Pumpkin mochi bars have the most deliciously unique and chewy texture. If you're a fan of mochi, you'll love these, and if you've never had this Japanese rice cake treat before, you might just find you love this exciting texture and taste combination. It's like a springy, chewy, crustless pumpkin pie in a bar form. Very addicting. Plus, they're naturally gluten free and quick & easy to whip up. Try something different on your holiday baking tray this year. (Skip to recipe.)
Calling all pumpkin pie lovers!
If you're not into the whole rigmarole of making a pumpkin pie from scratch, but are craving a taste of that beloved orange squash bathed with those warm autumn spices, you've come to the right place. These pumpkin mochi bars are just like nibbling on a luscious pumpkin pie, but in an easy hand-held form with the most unusual and addictively delicious texture; not too sweet and loaded with pumpkin pie flavour.
Mochi is a Japanese delicacy made from sweet rice flour (also called mochiko or glutinous rice flour - though there's no gluten in it). When baked or cooked it develops a most unique soft and chewy texture. The pastry can be flavoured with all sorts of add-ins or used to encase fillings of yam or sweet bean to make little balls. Mochi is even used to encase balls of ice cream for a popular Japanese treat (something I always have to pick up when I hit an Asian import store to have in the freezer for a little treat).
Once you taste these divine bars, you'll be going back for more.
Try this delicious Coconut Raspberry Mochi Bar version, too.
How Easy are Pumpkin Mochi Bars to Make?
All you do is mix a bit of puréed pumpkin with some lovely warming pumpkin pie spices. Then whisk together a couple eggs, some coconut milk, sugar, and butter. Pour it in a pan and plop on the spiced pumpkin. Make some fancy swirls.
Then bake. That beautiful rich spiced pumpkin burnishes to a warm autumnal brown, swirled through the white snow of the rice flour base. Pretty to look at as well as absolutely addictive to eat.
And if you can wait until the bars cool, you can dive in to these chewy, dense, and utterly divine pumpkin mochi bars.
The unique texture of these bars will first surprise, then delight, and then call you back for more.
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Looking for some other Pumpkin recipes?
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you open a can of pumpkin purée (make sure it's 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling) you will have some leftover. You can freeze it in smaller amounts to use for these bars again or for other recipes. But it's also great blended into smoothies, stirred into vanilla pudding, or make up a delicious batch of Baked Oatmeal with the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.
If you don't care for pumpkin spice, you can substitute the spice mix with the grated zest of an organic orange, and you'll have mochi bars with a more fruity, pumpkin-forward flavour profile - the orange goes well with the pumpkin.
*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.
**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. It 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.
Pumpkin Mochi Bars
- ½ cup (120ml) puréed pumpkin (from a can or homemade)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon allspice or cloves)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) premium full-fat coconut milk (from a can), stirred before measuring * (see note above)
- ¾ cup (150gms) sugar (natural evaporated cane sugar, if possible)
- ½ cup (115gms) salted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 oz/225gms superfine sweet rice flour/glutinous rice flour (2 cups less 1 tablespoon) or 1½ cups (225gms) regular sweet rice flour/mochiko**(see note above)
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. Or just liberally grease the pan with coconut oil or butter.
In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, whisk the eggs with the coconut milk until well-beaten. Add the sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the sweet rice flour and whisk or stir it all vigorously until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Some types of coconut milk will make for a thinner batter than others.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Dollop half of the spiced pumpkin over the batter in small blobs and swirl it around roughly with a butter knife. Pour or spread the remaining batter on top, and dollop on the remaining pumpkin mixture. Swirl the pumpkin around over the top of the batter in casual swirls with the tip of the butter knife.
Remove the bulldog clips or clothespins before putting the pan in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, 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 squares or bars.
Makes 16 delicious mochi bars.
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