Butter mochi is a party staple in Hawaii. Made with mochiko (Japanese sweet rice flour) and coconut milk, the dessert is beloved for its sweet, buttery taste and chewy, pleasingly dense texture. A little goes a long way, so avoid cutting the pieces too big. (You can scale down the recipe, but the measurements for the mochiko and coconut milk are really convenient for a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.) If you’d like to add another layer of coconut, sprinkling the top of the batter with shredded coconut before baking is a lovely touch (but by no means necessary).
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.
Whisk together the mochiko, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk together the milk, vanilla, eggs and coconut milk until smooth in a separate large bowl. (If you have trouble incorporating the coconut milk solids, you can use an electric mixer on medium speed for this step, and the following ones, if you like.) Whisk the milk mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined. Whisk in the melted butter until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake until the butter mochi is set and the top is golden brown, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
Carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan from both short ends and set the butter mochi on a cutting board. Cut into about twenty 2-by-3-inch rectangles and serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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