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It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in Hawaii — 14 years and 2 months, to be specific — and the longer I’m away, the more I feel disconnected from the lifestyle.  But what keeps me feeling at least marginally tied to the islands is my parents and their obligation to continue to send care packages.

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My mom manages to keep her ear on the ground with respect to Hawaii’s latest food trends — thanks, largely, to her zumba and papercrafting girl friends.  A couple of years ago, the maffle — a proper portmanteau of chewy mochi and buttery liege waffles — took Hawaii by storm.  Maffles have positioned themselves perfectly for Hawaii’s adopted-from-Japan omiyage culture.  The dry ingredient mixture, which includes mochiko (glutinous rice flour) and wheat flour, is sold in pretty foil bags that are ideal for gifting and sending to relatives on the US mainland.  Each package lists wet ingredient additions and preparation directions.

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My aunty’s company, Island Mele, sells maffle mix and will ship directly to you.  My parents brought some of her original maffle mix packages the last time they visited me.  These bad boys are addictive and delightful, combining the best features from mochi with those from waffles.

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But after test-driving the maffle mix, I decided to put my own spin on it.  I’ve added blueberries to brighten the flavor, and coconut milk and coconut whipped cream for a plushness that dairy milk can’t provide.  Fresh blueberries, when in season, would probably be fantastic little bursts of juice in the maffle.  But being past blueberry season, I opted for blueberry powder — blueberries that I dehydrated then ground over the summer.

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Powdered berries have become a pantry staple.  One of my summer projects was to dehydrate a variety of seasonal berries, then whirl them through a spice grinder.  I toss the powders into smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods for color, antioxidants, and sweet-tartness.

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Blueberry & Coconut Mochi Waffles

Makes 6 waffles | Cook time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz original maffle mix (can order at Island Mele)
  • 2 Tbsp blueberry powder *
  • 1/2 C + 1 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 C fine macaroon coconut (or finely-shredded coconut), optional
  • 1/4 C coarse sugar crystals, optional
  • 1 C coconut cream, very cold
  • additional blueberries for topping, optional

Directions

  1. Ready a waffle iron on medium heat setting.
  2. Combine maffle mix and blueberry powder in a mixing bowl.
  3. Combine coconut milk, olive oil, and egg in a separate bowl, and whisk to combine.  Add to dry ingredients, then incorporate well.
  4. Shape dough into 6 balls, about equivalent in size.
  5. In a small bowl, combine macaroon coconut and coarse sugar, if using.  Mix well.  Roll each dough ball gently in coconut-sugar mixture to coat.
  6. Place dough balls, one at a time, in the center of a waffle iron.  Press lid down and cook for 1 minute or until waffles are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  7. Whip coconut cream using balloon whisk attachment on a stand mixer for 30-60 seconds or until relatively fluffy — it will never get as airy as dairy whipped cream, but it will get somewhat fluffy and light.
  8. To serve, top each waffle with a dollop of whipped coconut cream and a handful of fresh blueberries.

* To make blueberry powder:  Dehydrate blueberries in food dehydrator or 130-140ºF oven until very, very dry and crisp.  Process dehydrated blueberries in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.  1 pint fresh blueberries makes about 3 oz powder.

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