If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be mochi. Mochi – those sticky, chewy, faintly sweet glutinous rice cakes – are found in different iterations across Asia. In Korean, the word for mochi is dduk, pronounced like the bird. The Japanese name is so much more kawaii, but I’m pretty sure Koreans have more kinds of mochi than anyone else. That’s a completely unverified (and obviously unbiased) statement. I’m just basing that on how many different kinds of mochi I’ve sampled in my life, which is more than anyone should admit out loud. My last recipe for songpyeon was a mochi recipe and there are still more to come. I love mochi so much I named my old cat Mochi – may he rest in peace, dear sweet Mochi.
This recipe is a tried and true American version of mochi, what happens when you take your favourite chocolate chip cookie and mash it up with my favourite mochi. It's basically a chocolate chip cookie that happens to be made with rice flour, giving it a chewy, stretchy squidginess that I love. It's based on a baked mochi cake that came out of the Los Angeles Korean community and to me epitomizes what it means to be a Korean American. You take two great things, mash them up together and you have a sum of the parts that is quite different and even more wonderful (again unbiased). The recipe for the mochi cake is from one of the original Korean food blogs, Beyond Kimchee, which I've been enjoying for years.
When I’ve made the cookies for friends, they tend to freak out. Like, eat a whole tray in 10 minutes kind of freaking out. So it’s almost embarrassing how simple they are to make. You need one bowl, a wooden spoon and a baking sheet. I’m hardly a baker, so one bowl baking is my go-to kind of baking. And since this recipe is made with rice flour, these cookies are also gluten-free – win for all my gluten-intolerant and coeliac friends out there.
I call these my everthing mochi cookies, because like the tried-and-true everything bagel, you can mix in everything and anything you want to the batter. Here, I’ve added toasted coconut, dark chocolate chips and pine nuts. But in the past, I’ve also used all of the dregs from various bags of nuts and seeds and thrown them in.
Because the autumn where I am feels like the summer in most other places, I made these cookies into ice cream sandwiches. I used the vanilla ice cream recipe I’ve been using for years by Thomas Keller that uses 10 egg yolks, and for that reason is the ice cream custard of my dreams. With the neverending summer, these mochi cookies stuffed with ice cream are really everything.
Everything Mochi Cookies
Based on a recipe by Beyond Kimchee / Makes about 12 cookies
140g glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice flour)
80g coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25g pine nuts (roasted, coarsely chopped)
25g shredded coconut (toasted)
50g dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375ºF / 180ºC. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Mix in the nuts, coconut and chocolate chips or whatever add-ins you’re using.
Scoop the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the parchment paper, leaving space in between for the cookies to expand. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the tops are nicely browned and crisp. The insides should still be gooey and stretchy.
These should be eaten the same day, or ideally hot from the oven. Unless you’re turning them into ice cream sandwiches. Then you do have to restrain yourself and wait for them to cool.