Things have been crazy busy around here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. October-November is my least favorite stretch of the year. It’s slow, it’s hard and it seems to never end but once it’s over, the school year gets significantly easier and I am able to do normal people things like go to the gym every now and then, eat meals that consist of something other than cereal and maybe even share a little something with you.
Today I am sharing a second mochi bar recipe and my holiday gift guide for foodies! AKA What I want my husband to buy me for Christmas (hint, hint). I’m starting with humble gifts and working my way up to a bigger splurges. Some of these are favorites that I already own and others are things I still dream of purchasing.
TSK Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies
- Bench Scraper: I cringe every time I see someone scraping up onions or tomatoes off their cutting board with a knife. Not only does it make a bad sound but it also dulls your knife! Bench scrapers can be used to clean up your cutting board, to get straight lines on a cake, or to perfectly divide dough into equal portions. A cheap but awesome gift.
- Off set spatula: not just helpful for frosting cakes but also for getting perfect swooshes to hold your oil drizzles on hummus and other delectable spreads. I use this pretty often.
- Scale: I bought this after a pasta class this spring and it has been game changing. I find that it makes baking much faster because I can just pour everything into a bowl and stop once it reaches the right weight. Perfect for a pasta or pan dulce aficionado.
- The Fearless Baker Cookbook: The second cookbook I’ve ever pre-ordered because of this trailer (*drools*). I made three recipes in the first week I bought the book and they’ve all been excellent! I love the pro tips and diagrams that Erin includes for each recipe. It helps me to feel confident tackling complex recipes like her delicious Caramel Cider Pie which I made twice last week. Recipe in cookbook and also here.
- Pastry Board: OK. So I don’t actually own this one (yet) but I’ve been wanting one for two years. First, as a photo prop, and now, many pies and pastries later, as a super useful tool for making pastries. It makes rolling dough and pastries out smooth and easy because it helps to keep things cool. And also it makes for really beautiful food photography.
- Pepper Grinder: When I got married I was not as much of a foodie as I am now and I really regret not putting a nice pepper grinder on my registry. I did get a pretty nice one anyway (thanks Micah!) but if I did it again I would do something like this or this. Something as simple as freshly ground pepper instead of the pre-ground stuff will make your food tastier and will add delicious texture to your food.
- Gift Card for a cooking class: I started taking cooking classes this year and they have totally revolutionized my confidence in the kitchen. There are so many small tips that can only be learned from experts. I find that the most useful advice is often in the small details that they might not even know they’re sharing. Like the subtle flick of a hand when dropping a tortilla onto a hot comal. Or the precise motion needed to roll a small ball of dough into a perfect boule. Or adding pasta water to your oil sauce to prevent your garlic from over crisping. Just small nuggets of brilliance. I really loved this cooking class in somerville. I’ve been dying to try a class at Eataly. And if you have a smaller budget I’ve taken to Craftsy cooking classes this past month and they were so enlightening!
- Kitchenaid Artisan Mini: I got the black one as a birthday gift and it has been game changing, in a good and bad way. The downside is that I’ve gone up a pant size since receiving it. The upside is that I’ve been baking a lot more! It’s so nice to just be able to make a cake on a whim. I especially love the small footprint of this appliance. It’s possible to beat a single egg white or ½ cup of whipped cream due to the deep bowl. Plus, it’s easy to move around but you won’t have to because it takes such little space on your counter top that you can permanently keep it out. One word of caution, if you double recipes often you should go for a bigger mixer.
All of these are excellent gifts but perhaps one of my favorite gifts to give or receive is a tin of Christmas baked goodies. These Matcha Mochi Brownie bites would be the perfect gift for any lucky friend or colleague. The crumbly swirls of chocolate brownie contrast perfectly with the gooey matcha mochi swirls and drizzled with dark chocolate ganache they are pure bliss.
They came before the dulce the leche mochi bars and they are in some ways my favorite mochi bars. A word of caution about matcha: Remember that matcha is green tea and that it has caffeine! One time John and I ate too many of these and we stayed up until 6 AM eating ramen. That was the day we learned nothing is open after midnight within a 20 minute radius of our house. Also, when buying matcha, make sure you buy green tea powder and not whole tea leaves in sachets, unless chunks of green tea in your white mochi bars is your cup of tea (so cheesy, I know, but I had to do it).
Check out the recipe below and let me know if you make them or if you buy someone a gift from the list above!
Matcha Mochi Brownie Bars
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Matcha Mochi Batter
- 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 heaping tablespoon matcha powder
Adapted from Epicurious Fudgy Double-Chocolate Brownies Recipe
- 3 Sticks unsalted butter
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Matcha Mochi batter: Mix 1lb of sweet rice flour, matcha, sugar, egg, milk , vanilla and salt. Then, add melted butter. Stir until you have a uniform and thick batter.
- Brownie batter: Combine 3 sticks of butter, chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments mixing each time until combined. Set aside.
- Whip eggs sugar and salt on high speed until tripled in size. Then fold eggs mixture into chocolate mixture in three batches being careful to keep the volume. Add sifted flour in a few small batches taking care not to over beat.
- Alternate dropping dollops of the matcha mochi batter and the brownie batter into your greased 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.