My best friend and I got to talking about our young adult life problems earlier today and we touched on the topic of reasons– of why things happen the way they do, of why people act a certain way and do the things they do. Why. An infinitesimal word made up of three letters, yet possibly one of the most profound of them all. It can go unanswered forever, whisking away any attempt at closure. It has the power to haunt someone for the rest of their lives. It’s a mystery we want solved, it seems, regardless of what subject or situation is attached to it. Often the explanations are unsatisfactory and we learn to live with them. But in some cases, an answer is completely unnecessary.
A few weeks ago, my brother asked me why I made these pocky sticks when we could simply run to the store to buy them. It would have saved so much time and effort, he had argued. You could have baked something more unique or interesting.
To which I responded, Why do you have to ask me so many questions? Can’t we just enjoy the Pocky?
I confess if you had asked me what mass-produced treat I would like to duplicate in my kitchen, Pocky probably would not be the first thing that pops into my head. Maybe I would have said Oreos, or marshmallows, but things sometimes do not turn out the way we plan. I decided to make Pocky Sticks because I wanted to see if I could. They’ve grown more popular over the years, turning into a cult-favourite and having all manners of flavours. One of my goals when I go to Korea and Japan is to seek out all Pocky flavours I could possibly find and perhaps replicate them now that I know how.
Some people might laugh and say these Pocky Sticks are more of a kitchen project for anyone who has too much free-time on their hands, but I would suggest they get a taste of these before commenting. You can modify them to the sweetness of your liking, or to any flavour you think Pocky should be available in but is not. They are simply as addicting as a real boxed Pocky, and positively as delicious if not even fresher tasting. I brought my first batch of sticks to my brother and told him to give them a taste. I left to check on my second batch and came back to an empty baking sheet. Guess that teaches him to ask unnecessary questions. 😉
- ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 3-½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 ounce milk chocolate, chopped *
- 1. Mix the sweetened condensed milk with water and set aside.
- 2. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, cardamom, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well mixed.
- 3. Add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles cornmeal, about 5 minutes.
- 4. With the machine running, add the condensed milk mixture all at once and continue mixing until it is fully incorporated and the dough forms a ball around the paddle, about another 5 minutes.
- 5. Transfer to a large sheet of plastic wrap, pat into a 1-inch-thick disk, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- 6. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- 7. Divide the dough into quarters and divide each quarter into 8 pieces. Roll one piece into a ball, then stretch it and roll it under your palms into a 10-inch stick, about 1/4 inch in diameter. **
- 8. Transfer the stick to a lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, setting the sticks 1/2 inch apart. Refrigerate the sticks, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- 9. Brush the sticks with the egg white, and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on the pans set on a rack.
- 10. Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of very hot water, stirring just until smooth. Add the milk chocolate and continue stirring until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a long, shallow dish.
- 11. Lay out a sheet of parchment or foil. Dip the cooled cookie sticks into the chocolate, leaving a couple of inches uncovered, and place on the parchment paper or foil. The chocolate will harden as it cools.
- Storage: Pocky Sticks are best eaten the day they are made. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- * I did not use milk chocolate. My Pocky sticks were covered with bittersweet chocolate only.
- ** Since the weather is hot here and it makes the dough soften too quickly under the heat of my palms when rolling, I found it easier to roll the dough on parchment, or simply stretch it out and then round the dough around the edges afterwards.
And since we’re on the subject of reasons, a major reason as to why I bake and cook my way through this blog is because I take a lot of pleasure in walking down the aisles of the supermarket, going through the goodies of a bakery, or sampling the offerings of a restaurant, and being able to point out the things that I myself can make at home on my own. More so if my creations actually taste better. It’s an affirmation that none of my efforts have gone to waste, and that makes me happy as can be. 😀