2. Add egg and extracts until light and fluffy.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On low speed add in flour, cornstarch, baking soda mixture until just combined, a minute or less.
5. Add sprinkles and beat until just mixed in - or you can do this part my hand.
6. Scoop dough rounds onto parchment paper. Flatten a bit with the palm of your hand.
7. Freeze dough until no longer soft, at least 2 hours. (I froze them overnight).

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (I have also baked at 325 F on Convection Bake setting).
9. Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart as they will spread. Bake straight from the freezer.
10. Bake times depends on size of cookie and frozen state - from 8 minutes to 15 minutes. It's a good idea to bake just one or two to determine the best baking time. Mine took about 13 minutes from frozen solid. The cookie will crack on top and the edges should not be brown - they may look underbaked.
11. Let cook completely before frosting.

12. Melt candy melts as directed on package.
13. With an off-set spatula, spread a thin layer of candy melt on half the cookie and sides. Leave the bottom of the cookie bare.
14. Spread sprinkles on the cookie.

Options: You can skip the palm oil in the candy melts and use white chocolate to coat. You can also skip the topping of sprinkles altogether.
Options: Replace almond extract with vanilla extract.

Disclosure: Links to Amazon products are affiliate links. I'll get a few cents if you buy something - there is no cost to you. 
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Feel-Better Chicken and Rice Soup with Sweet Potato - Bon Appetit

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Bon Appetit's Feel-Better Chicken and Rice Soup with Sweet Potatoes

It's been cold. It's be raining. And it's time for soup!

I was down a YouTube rabbit hole recently and started watching a bunch of Bon Appetit videos. I love them - filmed in the test kitchen, these short videos have chefs with great personalities. My favorite series is Claire Saffitz making gourmet junk food like Oreos, Skittles, Instant Ramen (and bickers with Brad in the kitchen). Anyway, my second favorite is Andy Baraghani. He brings his own rice to make a Persian dish and made this delicious soup (watch the video)

Using the most basic of ingredients, you can make and serve this soup in an hour. And that's a Meyer lemon from my mom's tree.

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There are 4 garlic cloves and 2 inches of ginger. Man, I love ginger in soup. I used two-ish chicken thighs.

One large sweet potato, with skin on, makes for a yummy change from a plain potato and the color is awesome.

Before serving, shred the chicken thighs with two forks. Super duper easy soup!

Right before serving, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice and soy sauce are added. Topped with cilantro, it's way delicious. I served this to a friend who liked it, and another friend made it and loved it. I've made it twice in 2019 and we're only at January 16 so it's hella good. I hope you make this!

Bon Appetit Feel-Better Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken with Rice and Sweet Potato

Part of the Bon Appetit New Year's Healthyish series

Bon Appetit recipe link:

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used two plus a little thighs)
1/3 cup jasmine rice, rinsed (rinse until water runs clear)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 t kosher salt
2 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ½"-thick rounds (I used one large sweet potato)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (I used Meyer lemon juice)
2 TBSP soy sauce
½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan, bring chicken, rice, garlic, ginger, salt, and 5 cups water to boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered for 10-12 minutes, until chicken is firm
3. Add sweet potatoes to pan and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened and potatoes and rice are tender, 15–20 minutes longer.
4. Remove chicken and shred. Return the chicken to the pot.
5. Add lemon juice and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top soup with chopped cilantro

Makes enough for 2 large servings with leftovers.

Recipe by Andy Baraghani. Video with his amazing no-look chopping (I would be in the ER after trying that):

Join Andy Baraghani in the Bon App├ętit Test Kitchen
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