CakeSpy Note: You guys. I am so, so excited to feature a rainbow-rich guest post from Kim of Ninja Baking! I'll let her take it from here. Enjoy!
Rainbow Japanese (Onigiri) Rice Ball and Unicorn Cookie Bento Boxes
by Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker, NinjaBaking.com
Do you ever get dizzy whirling around on a planet where the bad news du jour is served 24/7? Isn’t it comforting that a tap or two of computer keys transports you to a realm where rainbows, unicorns, hearts roam freely? Plus a place where recipes for goodies we all secretly crave reign supreme! Of course, I’m talking about the virtual home of the CakeSpy aka author/artist Jessie Oleson Moore.
Perhaps I find particular comfort in the CakeSpy site because of my history. Although I’m an American of European descent, Japanese food and language were all I knew until age 5. Tokyo was my hometown until I entered UCLA’s Theatre Arts program at 18. The Japan I grew up in was akin to what I imagine the ‘50s were in the US. Innocence prevailed. (Yes, ignorance about important issues were also prevalent.) There was a sweetness and a modesty in 1970s Japan. It’s still there but diluted. The younger generation is bolder. For better or for worse, the influence of pop culture from abroad is evident in Japan.
A few Japanese characteristics and traditions, however, remain steadfast. Young girls still clamor over all things “kawaii” cute and pretty. Blinged out cell phones are adorned with Hello Kitty and other cuddly characters. Adults continue to tastefully display exquisite works of art and flower arrangements in their homes. Bento lunch boxes have also never gone out of style.
So as a thank you to the CakeSpy for her insistence on focusing on the whimsical and wonderful, I’ve created Rainbow Japanese (Onigiri) Rice Ball and Unicorn Cookie Bento Boxes.
Ninja Note: Before any sort of cooking or baking, mise en place, set up of needed ingredients and tools makes for a peaceful kitchen.
For the Rainbow Japanese Onigiri Rice Ball Bento, here’s what you’ll need:
*Freshly cooked rice
*A small bowl of water for sticky fingers from shaping rice into triangles
Ninja Note: Japanese pickles will probably appeal to sushi lovers familiar with pink ginger shoga. The most kid-friendly of all the listed pickles is the slightly sweeter red beni shoga.
*A rainbow assortment of Japanese pickles:
Pink Sushi Ginger Shoga
Green ao-jiso no mi (radishes, soy sauce, salt, sugar, vinegar)
Purple pickled perilla, ginger and egg plant
Red pickled ginger
Yellow daikon radish slices
Red pickled plums
Shape the rice into triangles and garnish with the desired Japanese pickles. Pack them into your bento lunch box. Include bell pepper slices or other veggies.
For the Unicorn Cookie Bento Box, here’s what you’ll need:
*Jessie Oleson Moore’s The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts.
*OR a pair of good eyes to see the modified Scout Butter Cookies recipe from the cookbook. (Courtesy of the CakeSpy.)
*M & Ms
*Rainbow mochi (Japanese pounded rice) candies or anything else delicious and multi-colored
Adapted from Scout Butter Cookies in The Secret Lives of Baked Goods
Ninja Note: The sanding sugar crusted cookie gives way to a softer cookie inside a scrumptious unicorn-shaped delight!
*Unicorn Cookie Ingredients:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out cookie dough)
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pink and blue sanding sugar
- Horse cookie cutter
- A rolling pin
- A large cutting board
- Wax paper
- Japanese Pocky biscuits for unicorn horns
- Vanilla frosting (to act as glue)
*Unicorn Cookie Directions:
- Cream the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a kitchen stand mixer for 6 minutes or until light, fluffy and pale in color.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
- Pour in the milk and vanilla extract. Incorporate into the mix.
- Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.
- Gradually stir in the flours, baking powder and salt.
- Divide the dough into two medallion balls.
- Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are ready to roll out the dough into unicorns.
- On a hard surface such as a large cutting board, roll out the dough between 2 pieces of floured wax paper to a ¼ inch to ½ inch thickness.
- Cut out (horse) unicorn cookies. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Freeze for 2 hours or overnight.
- Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Once cooled, attach Pocky tips onto the horses with vanilla frosting for unicorn horns.
- Place the unicorn cookies into the bento boxes with the M & Ms and rainbow mochi.
*For more info about Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker