A very special momma friend of mine is about to have another baby, and this very special momma happens to love mochi. So when the opportunity came up to make favors for her baby shower, I just knew that I had to make it.
I’ll tell you right now: Making mochi is NOT EASY. I don’t care how many blog posts on the world wide web tell you how simple it is, I spent the better part of the week trying to make these work. My inspiration came from here, and after I saw those gorgeous balls of pink + green, I immediately pictured them as a tasty treat in honor of a darling new baby. But wow – that recipe did not work for me. Despite following all the instructions, my mochi came out of the microwave looking like the inside of a cement truck.
Thank goodness I found this Cocoa Mochi recipe on the side of the Sweet Rice Flour box! After my failed attempt, I decided to give the Mochiko box recipe a shot. Boy, am I glad I did! It turned out exactly the way it was supposed to, and it tasted so good! But the cocoa mochi wasn’t exactly the best wrapper for the traditional red bean paste I had planned on filling my original mochi with … so I started thinking about alternate fillings. I had some peanut butter in the fridge, and that worked GREAT (Imagine an Asian twist on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Amazing, right?) and then I sliced a banana, and that was delicious as well! But I needed to make these the night before, and I knew the bananas wouldn’t hold up so well, and I was hesitant of peanut butter since there’s been a recent recall and didn’t want to cause any distress. As soon as the Nutella came to mind, I knew that was the answer!
I wish I could claim the brilliant of idea of this pairing as my very own, but upon googling it, I found tons of Nutella + Cocoa Mochi combinations. (Whatevs. I’m still a total genius in my own mind.) I did find a brilliant suggestion online to stick the Nutella in the freezer first, and if you decide to try making this mochi – definitely freeze the Nutella. I used a melon baller to make small scoops, and then I put them in the freezer for about an hour. This made wrapping the filling SO MUCH EASIER (Don’t worry, the Nutella doesn’t stay frozen and hard forever. It’s still creamy, gooey and delicious inside upon first bite).
Prepare your Nutella filling first. Then get started on making your mochi.
(Click here for Koda Farms’ Easy Cocoa Mochi recipe)
Okay — here is where I had to stray from the instructions a little bit:
- Use a Silpat mat instead of a baking pan. Seriously. The mat makes this much easier. Borrow one from a friend. Put it on your wedding registry. Or, just buy one (you’ll love it). I’m totally not joking. The Silpat mat was what finally helped me pull these off.
- Generously douse 1/3 of the mat with extra sweet rice flour or cornstarch (Have a ton more to the side to keep replenishing the mat with flour/cornstarch, too). Reserve the remaining area of the mat to pour the steaming hot mochi onto once this stuff comes out of the microwave. Pour it out directly onto the mat, and try and smooth it out as best you can with a spatula sprayed with non-stick spray. Be careful — it is so hot! Let it cool just enough so you can touch it, and then sprinkle the top of the mixture lightly with cocoa powder.
- Let the mochi sit for a bit. Then, after testing to make sure it won’t scald the palm of your hand, start peeling and tearing small pieces from the glob of mochi on the mat to work with.
Here’s the next tip: Use a ton of flour or cornstarch to always keep your hands powdered with. Yep, still not joking. You need to have your hands powdered at all times, cause this stuff is sticky … and messy … and will get into every crevice possible if you don’t have your hands powdered. I would rub my hands on the powdered part of the mat before I touched a new piece of mochi every time. Trust me. It’s all about the powder.
To roll the mochi:
- Tear a small piece from the glob on your mat, and manipulate in your hand until you’ve got a small pancake looking piece in your palm.
- Put a scoop of the chilled Nutella in the center of the mochi.
- Wrap the edges around the Nutella until it’s covered. Then, roll and pinch until the Nutella scoop is concealed and you’ve got a nice ball. Place the ball in a mini cupcake wrapper to make it extra special.
Tip: It doesn’t hurt to dust with more flour/cornstarch after you’ve got the filling covered up and you’re working it into a ball. I think the flour makes it look more delicate, and to be honest – the cocoa mochi is brown, and sorta thick … you want these treats to look appetizing and you don’t want them being mistaken for something else that is thick and brown (just saying). Also, I made mine on the smaller side since the flavor combination is pretty rich … just a bite sized ball of heaven that tastes like chocolate with Nutella inside is all you need. Think of these as a take on delicious chocolatey hazelnut Japanese truffles and size accordingly.
After they were finished, I wrapped two pieces inside a treat bag, and attached a little tag I made that said, “Yay for Babies and Mochi!” I kept the bags in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, and they were ready for the party the next day.
I got rave reviews, and most importantly — this very special momma was very happy!