Stock Up: Three sweet ways to shake up your holiday treats

Mochi ice cream kit from Global Grub. Courtesy of Global Grub
Mochi ice cream kit from Global Grub. Courtesy of Global Grub

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

It’s a year like no other. Maybe that means it’s time to rethink your holiday sweet treats, too.

Mochi ice cream kit from Global Grub

Are you a mochi fan? There are lots of us out there who are pretty much addicted to this Japanese rice flour treat — slightly sticky, lightly sweet and usually lightly flavored. At our house, the favorite way to enjoy mochi is as a wrap for ice cream, and we’ve been buying mochi ice cream treats for years. It never occurred to me that we could make it at home, until we ran into this mochi ice cream kit from Carley Sheehy and Global Grub. The San Francisco Bay area company offers kits for sushi, fortune cookies, ravioli and tamales, but when we saw a mochi kit, we were hooked. The kit comes with enough supplies — including a reusable cutter and silicone mold, as well as sweet rice flour, potato starch and flavorings — to make four batches of mochi. Our first didn’t turn out as pretty as we’d like, so we were glad we had more to experiment with. The result, even the not-so-pretty treats, was absolutely delicious. What a fun way to add a really unexpected treat to your holiday mix.

$31.99 per kit that makes 32 mochi ice cream treats. Available at globalgrub.com.

Baking kit from French Broad Chocolate. Courtesy of Kristina Valdiviezo
Baking kit from French Broad Chocolate. Courtesy of Kristina Valdiviezo

Credit: Kristina Valdiviezo

Credit: Kristina Valdiviezo

Baking kit from French Broad Chocolate

If you love buying from small makers, and you particularly love bean-to-bar chocolate, this is the year to buy your chocolate chips from Asheville, North Carolina-based French Broad Chocolate. Sixteen years ago, Dan and Jael Rattigan dropped out of grad school and bought an abandoned cacao plantation in Costa Rica. They eventually gave in to the lure of Asheville, and it’s now their home. They import cacao from small farms, and refine it into bonbons, chocolate bars and, yes, chocolate chips. These are no anonymous chips. The dark chocolate chips are made from beans sourced in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, as are the cacao nibs. Check out all the offerings on the French Broad Chocolates website. And, did we mention the limited-edition salted caramel white chocolate chips? You won’t find those from Big Chocolate.

$38 for the basics baking kit with salted caramel white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and roasted cocoa nibs. Available at frenchbroadchocolates.com.

Macaron kit from My French Recipe. Courtesy of My French Recipe
Macaron kit from My French Recipe. Courtesy of My French Recipe

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Macaron kit from My French Recipe

Well-made macarons are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and filled with delicious ganache. They are notoriously fussy to make. Three years ago, when Isabel Mota moved from Paris to Plano, Texas, she struggled with re-creating her favorite recipes, particularly in finding the right ingredients. Once she’d found what worked in her American kitchen, she started her company, My French Recipe, to share those ingredients and recipes with the rest of us. She offers kits for making chocolate lava cake, crepes, French pound cake, and for macarons. The macaron kit comes with everything you need, except egg whites. We tried the chocolate gingerbread version — crisp macaron shells, paired with chocolate ganache flavored with gingerbread spices. The kit included the mix, plus chocolate, spices, piping bag and tip. The flavors were the perfect combination for the holidays. Our tip is to weigh out the egg whites, if you can. Having the right consistency is important in getting the macarons just right.

$7.49 per package of a mix that makes 16 macarons; $29 for the chocolate gingerbread macaron baking kit. Available at myfrenchrecipe.com.

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