Mochi is an ice cream dessert that’s taken the world by storm. It’s a great dessert option if you’re a fan of regular ice cream but you’re looking for something a little different from your typical vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone or cup of chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.
You can get mochi at most Japanese restaurants and some retail stores, like Target. But if you’re looking to save money or you’re into DIY cooking projects, you could try making mochi ice cream at home.
What is mochi ice cream?
Mochi ice cream is a Japanese dessert that is made from sweet rice dough and filled with ice cream. The dough used in mochi gives it a chewy texture. Another benefit of mochi’s structure is that it’s easy to eat while walking around. There’s way less of a chance of you dropping your mochi ice cream than, say, knocking a scoop of ice cream off of a sugar ice cream cone. Mochi is a handheld and super portable dessert.
Mochi ice cream can come in a variety of flavors, including traditional ice cream flavors (like chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry) and some other more unique flavors (like matcha, taro, and green tea).
Mochi ice cream as we know it today was originally created in the 1980s. At the time, it was made of rice starch and rice milk. There are two desserts that are seen as the ancestors of mochi ice cream: daifuku and manju.
Daifuku is a small ball of mochi filled with a sweet filling like red bean paste and covered in potato flour. Manju is a food with Chinese roots. Like daifuku, manju features mochi filled with red bean paste, but it can also feature whole pieces of fruit or melon paste in the center.
While it may look complicated, mochi ice cream is actually not that difficult to make. The ingredient list to make mochi ice cream is relatively short. To make mochi ice cream, you will need sweet glutinous rice flour, water, sugar, and an ice cream of your choice.
Out of these ingredients, the sweet rice flour will probably be the most difficult to find. But some places to try when searching for sweet rice flour include online stores or Asian markets, if you don’t have any luck at the grocery store.
How to make mochi ice cream
Once you have your ingredients together, the first step is to create individual frozen ice cream balls. To do this, scoop ice cream into cupcake liners and then place in the freezer until completely solid. Doing this will give you a proper base to form the mochi later on.
Move on to making the mochi as the ice cream balls are freezing. Combine the rice flour and sugar in a microwave safe bowl (the ratio of rice flour to sugar should be three to one). Then add water (same amount of water as rice flour) and whisk to combine.
Cover the bowl loosely in plastic wrap and heat in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir with a rubber spatula. Cover again and cook for one minute. Stir again, re-cover, and cook for a final 30 seconds. At this point, the mochi should look almost translucent.
Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and cover with rice flour using a sieve or sifter. Transfer mochi to parchment paper and sift with more rice flour.
With a rolling pin, roll out the mochi so it’s a quarter of an inch thick. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, until the mochi is cool and firm.
Cut rings out of the mochi using a three-inch cookie cutter. Dust off excess rice flour and stack the circles on a plate with a layer of plastic wrap under each.
Remove frozen ice cream scoops from the freezer. Place a frozen scoop on top of a mochi circle, then wrap the ice cream scoop in the mochi using the plastic wrap as a guide. Transfer the ball into the freezer and repeat with the remaining ice cream scoops.
Let the mochi balls freeze for a few hours until frozen solid. Allow the mochi balls to sit at room temperature for around five minutes before serving.
Here are some tips to help you make mochi ice cream at home!
- Make sure your kitchen is cool, especially when you’re working with scooping the ice cream and assembling the mochi balls
- Use an ice cream or cookie scoop for creating ice cream scoops that are uniformly sized and shaped
- Wear thin gloves while assembling the mochi balls. This will keep your hands from melting the ice cream or from sticking to the mochi
- Try playing with food coloring or extract if you want to add to the final look of your mochi ice cream
- Dust everything you’re working with (your hands, spoons, plates, and work surfaces) with a starch, like potato starch or corn starch to keep the mochi dough from sticking to everything
One of the great things about making mochi ice cream at home is you have total freedom to make it with whatever kind of ice cream you want. With that being said, here are some ideas for ice cream flavors you can consider using when you make mochi ice cream.
- Green Tea
- Cake Batter
- Cookies and Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip
If you’re looking to take your mochi ice cream to the next level, consider adding some toppings! After all, mochi ice cream is still ice cream, so some classic ice cream toppings would make a great addition to your mochi ice cream.
Roll your mochi ice cream in some rainbow or chocolate sprinkles. Drizzle some caramel sauce or chocolate sauce over your mochi ice cream. Top your mochi ice cream off with a maraschino cherry. The possibilities of what you do with your mochi ice cream are only limited by your imagination.