So even though I’ve had this little April Fools’ prank planned for a few weeks now, I’m going to go ahead and ruin it with this teeny, tiny announcement:
Hummingbird High is a finalist for the Best Baking & Desserts Blog in
Saveur Magazine’s Food Blog Awards!!!
When I found out the news a few days ago, I was completely stunned. I can’t BELIEVE that my blog was re-nominated; all I know is that I’m pretty sure that it’s because of YOU GUYS. I’m beyond grateful and thankful for all your support. It really means the world to me. Really and truly.
The winner of the award will be decided by votes, so I would really appreciate it if you took the time to vote for me. And of course, be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs that also made the shortlist. I’m beyond honored to be a part of the ranks!!!
And now back to my ruined April Fools’ joke:
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes: sushi and mushroom salad… for DESSERT.
Okay, wait. I can hear you thinking to yourself. What’s the joke here? Has Michelle just lost her mind? I mean, is she just eating raw fish and mushrooms for dessert, or what???
Well, look at the pictures. Look closely this time.
Because things aren’t exactly what they seem:
Still don’t see it?
Here’s the trick: nothing in those photos is what it looks like on first glance. Take that box of sushi — THAT’S NOT RAW FISH! The raw “fish” are actually dried mango slices prepared in three different ways. From bottom to the top, we have a regular dried mango slice, a dried mango slice brushed with a layer of cocoa powder, and a dried mango slice with its edge dipped in leftover black sesame sugar (leftover from these black sesame and goat milk rolls). Each slice sits up top a bed of sweet sticky coconut rice, mimicking traditional nigiri pieces:
And of course, you didn’t really think that I would let you eat mango and coconut sticky rice with real soy sauce and wasabi now, did you? The little ramekin is filled with a chocolate dipping sauce, while the so-called “wasabi” is actually a little clump of marzipan that’s been rolled in matcha green tea powder. That goes much, much better with the mango fruit and sticky coconut rice than, well, the real versions.
But as awesome as my fake sushi skills are, I must say that I’m prouder of the mushroom salad, whose mushrooms are actually made of flour, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder:
That’s right. Those mushrooms up top are actually plain old sugar cookies! I rolled the cookie dough into little balls and used an empty beer bottle lined with cocoa powder to stamp out stumps in each cookie. It’s a genius recipe from the cookbook of Sprinkle Bakes, who also happens to be one of my favorite food bloggers.
Happy April Fools’ Day! I hope I didn’t freak you out too much with this recipe. Because like, real sushi for dessert?! NO THANK YOU (although I will eat as much real sushi for lunch, dinner, and snacks as I can — it’s one of my favorite foods). I’m really not crazy, I swear.
Some baker’s notes:
- Go crazy with this one! It’s April Fool’s Day, after all. You can use a ton of different dried fruit to mimic the look of sushi — I used mango because I felt like it mimicked the pastel colors of traditional sushi best, but dried papaya with its orange hue would also be a great substitution. And of course, you can always use fresh mango but I am a mango snob and only eat mangos when I’m in the Philippines.
- Sticky rice is available at Asian supermarkets, or online. You can also use Japanese short-grain rice, but your dessert won’t be as sweet. I just cooked my sticky rice in a rice cooker, but you can be hella legit and steam it, or simply cook it in a regular saucepot. I won’t include instructions on how to make the rice, however, since different brands instruct you to cook it in different ways, with slightly variant ratios of rice to the water. It’s best to follow the instructions on the packet for the best results!
- Admittedly, the coconut sticky rice was a bit of a pain to form by hand (it’s super sticky… like, really). You can buy a nigiri sushi mold to make your life easier, but I’m a cheapo who repurposed an ice cube tray in my fridge to mold the rice — hey, it also works!
Dessert Sushi and Mushroom Salad
- a nigiri sushi mold or a clean ice cube tray (see baker’s notes)
- kitchen shears
- a clean and empty beer or wine bottle
For Dessert Sushi
(makes around 16 nigiri)
- 1 cup cooked sticky rice, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 16 dried mango, papaya or other fruit slices
- 1 heaping teaspoon black sesame sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Chocolate “Soy” Sauce and Matcha Marzipan “Wasabi”
(makes around 1/2 cup)
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon marzipan
- 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
For the Mushroom Cookies
(makes around 20 cookies)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Dessert Sushi
- In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to toss together 1 cup cooked sticky rice, 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut flakes, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. It'll be quite sticky, but persevere! Just continue tossing until it looks like the coconut and sugar have been dispersed evenly throughout the rice.
- Use a 1 tablespoon cookie dough scoop or a measuring spoon to measure out 1 tablespoon of sticky rice. Press into the nigiri sushi mold/ice cube tray to form the rice portion into rectangles. If the rice sticks to your hands, fill a small bowl with water and wet your fingertips for easier shaping. Continue until you have around 16 rice portions (note that you might have to divide the work into two; my ice cube tray only held 12 cavities).
- Chill the shaped rice in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until the rice can be unmolded without sticking.
- In the mean time, prepare the dried fruit. Use your kitchen shears to cut 16 strips of dried mango to the approximate length of the rice mounds you just made. I cut one end of the fruit in a diagonal shape for a more realistic look.
- Divide the dried mango into 3 portions. You can leave the first third as is for a “natural” look. Take the second third of fruit and dip one of its longer sides in a small bowl of water, before dipping it in a small bowl 1 teaspoon of black sesame sugar. This will give the fruit a “seared” look on one side. For the remaining pieces, take your thumb and dip it in a small ramekin containing 1/2 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Use your thumb to smear the cocoa powder onto the surface of the remaining fruit pieces to give them a slightly different look from the “natural” pieces.
- Once the rice is ready, unmold each mound onto a piece of wax paper and carefully lay the prepared fruit slices, placing one on the top of each mound. Use your kitchen shears to trim or shape the fruit as necessary. Voila! You’re a sushi chef now.
For the Chocolate “Soy” Sauce and Matcha Marzipan “Wasabi”
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar, 1 1/4 cups water, and 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder until well combined. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 1 minute.
- After a minute, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Transfer to a soy sauce ramekin immediately. If not using immediately, transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator, and heat again before serving. The sauce tends to get cloudy when it’s cold.
- For the matcha mazipan wasabi, roll 1 tablespoon of marzipan into a ball using your hands. Roll the marzipan ball in a small bowl containing 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder until the marzipan color takes on a vibrant, green hue resembling wasabi.
For the Mushroom Cookie Salad
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375 (F). Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar on medium -high speed until light and fluffy and doubled in size. Add 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue beating until well combined.
- Lower the mixer to its lowest setting and add 1 1/2 cups cornstarch, mixing together until just combines. With the mixer still on its slowest speed, gradually add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder until just combined.
- Stop the mixer and knead the mixture with your hands until it starts to form a solid mass and come together. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, use a 1 tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion out generous 1 tablespoon portions from the dough. Roll the portions into balls between your palms. The balls should be about the size of a walnut. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder in one bowl, and 1 tablespoon water in another. Dip the mouth of the bottle into the water, before dipping it into the cocoa powder.
- With a dough ball cupped in the palm of your hand, press the mouth of the bottle into the top of the ball to create the mushroom “stem”. Clean the mouth of the bottle every 2 to 3 uses with a paper towel.
- Return the sculpted mushroom cookies to the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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