DIY Pocky / Pepero

Here it is! Finally!

I’ve posted about my Pocky-making adventures for a while now on Instagram, and I’m so excited to finally show you the recipe/video that took me ONE YEAR to develop (well, not the entire year, but you know what I mean). Check it out!


Ingredients:
1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp. Water (room temperature)
1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp. Whole Milk (cold)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour (+ 1-2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Chocolate (milk, dark, white)
Toppings (almonds, Oreos, sprinkles, matcha green tea powder)

Equipment:
Scissors
Parchment Paper
Plastic Wrap
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Fork, Spoon
Small Plate
Small Bowl
Medium Bowl
Chef’s Knife
Rolling Pin
Ruler
Baking Pan
Cutting Board

Directions:

  1. A few hours before (or the night before), cut an 8″ square piece of parchment paper and fold up the sides 1″. Put it on a small plate, pour in 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil, and put it in the freezer to firm up.
  2. The next day, add 1 tbsp. of sugar to a bowl with 1 tbsp. of water. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then add 2 tbsp. of cold milk and stir to dissolve the sugar completely.
  3. Combine  1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp. of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the frozen oil to the flour, breaking up the oil with a fork, then knead the oil into the flour until the mixture feels fluffy and crumbly and all the oil is worked in.
  5. Add the sugary milk to the flour mixture, mixing until it comes together. Add 1-2 tsp. more flour if the mixture is too wet. Knead until smooth and the dough feels like soft play dough.
  6. Fold a large piece of parchment paper into a 13 x 30 cm rectangular package. Smoosh out the dough with your hands, then open the parchment paper and put the dough on a 13 x 30 cm-sized rectangle of the parchment paper.
  7. Fold up all 4 sides of the parchment paper package, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it has completely and evenly filled the package, all the way into the corners. It should be ~1.5-2 mm thick (it will double in height when it rises).
  8. Wrap the parchment paper dough package in plastic wrap, put it on a baking pan, and let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up and let the gluten in the dough relax. (We don’t want tough Pocky!)
  9. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Fold a 4-foot piece of parchment paper in half, then pleat the parchment paper with 1/2 to 1” pleats like you’re making a fan.
  10. Take the dough out from the fridge and uncover it (leaving it on the parchment paper). Put the parchment paper accordion on the baking pan (trim the ends if necessary), and cut the dough into long 3 mm wide by 13 cm long strips using a long chef’s knife. Lay the strips into the pleats one by one as you cut them, making sure not to twist or stretch the strips.
  11. Bake the strips for 20 minutes, check them for doneness (they should be slightly golden and completely firm — make sure to check the middles of the sticks), then bake them for another 5-10 minutes if necessary. Try not to overbake them or they’ll be super crispy or too brown!
  12. While the sticks are cooling, chop up your chocolate into small pieces, put them into a metal bowl, and put the bowl over a pot of hot water to melt, i.e., melt the chocolate using the double boiler method.
  13. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the sticks one by one using a small spoon, then tap the sticks against the spoon to remove any excess chocolate. Hang them up using clothespins on a skewer taped between 2 tall boxes. Tissue boxes work well.
  14. Have fun with different flavours and toppings! Chop up your toppings into bits and sprinkle them over your freshly chocolate-coated Pocky sticks. They should stick to the chocolate without any pressing or rolling necessary.
  15. Let your chocolate-coated sticks set over night. They should last 2 weeks or more in a  container with a tight lid (separate the flavours so they don’t all end up tasting the same), but you’ll probably eat them long before then, right?

Edit (after I posted the video to YouTube): Thank you to White Wolf for suggesting that the chocolate be tempered to speed up the setting process! I experimented a bit with tempering using this method although I was lazy and didn’t use a candy thermometer and just stuck my finger in to estimate the temperature ;D. The Food Network has a good page on tempering, which you can read here. If you want to go even more in depth, Chocoley explains everything in a lot of detail here. I’m not sure if real Pocky is coated in tempered chocolate since they don’t look glossy, but coating the sticks in this recipe would help give them that satisfying snap! that makes Pocky such a pleasure to eat.

Some recipe development backstory: I watched a lot of YouTube videos about Pocky and read through a lot of recipes but none of them seemed to combine the right mix of ingredients to produce a biscuit-y, cracker-like stick with a light snap, with a good method for getting a nice, even coating on the sticks. It took me 35-40 attempts before I came up with a recipe and technique that I was reasonably satisfied with — haha, that’s perfectionist Jen talking — and would be easy to do with ordinary kitchen ingredients and equipment (a dough-tube extruder and a conveyor-belt oven would have been great, but you know, budgetary restraints and whatnot). In the video, I added extra notes in blue boxes because I tweaked and adjusted the recipe so many times and didn’t want all of my Food Labbing to go to waste.

I’ve found that I really like recipe development! It’s painstaking and frustrating and slow at times but you end up learning so much because each failure or wonky batch forces you to think about each ingredient and technique and figure out to make them all work together. And then when you finally get a recipe that works, you leap out of your mental bathtub, running through the streets like a crazy person, incredibly thankful that you’ll never have to sample another chocolate-covered stick again.

It’s been hot and steamy recently so ice cream and popsicles have been on my mind. Hmmm, is that a hint about the next Harriet’s Kitchen? ;D

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