Togarashi-Walnut Mochi Brownies

I am a more recent eater of the mochi brownie, first having had one from my friend Ann, when she sold them at a pop-up in Venice Beach! And honestly, I am so annoyed that I never had one prior to 2020. Crispy at the edges, super gooey on the insides, it is the perfect blend of butter mochi(which if you have never had, you need to get some), and a gooey, fudgy brownie. And the best part, it is 100% gluten-free! Growing up on Hawaiian butter mochi(I am not Hawaiian, but visited frequently), I just love that QQ(chewy) texture that the mochi gives to a baked good. While it does not work with everything(using 100% mochiko in chiffon cake tends to work… not so well), for anything that is rich, decadent, caramel-y, or fudgy, that gooeyness works perfectly. So in a brownie, mochiko is honestly a godsend. It honestly is a genius idea to use mochiko to make brownies, and I am forever thankful to Ann for that! And thank you to whoever came up with mochi brownies to begin with, because they deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for making arguably one of the best baked goods to ever grace my stomach. Mochi brownies are seriously good enough to stop wars, people.

For this recipe, this is my rendition on a mochi brownie, but using my dear friend, togarashi-walnut crumble. Togarashi-walnut crumble is a component I used in the infamous plate-lick cake, and it is made by roasting walnuts and white chocolate, until the white chocolate is caramelized, then blending that with togarashi(Japanese chili spice blend that also has tangerine peels in it) and salt to make this toasty, salty, sweet, and mildly spicy mixture – it goes beautifully with chocolate and hilariously enough, popcorn! In this case, I am layering up my brownies with dark chocolate and that togarashi-walnut crumble to add fun textural elements throughout the brownie – when eaten chilled, there will be crunchy bits of walnut, roasted white chocolate, and dark chocolate throughout every single bite! From a technical standpoint, I opted to whip the egg whites separately and fold those into the batter, as that will incorporate more air, which in turn, will translate to crispier edges on the brownie. I also used individual square shaped muffin tins, as that means the brownies cook faster and each brownie will have “edges” to them for that crispiness – you can use a larger brownie mold, but then it will take about three times as long to bake, and less crispy edges, but to each their own, really!

For the togarashi-walnut crumble:
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup loosely packed walnuts
1 tsp shichimi togarashi powder
a pinch of salt

On a parchment or silpat-lined sheet tray, roast the white chocolate and walnuts at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Transfer both into a food processor or a ziplock bag and crush into a relatively fine powder. Toss with togarashi and salt to finish, and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 12 brownies:
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, in two parts
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup mochiko
1/3 cup black cacao powder
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Dark chocolate chips
Togarashi walnut crumble*
Manjari 64% feves

In a bowl, whip up the egg whites with half of the sugar to stiff peaks. In another bowl, whip together the egg yolks with butter and sugar until creamed together. Sift into the egg-butter mixture your mochiko, black cacao, espresso, baking powder, and salt first. Then fold into that the whipped egg whites to form your batter. In a lined brownie pan(I used a square shaped cupcake pan to make individual brownies, but you can just use a 9 inch by 9 inch pan if desired), start by filling them 1/3 the way full with the batter. Then sprinkle in a generous layer of the chocolate and crumble. Then pipe in more batter over that so that each tin is about 2/3 the way full, and sprinkle on top more chocolate and crumble. I also pressed feves of Manjari 64% into the tops as well, but that part is totally optional! Bake at 375 degrees F for either 15 minutes if making the individual brownies or 45 minutes if using the large pan. Let the brownies set at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before attempting to unmold.

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