It is the time of the year when you find pine cones everywhere! I love all Christmas treats, decorations and of course the festive atmosphere that Christmas brings. Many Japanese people do too even though they are not Christians. Why not make an abundance of edible pine cones to decorate your house and table with Japanese ingredients this holiday season!? They look like real pine cones but actually are an edible treat.
Japanese ingredients for Christmas treats
Purple sweet potato
Purple sweet potato will make the core of the edible pinecones. This sweet potato is ideal to use because it has purple skin with beige flesh inside. Also it is naturally sweet. First of all, cook the purple sweet potato and mash it. Then add cocoa to make it resemble pine cone’s dark brown colour.
Chocolate coated corn flakes. You can buy them in packets and it is a popular (and my favourite) children’s snack. These are not for breakfast in Japan, but more of a day snack. Choco Flakes make the scales of the pine cones. You can buy them from Japanese grocery stores. You can substitute this with Chocolate Frosted Flakes. I used Coco pops in the video.
If you would like to make a very realistic pine cone, I recommend using choco flakes. Because it does not absorb moisture from the sweet potato mashed core so stays crispy.
Tips to assemble Christmas Treats
make the sweet potato mash soft
Using a very soft potato mash makes it is easy to insert each choco flake piece. Shape the sweet potato mash into cone shapes to make them look realistic. You need to adjust the softness depending on how dry or wet the cooked sweet potatoes are, by adding butter and milk.
Gently and carefully insert the choco flakes
If you make the sweet potato mash soft enough, it should be easy to insert the fragile choco flakes into the sweet potato mash cone. The pros of using chocolate coated corn flakes are not just to look similar but also because chocolate makes the corn flakes stronger. Also it does not absorb moisture from mashed sweet potatoes.
Use different sized choco flakes
In order to make them like true pine cones, collect and prepare different sized choco flakes. You need to break the lump of choco flakes carefully with your hands beforehand. Use bigger flakes for the bottom part of the cone and use smaller towards the top.
Another tip: Bottom-up
Wrap the sweet potato mash with cling wrap. Hence it is easier to shape it into a cone. Finally, start inserting the cornflake pieces from the bottom up, therefore you don’t knock out the top flakes by working down.
Ideas to use as Christmas Treats
Make this cute edible pine cones part of your Christmas table decoration, or wrap it up and use as an edible holiday gift. If you need gift wrapping ideas read here.
More Christmas Treats to check
These Matcha cookies subtle green, perfectly match the traditional colour of the festive season.
These cookies with purple sweet potato powder resemble the Naruto whirlpool of Naruto Straits in Japan.
A classic French petite butter cake with Japanese infusion beautifully baked in shell-shaped mould.
If you are looking for an easy no-bake cheesecake, make this beautiful matcha marbled no-bake cheesecake.
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- 350 g purple sweet potatoes peeled and chopped *1
- 15 g unsulted butter
- 2 tbsp sugar *2
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 packet Chocolate coated corn flakes *3
- Place sweet potatoes in a pot and enough water just cover the potatoes.
- Bring it to boil on high heat then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10-15 min till the potato is soft and cooked.
- Drain the cooking water and add butter while the sweetpotato is still hot.
- Add sugar, and cocoa powder and mash them all together with a potato masher.
- Take about 2 tbs of mashed sweet potato on to a cling wrap.
- Wrap the sweet potatoes and shape it like a cone.
- Tap it onto the kitchen bench to flatten the bottom gently 2-3 times.
- Unwrap the cling wrap and start inserting bigger pieces of choco flakes from the bottom side.
- Continue inserting choco flakes bigger pieces from the bottom to smaller pieces to the top.
- Repeat same for the remaining ingredients. It will make about 10 pine cones. *4