11 Mouthwatering Desserts That You Need to Try
Mochi is made of a sweet rice that is pounded until it takes on a paste-like consistency. Mochi has many uses, and is commonly used in many different Japanese desserts and sweets known as wagashi. Most Americans know it as the soft, elastic casing on ice cream balls from specialty grocery stores or as the soft, sweet, chewy dough bits you can add to frozen yogurt. It is so much more than that, though.
Our favorite use of mochi is in what is called daifuku, or mochi balls that are filled with something that is usually sweet, like sweetened red or white bean paste, or even fruit. Good mochi is not easy to find in North America. We’ve tried some of what are considered to be the best daifuku shops in the U.S.A., and we can say that one is far better than all the rest.
The Benkyodo Company in San Francisco’s Japantown makes their mochi fresh everyday on-site. It is a small, family-run shop that has existed for years. It is worth it to try their mochi, especially during strawberry season when they have their famous ichigo daifuku, or mochi balls that are filled with a flavored white bean paste and whole, delicious strawberries. It was an amazing food experience. Make sure to get there early, they tend to run out!
A big problem with mochi is that it really is so much better when fresh, and shops like Minamoto Kitchen in New York City fall flat, in our opinion, as the mochi isn’t anywhere near as good (flown in from Japan). West coasters have another option in Los Angeles at Fugetsu-Do; their mochi is fresh, tasty, and beautiful, although we still preferred Benkyodo’s heavenly treats. That said, we haven’t been able to try any of the places in Hawaii, which is known to be home to some great mochi. If you’ve been to a mochi shop you like, let us know!
Cronut–Dominque Ansel Bakery, NYC
Oh NYC, you’ve got some great food. French pastry chef Dominique Ansel has his own eponymous bakery in Soho, which is home to his recent creation, the Cronut. The Cronut is a mixture of a croissant with a doughnut, and these things are amazingly popular. The shop cannot keep up with demand, and a Cronut black market has even formed.
The Cronuts come in one flavor per month, with July’s flavor being dulce de leche. They have soft flaky layers filled with delicious cream, and a crisp outer-shell sprinkled with sugar and glazed with a specialty flavored icing. Dominque Ansel is planning ways to expand to other parts of the country, and in the meantime, many knock-offs are cropping up. Hopefully more people will get to experience the original soon; it’s delicious!
Crack Pie–Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC
The name “crack pie” was given to this dense, salty-sweet pie created by Momofuku Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi. This buttery pie is addictive, hence the name. A whole pie will set you back around $44, but you can buy slices for about $5. There are multiple locations in New York City and even out in Montauk on Long Island during the summer. If you can’t make it there, there are recipes in their cook book and online, but many people report that while similar, it doesn’t turn out the same.