A fusion dessert where East meets West, mochi ice cream is made of mochi with frozen filling. Basically, they are Japanese rice cakes with an ice cream center in a soft, slightly chewy, sweet rice dough.
Mochi is a well-loved dessert from Japan that is a rice cake made of mochigome. Mochigome is a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. It is mixed with other ingredients such as water, sugar, and cornstarch. The process of making mochi includes pounding the rice to get a paste-like texture and molding it into the desired shape. Mochi is usually made during a traditional ceremony in Japan called mochitsuki.
On the other hand, Mochi ice cream was invented by Frances Hashimoto, a Japanese-American businesswoman and community activist. This Japanese confection is a great dessert as the ice cream adds flavor and creaminess to the confection while the mochi adds sweetness and texture.
Mochi ice cream can be bought in supermarkets or stalls at the malls. But you don’t need to go outside if you want to create these beautiful treats for your kids. You can easily make your own by following a mochi ice cream recipe on this post. Let’s find out more as you read further.
How Mochi Ice Cream Is Made (Easy Mochi Ice Cream Recipe)
Making this sweet and chewy Japanese rice cake filled with your choice of ice cream filling should not be hard. Mochi ice cream provides that great experience by providing the creaminess of the ice cream flavors in a soft, slightly chewy texture, sweet rice dough.
To get started, here are the ingredients:
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour (Sweet rice flour)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 cup water
- food coloring (optional if you want to change the color of the dough)
- Cornstarch or potato starch (for dusting and rolling)
- Ice Cream (depending on your favorite ice cream flavors)
Procedures in making mochi ice cream:
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper as you will freeze the ice cream balls.
Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the ice cream balls and place them onto the parchment paper. Work as quickly as you can to avoid ice cream balls from melting. Also ensure that you pack the ice cream tightly as you scoop and leave a flat edge on the ice cream so that it will sit flat on your cookie sheet. Freeze the ice cream balls in a freezer or refrigerator for one hour.
- Now, start making your mochi dough.
In a microwave safe bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour, sugar, and powdered sugar. Add the water while stirring continuously until you have a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave the mochi dough for a minute. Remove from the microwave after one minute and fold the mixture using a wet spatula. Ensure that the spatula is wet enough to avoid the mixture from sticking. Cover the mochi dough and put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. If the mochi dough is not shiny, put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds more.
- Let us now roll the mochi dough.
On the counter, place a sheet of parchment paper and dust with a layer of cornstarch (or potato starch if you’re using one). Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mochi dough from the bowl and put it onto the parchment paper. Be careful as the dough might be too hot to handle as it came from the microwave.
- Dust the top of the dough ball with cornstarch and use a rolling pin to roll the mochi dough into a large rectangle.
Dust the top with more cornstarch to prevent sticking if the dough sticks at all while rolling. At about 1/4” thickness, roll the dough and place the parchment paper with the rolled out dough onto a sheet pan. Set aside and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into large squares of plastic wrap (one for each ice cream ball) using scissors.
Wrap each mochi in plastic wrap before freezing.
- It’s time to fill the mochi dough with an ice cream ball.
Remove the frozen mochi dough from the refrigerator and use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut circles in the dough (about 3 inch round). The circle should be big enough to pinch the dough around the ice cream balls. Get one circle of dough and gently brush off the cornstarch from the top. Use one scoop of ice cream at a time and put it in the center of the mochi. Gently press the dough around the ice cream and pinch the edges of the mochi to seal it.
Note: Make sure to put the rest of the ice cream balls in the freezer so they don’t melt.
- On a piece of plastic wrap, place the mochi and bring the corners of the square to the center. Twist tightly at the top to seal it.
- Place the mochi back in the freezer with the twisted plastic wrap side down to freeze them.
Continue on working with the remaining dough and ice cream balls. For at least 1 hour, freeze your mochi ice cream before eating or serving. Unconsumed mochi ice cream can be placed in a plastic wrap, in a freezer safe bag or container. Put them in the freezer and consume the mochi ice cream within 3 months. Just allow the dough to slightly thaw before eating if you have frozen them for a long time
Tips When Making Mochi Ice Cream
There are few things to remember when you make homemade mochi ice cream. Since mochi is going to be very sticky, there are few alternatives you can use to help you manage the stickiness coming from the glutinous rice flour.
Get cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca flour ready on hand as they will help you manage the stickiness. Using a dry spatula will worsen the situation. Before you dip your spatula when folding the dough, make sure to wet it with water. This should also benefit you as you will be able to clean it up easily after making mochi ice cream at home.
