Strawberry Red Bean Mochi

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These are amazing. Strawberries, wrapped in red bean paste (azuki bean paste), wrapped in mochi. It sounds hard, but its like super duper duper easy. Its like wrapping presents, strawberry presents resembling pretty little snowballs. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sized strawberries
  • 180g Cooked red beans and 2 Tbsp Canola oil OR 150g red bean paste
  • 100g glutinous rice flour OR 95g Mochiko rice flour and 5g corn starch
  • 20g sugar (preferably caster sugar)
  • 150ml water
  • 25g corn starch for dusting

Non-Food things:

  • Fine sieve
  • Scale
  • Rubber spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Shallow pan

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Okay, I started by turning my cooked red beans into red bean paste. I asked my local Taiwanese tea shop for some cooked red beans because I didn’t want to bother cooking them myself. By the time I decide I need red beans or red bean paste, I have no patience to soak and cook a batch of red beans. So I got about some in a to-go cup. Yay for shortcuts.

I poured the red beans into a fine sieve and smashing the red beans through with the back of a spoon. I wanted to keep the red bean skins out of the paste so I’d get a smooth paste. I used the same spoon to scrape the paste off the back of the sieve and collected it in a small bowl.

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This paste comes out too liquidy to use for wrapping strawberries, so to create true red bean paste, fried up the paste in a pan using canola oil. This helps evaporate the liquid and works some fat into paste to help it solidify.

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I fried it up until the red bean resembled a runny-ish paste. Since its super hot, it won’t solidfy quite yet but it will look more paste-y than before frying. I transferred the hot paste back into the bowl, covered it in plastic wrap, and let it sit in the freezer to cool.

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While the red bean paste was chilling in the freezer, I prepped the strawberries. I washed and cut off the leafy stuff off the tops of the strawberries. I just cut it off with a knife to get a flat base. I also patted them as dry as possible with a paper towel.

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These kinda made me want to eat them. I held out for something better. I pulled the red bean paste out of the freezer after about 45 minutes, mixed it up, and divided it into 6 equal blobs about 20g each.

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Next, I took one blog and put it in my hand and smashed it into a round pancake about the size of my hand.

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I placed the strawberry in the center and wrapped the red bean up around the sides of the strawberry, making sure to leave the tip of the strawberry uncovered.

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It takes some finagling but just work the paste around the strawberry with the palms of your hands to try and get even coverage around the strawberry.

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I set these aside (don’t they kinda look like chocolate dipped strawberries?) and began working on the mochi. This is way less daunting than you think and its done in the microwave. Its crazy how easy this is.

I didn’t have glutinous rice flour, but I had rice flour (Mochiko) on hand. After some Googling, I found out that you can add some corn starch to make it glutinous rice flour, but had no instructions on what the ratio should be. How annoying. I guessed and went with 5g of cornstarch to 95g of rice flour. It worked. Lucky me.

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Okay, to this mixture, I added 20g of caster sugar. I opted for caster sugar or baking sugar because I wanted to make sure the mochi wouldn’t be grainy from regular granulated sugar. I used a fork (because I have no whisk) and mixed up all the ingredients.

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Tip: I do this on my scale (zero-ing out the scale between ingredients) and I love doing it this way. WAY less measuring cups and its so easy to just pour ingredients in. Also, you get WAY more accurate measurements.

Next, I added the water in three parts. Usually I’m pretty impatient about this and end up dumping all the liquid in at once, but for some reason I did it in three parts like the recipe said and I’m glad I did. Why? Because you get tons of lumpies and this helps you work in the liquid and minimizing lumpies. Here’s a series of water additions:

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Mix thoroughly between additions. Look! No lumpies!

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This next part was super weird to me when I read the instructions. Trust me. It works. Just go with it.

I took a wet paper towel (wrung out for extra water) and placed it over the bowl. I popped it into the microwave on high for 60 seconds.

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I uncovered the mixture, and mixed it up thoroughly with a spatula I dipped in water. Its significantly gooey-er so the wet spatula keep sit from sticking.

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After thoroughly mixing, I recovered it with the wet paper towel and put it back into the microwave for another 60 seconds on high.

It comes out even gooey-er than before.

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Again, dip the spatula in water and mix it up. I had to re-wet my paper towel this time around. I covered the bowl and popped it back into the microwave, only for 30 seconds on high this time.

Voila. Mochi.

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I transferred the mochi from the bowl onto a plate dusted with corn starch and rolled the ball in it to make it unsticky. Sticky mochi is SUPER hard to work with. You will see. I also divided the big blob up into 6 pieces. I eyeballed this.

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I covered my hand with corn starch and picked up a blog. You might need to re-dust your hand with cornstarch. I did. This stuff is SOOOO sticky. I stretched the mochi out into a circle-ish shape and placed the red bean paste covered strawberry in the center.

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I picked up one side of the mochi and stretched it over the tip of the strawberry.

