Every time I look at the boxes of sweet rice flour and cans of coconut milk, I think about making mochi. I love mochi and every time I"m in Hawaii, I buy it and enjoy it so much.
If you haven't had mochi, its like a combination rice pudding/cake type of food that is Japanese and awesome. There are about as many recipes for mochi as there are types. Sometimes, the mochi is stuffed with a red bean paste or even ice cream. Both are great.
The one I make is made with coconut milk and evaporated milk, sugar, rice flour, eggs and butter but it is rich in flavor. I really enjoy it and the recipe I make gives me a huge pan worth of them.
I could make it chocolate flavored if I wanted which isn't quite as good unless you choose just the right type of chocolate. It turns out really well with a bit of chocolate in the mixture to make it crunch. mmmmmm.
The last time I was in Hawaii, I found this awesome little booth at the Ala moana shopping center food court that had wonderful flavored mochi like peanut butter, chocolate, mango and other great flavors. Then there is the little hole in the wall at the Food Pantry that has mochi ice cream where the ice cream is surrounded by mochi of the same flavor as the ice cream. The green tea one is great but the Sakura (Japanese Cherry) is spectacular.
Originally, mochi was made out of pounded rice for New Years. Sometimes in Hawaii, they still make it that way for New Years but I've never managed it. It takes more time than I have available. I won't get to the Big Island but I know some who will be going through Hilo on their way to Honolulu and he's going to pick up some artisan mochi from a small shop there. Its so good, the screeners at the airport know the exact shop you got it from. I can hardly wait to have it again.