This delicious no-bake, quick and easy peanut butter mochi cake, or Chinese nian gao 红糖年糕, is the perfect addition to the upcoming Chinese New Year’s feast! Made with peanut butter, almond milk, glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour, you’ll get crunchy, tender, soft and chewy in every bite. My favorite way to serve this peanut butter mochi is to slice and pan-fry them in a bit of coconut oil which makes the edges nice and crispy.
Ingredients Used to Make Peanut Butter Mochi Cake
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Glutinous Rice Flour - this goes by many names. You'll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite brand) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. ***Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
- Tapioca flour (flour but also called tapioca starch) - Arrowroot starch and Potato starch can also be used instead. I DO NOT recommend using cornstarch for this recipe.
- Sugar of Choice – I used dark brown sugar in this recipe, but many traditional nian gao recipes use Chinese Rock Sugar (also called Slab Sugar) which you can typically find in Asian grocery stores or buy online, here. Raw cane sugar, coconut, date, and maple sugars are also great substitutes if you have them at home, and if you want you can also use sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener in this recipe for a slightly lower-sugar / lower-carb option.
- Milk of Choice – I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk (dairy or dairy free) works in this recipe. You can even use water.
- Creamy Peanut Butter Spread - like Jif
- Unsalted roasted peanuts - for the extra crunch and texture. You can replace with other chopped nuts, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
More Recipes Using Glutinous Rice Flour (HERE)
How to Make Peanut Butter Nian Gao / Mochi Cake
In a clean bowl, mix glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour or mochiko flour) with tapioca flour and sugar. Set aside.
Heat almond milk in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup until hot, about 2 minutes.
Pour the almond milk into the flour-sugar mixture and use a whisk to mix well, along with the creamy peanut butter.
Batter should be thick and silky
Add the roasted peanuts
Pour batter into a GREASED pyrex glass round container and steam on medium heat for 40 minutes, or until the center of the mochi cake is set. Alternatively, you can also bake the mochi cake in the oven - 340F for 40 minutes, or until the middle is set and the edges are crispy.
Let cool completely before serving, or cool the cakes in the freezer for 2-3 hours which helps to get clean slices of cakes.
Fry the sliced mochi cakes in oil if desired.
Fry the sliced mochi cakes in oil if desired.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- The add in options for this nian gao recipe are pretty much unlimited and you can easily customize the flavor and texture of this nian gao recipe to fit your own tastes! Here are some awesome ways you can make this sweet rice cake your own
- Add more flavor! Add up to 1 Tbsp of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to bring out the fall flavors of this recipe. You can also add cocoa, ginger powder, cardamom powder, or a teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. They're not typically added to a traditional recipe, but you're welcome to experiment!
- Add more texture! Adding chopped nuts, seeds, or dried fruits or oats is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and flavor in rice cakes. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also add chocolate chips.
- Turn them into muffins – instead of baking this recipe in a round pan, divide the batter into muffin pans and steam/bake. You’ll have to adjust the baking time (about 20-25 minutes).
- Change up the liquid. For a more authentic flavor, try using full fat coconut milk instead of almond milk. The fat in the coconut milk will translate to a silky, glossy rice cake that is more decadent than just almond milk.
How to Store Peanut Butter Mochi Cake
- The Peanut Butter Mochi Cake (nian gao) can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or in the fridge for 5 days.
- Rice flour desserts like mochi and nian gao usually tend to develop a weird, waxy hard texture when stored in the fridge for more than 1-2 days. To revive the nian gao to its original soft and chewy texture, you'll need to re-steam or pan-fry the rice cake until hot and completely translucent.
- For the best texture (and longer storage), I would wrap the sweet rice cake completely in a plastic wrap or Ziploc bag and freeze it and then defrost it at room temperature when ready to eat. Frozen nian gao does not have to be re-steamed, which is why I usually freeze all my leftover nian gao and mochi recipes.
Final Tips & Reminders
- Glutinous rice flour goes by many names. You'll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite brand) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
- When using liquid ingredients in mochi recipes like this one, it's best if the liquid is hot (but not boiling). The heat of the liquid helps the mochi / glutinous flour become even more chewy and also makes the final product develop a glossy sheen.
Healthier Peanut Butter Nian Gao
- 1 cup mochiko flour, sweet rice or glutinous rice flour (175 g) , read notes*
- ¼ cup tapioca flour (30 g)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (74 g), or a sugar free alternative, such as granulated monk fruit sweetner
- 1 ¼ cup almond milk, regular milk or water (285 g)
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter spread , like Jif (129 g)
- ⅓ cup unsalted roasted peanuts , can replace with other chopped nuts if desired (50 g)
- Preheat oven to 340 F or boil water to prepare the steamer. Also grease a Pyrex 4 cup round container with oil (spray oil works fine, too).
- In a clean bowl, mix glutinous rice flour (mochiko flour) with tapioca flour and sugar. Set aside.
- Heat almond milk in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup until hot, about 2 minutes. (This is an optional step to make the mochi chewier. Read notes**)
- Pour the hot almond milk into the flour-sugar mixture and use a whisk to mix well.
- Stir the creamy peanut butter spread into the batter
- Add the roasted peanuts to the batter
- Pour batter into a GREASED pyrex glass round container and steam on medium heat for 40 minutes, or until the center of the mochi cake is set. Alternatively, you can also bake the mochi cake in the oven - 340F for 40 minutes, or until the middle is set and the edges are crispy.
- Let cool completely before serving, or cool the cakes in the freezer for 1-2 hours which helps to get clean slices of cakes.
- Fry the sliced mochi cakes in oil if desired. Enjoy!
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