A Glutton for Butter Mochi
Last week, I gorged myself.
And I blame Chef Jeffrey Stout for it.
You see, after a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to post a photo on Facebook of a unique sweet treat that I enjoyed there that was quite new to me: butter mochi.
Stout, former chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino who’s now building his own restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, did what any self-respecting chef would do when he spied the photo and sensed my longing — he emailed me a recipe for it.
It was far easier to make than I thought it would be. When I tried a piece, I immediately ate a second, then had to restrain myself from reaching for a third.
Chef, what have you done!
The recipe comes from Stout’s neighbor, Taryn Esperas, who has been known to make this for neighborhood block parties, where it’s always one of the first things to be gobbled up.
It’s cake. But not. It’s custard. But not really. It’s sort of its own delightful hybrid.
Imagine digging into a very eggy, vanilla-rich custard — only it’s not spoonable, but so dense, bouncy and chewy that you can pick it up with your fingers to enjoy, much like a brownie or bar cookie. There’s just something so comforting and satisfying about it.
Its unusual texture comes from the fact that it’s made with mochiko flour or sweet rice flour that’s easily available on the shelf at Japanese markets. It is cooked glutinous rice that’s ground so finely that it resembles cornstarch. That also makes butter mochi naturally gluten-free.
They sure don’t call it butter mochi for nothing. It is very buttery. The batter is made with a cube of butter that’s melted, plus 3 cups of milk (I used 2 percent) and five whole eggs.
I like it best the day it’s baked because it comes out of the oven with a crispy top and edges, which makes for a nice contrast from the smooth, soft, sticky interior. The butter mochi will keep for days in a covered container or you can even freeze some to enjoy another time.
There are many recipes for butter mochi online. Some call for coconut milk or evaporated milk, which would make for an even richer rendition. Others are sprinkled with coconut for more sweetness and texture. Some even call for a dash of rum or whiskey. There are even recipes for chocolate butter mochi and pumpkin butter mochi.
Esperas and Stout, who is half Japanese and remembers pounding mochi by hand in Japan with his relatives, swear by this basic version.
It’s definitely a winner in my book.
And damned, if I don’t succumb to another piece.
(Makes 1 large pan or at least 24 pieces)
1 pound mochiko flour (1 box)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 cups milk
5 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder.
In a medium bowl, combine butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.
Mix wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour until golden brown.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into small squares with a sharp knife. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
From Taryn Esperas
I never tried mochi let alone butter mochi before,…so I lust change that! This butter mochi looks very interesting & truly appetizing too!
New dish to me, and one I should get acquainted with. Butter Mochi looks so great! I’d definitely gorge myself. 😉
Yes, growing up in Hawaii you see butter mochi has a popular pot luck option. Someone’s always bound to bring a plate of it! I agree, it’s best eaten fresh out of the oven. They never seem to last more than a day. In Hawaii, the best treats are always the ones that are basic and easy to make!
Omg that looks so good. Wish I had some right now!
(And here I thought we were friends.)
Chef, Carolyn, what have you done??!
That looks ever so good. A fantastic treat.
I always use Mochiko but I’ve never used it this way. What a great idea and I would definitely try your recipe. Thank you.
Sometimes my mom makes a chocolate version too…either way it’s divine. Thanks for this post!
I said “must try,” and indeed I did. Thanks for this tip, Carolyn.
Easy to make once you get the secret ingredient. The texture of moshi is not for everyone but the flavor of buttery custard is terrific. I liken it to butter gummy bears! In a good way.
You’re right — best while still warm, as the edges and top are crispy.
Oh, and one more comment: I made a half recipe using an 8×8 pan. Worked perfectly and that way, I can make the other half another day and have it twice in the still-warm state!
Moe: “Butter gummy bears” — I LOVE that description. No wonder I like butter mochi so much then. I am a fiend for gummi bears. I can polish off a bag of those like nobody’s business. 😉
Just made a batch of this and realized that it was similar to bibingka, a Filipino dessert that has the same bouncy custard texture, but uses coconut and condensed milk instead. The butter mochi was very easy to make and I loved the buttery taste. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Row: How interesting that it’s similar to a Filipino dessert, too. But then again, Hawaiian cuisine is such a blend of cultures, I can see the connection.
I have made this countless times. As written or sometimes I grab a cup of the batter and stir in a teaspoon of matcha or some high quality cocoa powder or even melted semi sweet chocolate- and then drizzle&swirl that batter into the butter mochi batter already in the pan. You can get creative, use nut butter/nut flour in the batter that you swirl, even fruit puree or jam/jelly, fruit powder/chopped dehydrated fruit, thick puree of sweet coconut meat , or something streusel-like–build it into the cup of batter you removed. Delicious!
Or a double decker, use the denser butter mochi recipe as the base, topped with the lighter Chocolate Butter Mochi recipe. I just use half the batter for each layer.
SaramcinKY: OMG! Those additions sound amazing. I especially like the idea of doing one layer of each. I think it is going to be dangerous when I make my next batch, as I’ll just want to eat it all! 😉
This is a really great recipe. There’s only one problem in both times I’ve made this there’s a layer of melted fat on top that is really annoying. Help!!!
E.Cho: Are you mixing all the ingredients really well? And pouring the mixture into the pan, and putting it into the oven immediately? This is definitely a rich treat, in which some of the fat will float to the top as it bakes. But this is also what helps the top and edges crisp up. There shouldn’t be a pool of fat on the top after baking. I am glad you are a newfound fan of the butter mochi, though. For me, it was definitely love at first bite.
Can someone help me please, the corner of the mochi rises a lot higher than normal. What an I doing wrong? It still taste amazing and the recipe is great! Thanks for your time.
Jenny: Did you mix your batter together thoroughly? If so, it could be that your oven heats unevenly or runs hot. Also, did you bake the butter mochi on the center rack of your oven? Whatever the reason, I’m glad the butter mochi still tasted great and that you enjoyed it so much.
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My original recipe wanted 2 1/4 extra rice flour, yours did not which made the cooking time ridiculous, over 2 hrs which burnt most of it. Tried lowering heat. Not sure how others are successful with this recipe.
Hi Tina: After our email correspondence, I see that you’ve been using a different butter mochi recipe from a friend that has more of the mochiko flour in it than this one, and that this was your first time trying my posted recipe in your new oven. The fact that it took so long for it to firm up makes me think your oven calibration might be off. Here’s a useful link on how to check that: https://fatdaddios.com/inspiration/it-really-350%C2%B0-f-my-oven I hope that does the trick and that there is plenty more delicious butter mochi in your future. 😉
Could the batter be frozen and then thawed to bake later?
Hi S: I’ve frozen the actual baked butter mochi to enjoy later. That works fine, though, you will no longer have the crispy edges. I have not tried freezing the batter, itself. I don’t know if I would recommend that. It only takes a couple minutes to whip up the batter, so I think it’s best to just bake it once you stir everything together.