Ever since discovering the joys of butter mochi on a trip to Honolulu a few years ago, I’ve become rather obsessed with it.
Made with copious amounts of butter, eggs, whole milk or condensed milk, what’s not to adore?
It bakes up so easily into buttery, bouncy brilliance, too.
In supermarkets and mom-and-pop grocery stores in Hawaii, you’ll find that basic version, plus loads more — coconut butter mochi, chocolate-chip butter mochi, even peanut-butter butter mochi.
And of course, the piece de resistance, chocolate butter mochi. Oh, yes!
After getting rather hooked on baking regular butter mochi at home, I couldn’t wait to turn my attention to the chocolate version, especially when I spied a recipe for it in the new “Flavors of Aloha: Cooking with Tommy Bahama” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. The recipes are by veteran cookbook writer, Rick Rodgers.
I admit that I’ve always associated Tommy Bahama with its tropical print shirts. I didn’t even realize the company had restaurants, too.
Featured in this cookbook are more than 100 recipes with true island flair, from “Crispy Sriracha Shrimp” to “Kalua Pulled-Pork Sandwiches” to “Pina Colada Cake.”
But back to chocolate butter mochi, shall we?
What gives butter mochi its unmistakable texture is mochiko or flour made from finely ground sweet rice. Find it easily in boxes on the shelf at Japanese or Asian markets.
It’s naturally gluten-free. So butter mochi made completely with mochiko is ideal for folks who can’t tolerate gluten. The more mochiko in the batter and the more eggs, the more springy it will be, too.
For instance, my original foray into butter mochi-making was with a recipe that an entire box of mochiko plus 5 eggs. The result was a lovely texture that was like a dense, chewy, eggy custard that friend Moe Rubenzahl described delightfully as “gummi bear-ish” when he made it.
Because Rodgers’ recipe uses a little less mochiko and three fewer eggs, this chocolate butter mochi bakes up lighter with a more cake-like texture that has a bit of buoyancy to it.
It looks and smells like chocolate cake when it bakes in the pan. It gets those crisp edges like a brownie. And it tastes like rich devil’s food cake.
It’s not super sweet, even though it has a generous amount of sugar. You can serve it all fancy with a shower of confectioners’ sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. But I like it best how butter mochi is intended to be eaten — simply cut into squares, eaten out of hand.
Yes, I do have a serious addiction to both regular and chocolate butter mochi.
I can’t help myself.
Best friends forever – indeed.
Chocolate Butter Mochi
(Makes 12 to 15 servings)
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut up
6 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
One (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
One (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Confectioners’s sugar, for serving
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate. Let the mixture stand until the chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Sift the rice flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Add to the chocolate mixture and whisk just until smooth. Spread evenly in the baking pan.
Bake until the mochi top is shiny and the batter feels barely set in the center when pressed gently with your fingertips, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. (The mochi can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
To make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer on high speed or a whisk, whip the ingredients together in a chilled medium bowl until stiff peaks form.
Cut the mochi into squares. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top and serve with the whipped cream.
From “Flavors of Aloha: Cooking with Tommy Bahama”
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