December 6, 2011

Salt-Free Mochi Muffins

Sometimes you don’t want to haul the mixer out from the bottom cupboard, up to the counter, only to spill flour and sugar on the floor, to then clean up the mess, and the mixer bowl, to finally lug the whole shebang back into that bottom cupboard. Which is now filled with sheet pans and tupperware that fell when you took that ginormous thing out in the first place.

(Welcome to my kitchen)

Sometimes all that work is worth a moist muffin or a fluffy cupcake or a fresh loaf of chocolate zucchini bread. But for me, I’d usually rather find something else to snack on. Especially when taking my baking record into account.

Sodium Girl: 1. Baked Goods: Every other attempt.

After a recent trip to the grocery store, though, I discovered that I no longer have to choose between ease and baked goods.

I can now have that muffin in a matter of minutes. Without the mixer. Or the mess. Or the unintentional dead lifts. Or the sodium.

Meet mochi.

It is a Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice that is cooked, molded into shape (usually square or round), and eaten throughout the year as a snack in many different countries. Which apparently now includes the US. Thank goodness.

The most familiar use of mochi may perhaps be mochi ice cream, where flavors of green tea, mango, strawberry, and chocolate hide inside a blanket of the rice cake.

But mochi can show up everywhere from candies to soups. And in my kitchen, this mochi turned into a muffin.

According to the package, when baked, the rice cake puffs up, turning a bit crispy on the outside while keeping a soft, almost chewier interior. The particular mochi I found at my store came in a large sheet that was about two inches thick. And because mine was a sweetened version, I decided to play up the sugar by slathering the tops with melted unsalted butter, brown sugar, and some fall-friendly spice blends (like pumpkin spice and cinnamon). Oh, and some sesame seeds too.

A few minutes in the oven (15 to be exact) and the cubes puffed just as promised. And after a quick bite, it was clear that these mochi cubes really do take on a muffin-like texture.

Even more surprising, though, was the fact that the mochi muffins kept there shape for several hours. I fully expected them to deflate or get soggy and cold. But they stayed satisfying long enough for me to share them with my neighors.

So the next time you want the muffin without the work, grab some mochi blocks and curb those cravings without having to lift a finger. Or at least a mixer.

Chow on.

mochi massage December 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

mochi power! this looks super amazing. (fyi, our pumpkin “pie” this thanksgiving was actually baked pumpkin mochi) p.s. i heart sodiumgirl’s new digs on the interwebs!

Janet Owyang December 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

I live in Hayward. Where is the closest store for mochi sheets?

jessg23 December 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

My Whole Foods carries it – here is the company’s website so you can either ask your grocer to carry it or order online!

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