Move over brownies, blondies, and all other squares – the amazing mochi bars are here! The texture of these unique treats is chewy, dense, and addictive. Add in the winning combination of tropical coconut and tangy raspberry for a fruity bar that is hard to resist. (Skip to recipe.)

a sweet stack of Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bars

We’re in the middle of our most wintry month here in northern Alberta. Mother Nature doesn’t know what to do with us. Some days she sends blinding blizzards to bury us, some days it’s melting chinook winds that howl across the landscape, and some days she paints all of nature’s wonders with crystalline  hoarfrost masterpieces.

coconut raspberry mochi bars; hoarfrost on the crabapples

Last week our yard was a breathtaking canvas.

coconut raspberry mochi bars; hoarfrost in the yard

The hoarfrost bejeweled every branch and leaf with a winter coat of glistening white.

coconut raspberry mochi bars; see the hoarfrost thick on the trees

coconut raspberry mochi bars; hoarfrost on the juniper

coconut raspberry mochi bars; hoarfrost on the weeping willow

This weekend the wicked winds were howling.

So it was time to spend an afternoon bustling in the kitchen.

pink and white coconut raspberry mochi bars

The treasure that came out of that busy-bee work session was these delicious Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bars. After the third go-around, they are perfected and ready to share with you. Pull up a chair. I’ve poured you a cup of green tea. It’s time for a nibble and a visit.

Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bars and a cup of green tea

I betcha can’t eat just one! Mochi (mōh’-chee) bars have the most unique texture – dense and deliciously bouncy, yet light at the same time – like biting into little pillows of stretchy coconut fluff with the delightful tang of sweet raspberry jam. They’re not overly sweet, but definitely fulfill that craving for a special treat. I can’t seem to keep them around – little mochi elves keep nibbling them when I’m not watching (I may or not have an elf alter ego thing going on myself).

These squares have get summer happening in your mouth while winter does its mischief outside.

a bite of sweet coconut raspberry mochi bar

it’s hard to capture the bouncy sponginess of these delectable bars in a photo

One of our family’s favourite treats to pick up whenever we’re in an Asian import store is packets of mochi-wrapped ice cream balls from the freezer section. There’s something about that soft and chewy mochi rice layer enrobing a ball of cold ice cream that is so totally satisfying. So, while trolling Pinterest one day (it’s a fantastic diversion when you’ve got piles of housework and marking staring at you), I came across several recipes for mochi butter bars and pings of electricity started sparking in my head. Hark, I needed to do some baking – an even better form of procrastination! Plus, this kind of procrastination had a sweet reward at the end. I envisioned a fruity summer version of the Pinterest bars that combined the subtle flavour of coconut with spoonfuls of the glistening rasperry jam I had in the fridge.

The added bonus is how ridiculously easy these mochi bars are to make – stir everything together in one bowl. Plop it in the pan, slide it in the oven, and bake!

plop on the raspberry jam for the mochi bars

bulldog clips help the parchment paper stay in place

Swirl the jam on the batter for the mochi bars

Swirl the jam around a bit with a butter knife

swirls of ruby raspberry jam in coconut mochi bars

I’ve been brainstorming all sorts of other variations for these little gems. I betcha apricot jam would be fantastic! And maybe a chocolate version? How about one with bits of candied ginger in it? Maybe a green tea one? Or an orange marmalade and orange zest variation?

I’m just waiting for more snowy Sundays so I can procrastinate play around in the kitchen some more.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Sweet rice flour goes by several different names: glutinous rice flour, sweet rice flour, and mochiko. Don’t be turned away by the word glutinous – it refers to the sticky, glutinous nature of sweet rice, as opposed to ‘containing gluten’. Super fine sweet rice flour works the best for these bars. It is not the same as regular white rice flour, as sweet rice is much stickier than regular rice.  Super fine sweet rice flour can usually be found in Asian stores or the Asian section of supermarkets, and is called Glutinous Rice Flour.

glutinous rice flour for mochi barsIt is usually inexpensive to buy. Asian glutinous rice flour is so finely ground that it is much fluffier and lighter than regular brands of sweet rice flour and you’ll need more by volume when using it in recipes. Use a scale to weigh your quantity for this recipe, if you have it, or use 2 cups of it and remove 1 tablespoon. If using regular sweet rice flour (1½ cups is all you’ll need), your mochi bars will have a slightly less dense and more cakey texture, but still be delicious.

Not all canned coconut milk is made equal and the difference in quality can really affect your recipe. Some kinds are quite watery or gritty. Buy a full fat, premium brand of coconut milk for the best results. I love using Thai Kitchen Premium Organic Coconut Milk – I’ve found it to be best one for all my recipes (no, I’m not paid to say that – though I wish I were. I use so much of this stuff!) The creamy part on top usually is very dense and solid. Scrape the contents of the coconut milk from the can into a bowl and whisk until it is smooth before measuring it.

coconut raspberry mochi bars; sweet deliciousness

Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bars

gluten free, dairy free

  • 8 oz/225gms superfine sweet rice flour/glutinous rice flour (2 cups less 1 tablespoon) or 1½ cups regular sweet rice flour* (see note above)
  • 1 cup (240ml) full fat coconut milk (from a can), stirred before measuring * (see note above)
  • 2/3 cup (135gms) sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60ml) raspberry jam (or apricot jam)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare an 8 inch (20cm) square pan by lining it with two strips of parchment paper cut as wide as the bottom of the pan; one going each way. Secure the the overhang  on each side with bulldog clips or clothespins. (See photo above.) Or just liberally grease the pan with coconut oil.

Whisk together all ingredients except the jam until the batter is smooth.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop two tablespoons of the jam over the batter and spread it around roughly with a butter knife. Spread the remaining batter on top, and dollop on the remaining two tablespoons of jam. Spread the jam around over the top of the squares in casual swirls.

Remove the bulldog clips or clothespins before putting the pan in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes (5 minutes longer if using regular sweet rice flour), until the center feels springy to the touch and the edges are just getting golden.

Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into 16 square bars.

Makes 16 delicious mochi bars.

Guten Appetit!

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Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bars have the most fantastic texture - soft, bouncy, chewy - and a wonderful flavor of subtle coconut laced with tangy sweet raspberry. Heavenly. (And gluten free, too!)

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