The next thing you’ll need to remember is that you will need a cookie or biscuit cutter that is about an inch bigger than the ice cream scoop. The dough should possess a circle big enough to surround the ice cream. But it should be right enough to avoid getting air pockets or having extra dough hanging off. Cut any extra dough right away when you add the ice cream as it will taste hard and chewy once it’s frozen.
For a fast, easy, and effective cooking of the dough, use a microwave instead of steaming them. But if you like the traditional way of making the mochi through steaming, make sure to steam the dough for 15 minutes and stir it after. You should achieve a slightly shiny sheen. If not, steam the dough for another 5 minutes.
If your mochi ice cream dough gets hard, simply infuse it with moisture by steaming or microwaving it with some water. Letting the mochi ice cream sit in the fridge for a long time will eventually make the mochi ice cream hard. Let it thaw under room temperature before eating to soften the mochi as the ice cream melts a little and make it easier to eat.
There are cases that it feels grainy when you take a bite on your homemade mochi ice cream. This could happen if your Japanese mochi ice cream melted and was frozen again. This phenomenon is caused by the formation of tiny ice crystals from the melting of liquid and solidifying it again. You can prevent it if you store mochi ice cream properly in a tightly sealed container to prevent moisture from escaping.
Another thing to note is to wrap your mochi ice cream fast. The ice cream filling could melt right away if you don’t work fast and could get things messy if that happens. That’s why you will need to ensure you lessen the stickiness as it prevents you from getting things done in a timely manner. After placing the ice cream filling in the dough, seal it right away in a plastic wrap to preserve it.
What Are The Best Mochi Ice Cream Filling
Getting the best ice cream to fill the center of your mochi can be quite tricky. Well, at least if it’s not you who will eat it as we all have our own preferences when it comes to the ice cream flavors.
If you want to go on a safer side for your ice cream scoop, then go with the neutral flavors such as vanilla ice cream. You can even create variations by using any flavor of ice cream or sorbet as they will work. If you don’t like an ice cream filling, swap it with nutella, chocolate, fresh cut strawberries, peanut butter, or traditional red bean paste (anko). But mochi ice cream balls won’t be called mochi ice cream without an ice cream filling.
To make things even more interesting, flavor your dough. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter right after the dough has steamed in the microwave to have that peanut butter flavor. To have that chocolatey taste, mix in 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder before cooking your dough. Same goes if you want a Matcha flavor, mix in 1 teaspoon of Matcha or green tea powder. You can also have vanilla extract for that vanilla flavor or coconut milk for that tropical vibes on the taste.
How To Eat Mochi Ice Cream Properly
You can eat your Japanese mochi ice cream the way you want it. But the best way to eat it is when it is soft and cold for a midday snack. Note: There’s no need to defrost it. Thaw your mochi ice cream at room temperature to melt it a little and reduce the coldness. Eating too cold mochi ice cream will reduce the enjoyment you could get from it.
You can also microwave your frozen mochi ice cream to soften it further or quicker. But if you like to get your time slowly, putting it under room temperature should be enough as the sweet rice flour dough will slow down the melting process.
How To Store Mochi Ice Cream Properly
Nothing beats eating your freshly made dessert right after you’re done making them. Same goes with mochi ice cream as it is best eaten fresh. But if you have made a large portion that cannot be consumed right away, then let’s talk about getting those extra mochi ice cream stored properly.
Before you freeze mochi ice cream for storing, wrap each mochi ice cream ball in plastic cling film and seal them tightly in an airtight container. This will allow you to store your mochi ice cream for up to 3 months.
Is Mochi Ice Cream Healthy
If consumed moderately, mochi ice cream is healthier than regular ice cream. Aside from being a delicious treat for your kids, family and friends, mochi ice cream has a handful of beneficial nutrients including bone-strengthening calcium, blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and energizing B vitamins.
Each mochi ice cream has 100 nutrition calories per 43 grams. Plus the use of glutinous rice flour is filling to the stomach, making you want it less compared when eating with just an ice cream.
How Vegan Is Mochi Ice Cream
Though mochi ice cream is made with glutinous rice flour, it is not vegan at all due to the presence of ice cream filling, which is a dairy product.
However, you can turn the mochi ice cream into a vegan-friendly dessert by substituting the ice cream filling with non-dairy products such as sorbet and other dairy-free alternatives made from plant-based ingredients like soy or almond milk. Matcha paste, red bean paste or any cut fruit can be added to these plant-based fillings to make it more dense.