So I’m back from Mexico after three weeks and my brain is still reeling a little. I have a lot to share but this is not that post. Things I’m enjoying right now include: not paying to use the restroom, brushing my teeth with tap water, and sleeping in my own bed. I arrived home late Saturday night and immediately unpacked all of my treasures from the trip and set them out on the kitchen table like this. Don’t worry, more than half of that stuff is for classroom use, but some, is indeed, for my own personal consumption.
Sunday morning, I went to church and came home like a haunted woman, longing for some of my favorite tastes from Mexico. I realized how much of a paradigm shift took place when I saw the bowl of nectarines in my dinning room table and immediately thought of making Agua Fresca with them. Not what I would normally do with nectarines! I proceeded to toast some chiles pasilla to make salsa for dinner which I doused over a fried egg, avocado slices and chips. Then, I dug out my concha recipe from my recipe folder, measured all of the ingredients carefully into my stand mixer, kneaded like crazy and had some sweet dough resting in the fridge within 30 minutes. Finally, I moved on to the sugar toppings and made five flavors of concha toppings: chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon brown sugar, matcha and a top secret flavor.
The conchas were a big hit with John and my neighbors, but I am still working on the previously mentioned top secret concha flavor, so I am not sharing that recipe with you quite yet. Instead, you get to try these delicious dulce de leche mochi bars! That’s right. Dulce de leche mochi bars are a thing and you can be gobbling some up in under 1 hour. After you get yourself to Hmart for some mochiko and you also stop by the Hispanic foods aisle and get some dulce de leche that is–so maybe a little bit longer than an hour–but still, these dulce de leche mochi bars are very easy to make and utterly delicious.
Before we move forward, let me say: I love mochi. If you have not been introduced to this delicious, Japanese rice cake, you are seriously missing out. Something about the plump, gummy texture and powdery coating makes me smile every time. There are many variants of mochi, even within Japanese food, but most commonly when I hear mochi, I think of mochi balls filled with bean paste and sometimes ice cream.
I don’t remember my first introduction to mochi. Perhaps it was in the form of small mochi balls served as a topping at my favorite fro yo place back when that was a thing. Or maybe it was one of my Korean friends who introduced me to “mochi” in the form of tteok, a Korean rice cake made with various grains, the most commonly used being short grain glutinous rice.
However I came to try mochi, it has quickly become one of my favorite treats. I love the subtle sweetness of treats made with glutinous rice flour like the mochi bars I am sharing with you today. The base recipe for the dulce de leche mochi bars came from my mother-in-law. She made these mochi bars, which she calls chapssal cake, for us one day and I loved how easy it was to make them and how delicious and chewy the bars were. After one bite, I immediately asked my mother-in-law for the recipe. I still have that email bookmarked and often make these when I need an easy dessert.
The dulce de leche addition came about recently because I love dulce the leche anything. After trying it on top of the mochi bars I decided to add it directly into the batter. The result was a swirly bar with caramelized edges where de dulce the leche was incorporated into the batter and baked touching an edge, a sweet addition to an already amazing recipe.
If you’re unsure about the dulce de leche, try the base vanilla recipe below first and see what you think. My friends love these and I hope you do too. Please let me know if you try these in the comments, and let me know if you have any new flavor suggestions.
Notes: You should know that these bars may feel a little goopier than normal when they’re done baking, and that is OK since the rice flour in the recipe yields that gummy, mochi texture we all love. These keep well in the fridge and firm up with each passing day. If you find them too firm the next day, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften.
Dulce de Leche Mochi Bars:
Yields: however many bars you cut them into
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1lb Mochiko, or any other sweet rice glutinous flour + ¼ cup
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 cups of milk
- ¼ cup of melted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt (only if butter is unsalted)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 cup of dulce de leche, more for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Plain Vanilla Mochi batter: Mix 1lb of sweet rice flour, sugar, egg, milk , vanilla and salt. Then, add melted butter. Stir to incorporate, when the batter is a thick and uniform in consistency put one cup of batter aside for the dulce the leche swirl.
- Dulce de Leche batter: Take the reserved cup of plain mochi batter, add 1 cup of dulce de leche and ¼ cup of mochiko. Mix thoroughly.
- Alternate dropping dollops of the dulce de leche and vanilla mochi batter into your baking pan. Then create swirls using a knife or chopstick.
- Bake at 375 for 50 minutes. Mochi bars may seem a little soft and goopy and this is OK; they will get firmer over time.