kruizing with kikukat

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cookie Jar: Arare Cookies

2015 is finally here!

I'm looking forward to a better year than 2014.  I'm hoping to avoid being a client at the hospital ER.  I'm also hoping to avoid any type of medical procedure.  I had enough of that in 2014.

I'm down to the last few days of vacation.  Shucks!  And being laid up for most of it wasn't a good thing either.  We did still manage to get a lot done:  kittens for Kikukat Mom and Dad, passports renewed for the Ds, optometrist visit for all of us.  D1 is job shadowing at the dental clinic, but she is almost certain dentistry (other than as a patient) will not be a part of her future.  Mr. Dependable's mom should be happy. 

I guess there was no way to avoid the holidays without going to at least one party (I am so NOT a party person).  At the last moment, CAE and Kikukat Mom decided to have a small New Years party and put me in charge of desserts.  They told me there would be 20 people.  I figured that was manageable enough so I made a few things:  confetti jello, daifuku mochi, mini cupcakes with kick ass frosting, almond danish puff, and a jar of these arare cookies.

Now I'm not sure if "arare" is used much these days.  When I was growing up, arare was used interchangeably with kakimochi.  Nobody ever told me there was any difference.  When I went to college, many of my college friends from Oahu called it "mochi crunch".   When we went to the movies, "mochi crunch" was on the label of small bags of arare sold in the theater snack shop...purpose of the small, overpriced bag was to mix with the popcorn.  I guess this is a Hawaii thing; I don't think theaters on the mainland sell mochi crunch in their snack shops.  Anyway, arare, kakimochi, and mochi crunch all refer to small (quarter-size or smaller) Japanese rice crackers.

Sometime in the 1980s, Wholesale Unlimited became known to Hilo folk as THE place to go to in Honolulu to buy moonyagi ( before returning home.  They also sell all kinds of smelly (fishy) snacks, Chinese preserves, and gummy candies.  It's difficult to walk out of that store with just one thing.  Some people swear they have the best li hing powder.  My mouth is watering now!  Wholesale Unlimited was/is close to the airport, and they sell arare in all kinds of shapes, including the mini yakko, which is the shape you see in the picture at the top. 

Okay, so back to my party story.  The cookies were a big hit with the family.  Some old aunties were surprised that "could actually put furikake and arare in a cookie".  It took them a while to even guess there was furikake in it.

A few months ago, I ran a test batch past Aunty 3M (cookie baker snob), and the savory-sweet combo appealed to her palate.  I know Aunty 3M is a sucker for a non-chewy cookie too.  Of course, there will always be people who are not so quick to drink the water.  The Help and the Ds do not like this cookie.  The Help doesn't care much for arare so I can understand why he wouldn't appreciate it.  But I'm not sure why the Ds didn't like it since they both like arare AND furikake.  Perhaps their taste buds are not mature enough to appreciate the combination.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 c butter
     1 c sugar
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 c flour
     1 tsp baking soda
     3 tbsp furikake
     1 1/2 c mini yakko arare

In a small bowl, sift flour and baking soda together.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add in vanilla and mix well.  Gradually stir in flour mixture.  Stir in furikake and arare.  Chill dough for 30 minutes.  Line several large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Using a #60 scooper, drop cookie dough onto parchment-lined sheets.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on sheets 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

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