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Repeat until the strawberry is covered in mochi. I pinched all the pieces together at the top. This takes some practice, but it gets easier.

Tip: Keep your hands and everything dusted in cornstarch at all times. Sticky mochi leads to disaster.

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Here’s what it looks like cut open.

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It was SO good. Om nom nom nom.

Sharpie Dog Bowls

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My dog, Sammy, has had the same doggie bowls since the day we brought him home nearly 6 years ago. Time for an upgrade just in time for Christmas. I found these square bowls at Home Goods a few weeks ago and thought they’d be perfect for Sammy’s new bowls. Obviously the bowls needed some sharpie accents. Here’s what you’ll need to make these sharpie dog bowls:

  1. Ceramic Bowl(s)
  2. Sharpie (color of your choice)
  3. Rubbing Alcohol
  4. Cotton Balls or Tissue

I found some fonts online and decided to just freehand it. It just seemed like too much work to trace or figure out how to transfer a copied font. I basically started with the middle letter in the center then moved outwards towards each side. So that method’s not fool proof…

Fail 1:

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Fail 2:

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Success!:

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I didn’t worry too much about making it super perfect. After I got the basic shape of the letters down, I thickened up the lettering with a sharpie to fix all the imperfections and crooked parts.

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Next up, the water bowl. I repeated the same process again. This time with the word “thirsty”.

Fail 1:

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Only 1 fail later, success!

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Really, I just wanted the letters to be centered. Low bar. I repeated the same process by thickening up the lettering and fixing up the imperfections.

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To clean up all my screw ups, I put some rubbing alcohol on a tissue and wiped off all the fails. It came off super easy.

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Next, I popped the dishes into the oven, turned it up to 450°F, and let it bake 30 minutes after the oven was done preheating. After 30 minutes of baking, I turned off the oven and let the bowls cool off inside.

I pulled the bowls out of the oven and wiped them down with a wet paper towel to make sure there was no burnt Sharpie residue in them. Tah dah! New doggie bowls for Sammy. He LOVES them. Look at that face!

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The little dog is a craft project the neighbor’s kids made for him. Looks just like him!

Single Serve Vanilla Cupcakes

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Do you ever get a craving for cupcakes, but can’t commit to the 2 dozen regular batch makes? Here’s my answer. Single serve vanilla cupcakes. By single serve, I mean 2 regular size or 3 smaller sized cupcakes. Lets be real. Nobody eats ONE cupcake. That’s ridiculous.

I went Googling for some recipes and found a few I combined into this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 flour
  • 1/4 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp whole milk

Non-Food Things:

  • Cupcake liners
  • Loaf pan/ baking sheet
  • Measuring cups and spoons

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Some recipes said this is a one-bowl recipe. Lies. If you’re melting butter, last, there goes your one bowl. I am all about actually sticking to one bowl. If I’m not creating a whole bunch of dirty dishes, I wash by hand and want to wash as little as possible. That said, start by putting melting the butter in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds on high to melt the butter. Once it comes out, set it aside to cool for a few minutes or if you’re impatient like me, stir it around a bit to cool it faster.

Next, I added the sugar and egg white. and mixed it up with a fork. If you add the egg white before the butter has sufficiently cooled, you’re going to have scrambled egg whites. Don’t do that.

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A note on the sugar: I keep some vanilla sugar around because I LOVE vanilla. WAY more than chocolate. The more vanilla, the better. I keep it in an old Smuckers jar I repurposed (because this is where my mom used to keep the sugar). Its just granulated sugar with some used vanilla pods (vanilla beans scraped out) shoved inside to infuse the sugar. If you don’t have this, regular sugar is fine. It’s just not AS good.

Next, I added vanilla extract. I got mine from Williams Sonoma and its way better than McCormicks stuff you buy at the grocery store. If you’re going to make vanilla cupcakes, use good vanilla.

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Next, I added the flour, baking powder, and salt. Recipes usually tell you to mix this up in a separate bowl, but we’re all about a one-bowl recipe here. Just throw it all in at the same time and mix well.

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Note on the baking powder: The recipe called for a “heaping” 1/4 tsp of baking powder. I thought baking was supposed to be precise. This is how much I used and it worked. I did accidentally use baking soda by accident. That did NOT work. No bueno.

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After I mixed all the dry ingredients into the batter, it was pretty dry. I added the milk and it loosened it up quite a bit.

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I used the same measuring spoon the scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. I got the liners for my birthday in a package of awesome things to use for blogging and things. They’re from Home Goods, but they’re slightly smaller than regular cupcake liners so the recipe makes 3 cupcakes instead of 2 regular sized cupcakes.

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I put the liners into a loaf pan to make transferring them in and out of the oven easier. I made 2 batches, so I have 6 here.

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Bake at 350° for 12-15 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set them aside to cool and frost if you want!

I love cream cheese frosting, so that’s what I used to frost mine before proceeding to devour them all.

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