Cinnamon Mochi Triangles (Yatsuhashi)

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When my sister’s friend visited from Japan, he brought a box of delicious mochi triangles filled with red bean and matcha green tea paste.  I just had to make them myself, with a few modifications for my friends with food allergies.  The combination of mochi and vanilla pudding filling (to avoid beans) creates an intriguing flavor.  You can probably use pastry cream or ice cream too.

The shiratamako and joshinko flours are unusual, but you can find them in a Japanese grocery store.  Otherwise, just use mochiko flour, although the original recipe warns that the texture will be different.

Original recipe

 

Cinnamon Mochi Triangles (Yatsuhashi)
Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Yield: 8-10 mochi triangles

  • Scant ¼ cup (30 g) shiratamako OR mochiko flour
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon water
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon (60 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons (50 g) joshinko rice flour OR more mochiko if you can’t find joshinko
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup (150 g) red bean paste (anko) OR a package of cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • Soybean powder (kinako) OR rice flour, for dusting work surface

 

  1. If using vanilla pudding for the filling, prepare this now, following directions on the package.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine shiratamako and water.  The shiratamako looks very coarse, but the lumps dissolve will quickly.
  3. Whisk until there are no more lumps of flour.
  4. With a spatula, mix in sugar and joshinko, until the mixture is smooth and you can see the bottom of the bowl for a second when you draw a line.  If necessary, add a little more water.
  5. To cook the mochi mixture, you can use a microwave or steam it on the stove.

    To microwave it, cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap, adjust microwave power to about 700W, and microwave for 1.5 minutes.  Stir mixture with a wet spatula, cover again, and microwave for another 1-1.5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and sticky.

    To steam the mochi mixture on the stove, put a steamer rack in a large pot, fill the bottom of the pot with water, and bring to a boil.  Place bowl on steamer rack, making sure that the water won’t flood into the bowl.  Wrap the pot lid with a kitchen towel so that condensation won’t drop into the mixture, cover pot, and steam for 12-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and sticky.

  6. Dust a work surface with soybean powder OR rice flour.
  7. Flatten the dough somewhat, sprinkle with cinnamon, and knead it in.
  8. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin, roughly rectangular sheet and cut out 3″ x 3″ squares.  They will look like wonton wrappers.
  9. Knead and roll out the dough scraps to cut more squares.
  10. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each square and fold in half diagonally.
  11. Pinch edges together gently, wetting them with water to seal if necessary.
  12. Store at room temperature for up to 1 day.  (Putting them in the refrigerator will make the mochi hard.)

 

 

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Jelly Cookies

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These jelly cookies are deliciously buttery, topped with a dollop of your favorite jelly or fruit preserves.  The gluten-free ones are more crumbly, of course, but they survive stacking pretty well and you can bring them to potlucks.

Original recipe

 

Jelly Cookies
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 36 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR white sugar plus a dollop of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite jelly or preserves (such as raspberry preserves or marmalade)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease baking sheets or line with aluminum foil.
  2. Beat the butter with the sugars.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Beat in the baking powder.
  5. Beat in the flour.  The gluten-free dough is wet and sticky, so you could refrigerate it for a few minutes.  It’s not necessary though.
  6. Form dough into 1-inch balls, gently flatten, and place on baking sheets.  Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  7. Make an indentation in each cookie and fill with jelly or preserves.  (I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon per cookie for the gluten-free cookies.)
  8. Bake for about 14 minutes if gluten free, 12-15 minutes if using normal flour.  Right out of the oven, the gluten-free cookies are fragile, so leave them on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes to harden before you move them.

Allspice Muffins

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These muffins are tasty with or without a streusel topping.  For the gluten-free ones, I recommend skipping the topping, because it’s too heavy and will sink into the muffins.  In the picture above, the back two muffins’ topping has sunk into the batter and isn’t even visible.

 

Allspice Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffins:

  • 2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar OR white sugar plus a dollop of molasses
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (preferably containing some fat, but skim works too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)

For the streusel topping (optional):

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar OR white sugar plus a dollop of molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Grease muffin tin or line with paper cups.  Place muffin tin on a baking sheet.
  2. If using streusel topping, combine the flour, sugar, and allspice in a small bowl.  Sift through your fingers to mix, then add butter bits.  Use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have irregularly shaped crumbs.  Set in refrigerator.  (You can store the streusel, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, and salt.
  4. Stir in sugar (and molasses, if using).  Make sure there are no lumps.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla together.
  6. Pour liquid mix into dry mixture and stir gently but quickly to blend.  The batter will be lumpy.
  7. Stir in lemon zest, if using.
  8. Divide batter among muffin cups.
  9. If using streusel topping, sprinkle some of it over each muffin and gently press it into the batter.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  11. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins.  Cool muffins before eating so the allspice flavor can settle in.

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Chocolate and cream cheese lovers, this one is for you!  They’re basically chocolate cupcakes with a big dollop of chocolate chip-studded cream cheese in the middle.  The gluten-free ones turn out flatter than the ones with gluten, as you might expect, but they still taste good, which is what matters!

Original recipe

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For cream cheese mixture:

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

For chocolate cupcake base:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar OR rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line muffin tins with paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  5. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
  6. Stir together until well blended.
  7. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes if using gluten-free flour, or for 25-30 minutes if using normal flour.