Tri-Colored Mochi

(courtesy of Cynthia Lu. Serves up to 48)

"Tri-colored mochi is a traditional Japanese dessert made from sweet rice flour called mochiko. Marisa and her friends love to make it. It's messy, but that's half the fun," Lu says.

1 pound mochiko (16-ounce box)

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 12-ounce can coconut milk

2 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Food coloring (Lu uses red and green. Buy or make your own natural food coloring, if possible)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder. Blend coconut milk, water, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients gradually. Thoroughly mix with whisk or spoon. Remove two cups of mixture and add three drops of green coloring. Pour the green batter into greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.

Pour two cups plain batter over cooked layer. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.

Add three drops red coloring to remaining mixture and pour over cooked layers. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Cool uncovered, preferably overnight. Cut into squares when completely cool.

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