What are Mochi Donuts?
Mochi is a popular Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour. The rice flour is soaked in water then pounded into a dough, to create delicious rice cake desserts. Now, this particular recipe for matcha mochi donut wreaths doesn’t actually contain rice flour. It’s made from tapioca flour, which is another starchy flour. Rice flour is stickier than tapioca flour, but usually tapioca flour has a sweeter flavor. And while these Christmas wreath donuts would be more accurately named tapioca donuts, they have the same taste and texture of traditional mochi donuts.
I first fell in love with mochi donuts on the island of Oahu, where my parents currently live. Liliha Bakery makes the BEST mochi donuts ever!! The poi mochi donuts are covered in a sticky sugary glaze, and once you take a bite into them, the dough is bright purple! They are so chewy & delicious. And mochi donuts are far less sweet than American fried donuts, which makes me want to eat even more of them! 🍩
Mochi donuts first originated in Japan, where they grow the rice to make rice flour into mochi. The donut batter is piped into large bubbles in a circle, giving these donuts their signature shape. It’s fun to bite off one blob at a time from the whole donut ring. These donuts are also known as Pon de Ring donuts. And in many donut shops, they are fried to perfection, creating a crispy outer layer and a soft & chewy inside. I baked these matcha mochi donut wreaths instead of frying them, for a healthier & simpler way to enjoy this classic dessert.
Baking with Matcha
Matcha is a type of green tea leaf that is ground into a fine powder. It is commonly used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, and it is full of antioxidants. You can now find it all over the world, since matcha lattes and other matcha drinks became popular. But matcha has other uses too, including its addition into baked goods like these mochi donuts! The sweet and slightly grassy (in the best way possible) flavor of matcha still sings through, even after a stint in the oven.
The best type of matcha to bake with is a culinary grade matcha, which is usually made from tea leaves picked from lower on the tea bush, with a stronger flavor. This type of matcha is also cheaper than the ceremonial grade matcha, which is more delicate and reserved for tea. 🍵
Natural Food Dye
Besides the sweet & earthy flavor and the boost of antioxidants from matcha, this green tea powder has another added bonus. It imbues a gorgeous natural green dye! That’s right, the festive color of these winter wreath donuts is made entirely from matcha powder. No chemicals or processed dyes needed! 💚
If you aren’t a fan of matcha’s flavor, try these mochi donuts with beets to turn them pink, just like my recipe for these vegan pink donuts!
Matcha Mochi Donut Wreaths
- ¼ cup coconut milk (or any milk of your choice)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
- 1 Tbsp matcha powder
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips, melted for drizzling on top (optional)
- 1 Tbsp sprinkles for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, warm the milk, sugar and vegetable oil until it is steaming but not boiling.
- Whisk in the flour until there are no clumps of dry flour remaining.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use a whisk or a spatula to mix in the tapioca flour and the matcha powder.
- Crack in the egg and continue mixing until the batter is completely smooth.
- Add the batter into a piping bag and pipe six to eight large bubbles of batter in a circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Make sure the bubbles are touching slightly. Otherwise you'll just end up with little blobs of donuts, instead of connected rings.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the donuts are dry and solid on the outside. Let cool and enjoy plain, or decorate with melted chocolate and sprinkles!