Japanese mochi ice cream can be made in your own home. You can customize with your favorite flavors of ice cream and keep them stored in the freezer for a fun and delicious treat.
I adore mochi ice cream. For those unfamiliar, mochi is a Japanese rice cake made with glutinous rice flour and has a chewy texture. Mochi Ice Cream is a thin layer of mochi wrapped around an ice cream filling. It’s creamy, sweet, with a little chewy outer shell, and just a very delightful and cute treat. They have become quite popular in the last few years and I’ve been able to find them at most major grocery stores, like Vons and Ralphs. Trader Joe’s makes their own version and the Whole Foods in San Diego carry Bubbies brand, which is flown in from Hawaii.
I buy them a lot but I’ve been wanting to try making my own. I’ve always enjoyed the chewy texture of mochi and it’s been one of my favorite foods since I was kid. Heck, even our family dog’s name is Mochi! I wasn’t introduced to ice cream mochi until college. I don’t quite remember how my first experience came about, but I do remember having one of those “mind blown” moments once I tried it. I immediately became obsessed with these little round treats.
For years, I’ve puzzled over how to make mochi ice cream. I’ve made regular mochi with glutinous rice flour. But the dough I used to make regular mochi did not seem like it would work well with ice cream mochi and I was also afraid that once frozen, the mochi would stiffen and lose its chewy texture.
Luckily, I found a great recipe post and video tutorial for mochi ice cream from Just One Cookbook. Over the years, I’ve found her blog to be a great resource for Japanese recipes, so I knew her recipe would be a great place to start.
The key to producing good mochi ice cream is using Shiratamako. You can find it in most Japanese grocery stores, like Mitsuwa or Marukai. Even though this package doesn’t have it labeled in English, it was clearly labeled on the shelf. This is not the same as the more commonly found packages of powdery glutinous rice flour or mochiko. While Shiratamako is also made of glutinous rice, it is processed differently and is shaped like coarse granules rather than a fine powder.
Once you have the right flour, the dough can easily be made in the microwave. First, you dissolve the dough, then you wrap it plastic wrap and cook it for one minute (bottom left photo). Then you mix and cook one more minute (bottom right photo).
Then you gather the dough and cook it about 30 more seconds until dough is no longer white and slightly translucent.
A little more time consuming is the rolling out of the dough. It’s very, very sticky, but the use of cornstarch really helps. You roll the dough out very thinly, then cut circles.
The trickiest part is evenly wrapping the ice cream in the mochi. You need to do it quickly because the ice cream will immediately start to melt and once it wets the dough, the dough will no longer remain sticky enough to seal. It does take a few tries to get it right. My first few, I either filled too little, too much, or wrapped them too slow. I started with chocolate flavor and as you can see, there are no chocolate ones in the picture because I messed those up! But after a few, I got the hang of it and managed to produce some decent looking ones.
They aren’t as perfectly shaped as machine-made ones, but they do taste good. The mochi dough will initially be hard when you remove them from the fridge. But if you let it thaw for just a little bit, the mochi will become soft and chewy again.
Mochi Ice Cream
- 100 g Shiratamako
- 180 ml water
- 55 g graulated white sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- ice cream of your choice
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl, add sugar and shiratamako and whisk together. Add in water and whisk until smooth and shiratamako is completely dissolved.
- Cover surface of bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave at full power for about 1 minute. The mixture should look like it's starting to clump and cook in certain sections. Stir with a spatula to evenly mix. Place plastic wrap back on and cook in microwave for 1 minute. Now the entire mixture should have turned solid, like wet dough. Stir until dough becomes one clump. Place plastic wrap over the bowl again. Cook for about 30 more seconds in the microwave or until dough loses its white color, becoming slightly transculent.
- Lay a large sheet of parchment paper down on your working surface. Add 3 tbsp of cornstarch to a mesh strainer and use that to sprinkle and lightly dust the surface of your parchment paper. Dust your rolling pin. Place your mochi dough onto the middle of your cornstarch dusted parchment paper. Add more cornstarch to the top of the dough. Begin to roll out your dough. If any part of the dough starts to stick to your rolling pin, add a little more cornsarch to that section of the dough. Roll dough out as thinly as possible, about 1/8 inch thin. Place dough into the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
- Using a 3.5 inch cookie cutter, cut circles into your dough. Place finished circles into a pile, but wih a sheet of plastic wrap in between each one. You want each sheet of plastic wrap to be big enough to wrap the finished mochi in. When you have finished cutting out all the circles you can with the dough, re-roll dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used up. You should be able to get 12-13 circles.
- To wrap the ice cream in the mochi, you will need to work quickly. It's best to read through this step before proceeding. If you are using previously scooped frozen balls, take them out one by one. If you are using several flavors of ice cream, only remove one container of ice cream at a time and scoop only one ball at a time using the same packing/leveling of a 1.5 tbsp cookie scooper as discussed in the notes section. First, to prepare the dough, dust off any excess cornstarch from both sides of the dough. Gently pull on the dough a little to stretch it out a little more. Place your ice cream ball directly in the center of your mochi wrapper. Be careful that none of the ice cream touches the sides of the mochi wrapper. If it does, your mochi wrapper will lose it's stickiness and will be unable to seal. Working quickly, first lift both ends of your wrapper up and over the mochi, meeting in the center, and pinching the center closed. Then gather dough up from one open side and pinch it closed at the center. Then gather from the other side and meet in the center and pinch. Repeat. You should need to gather dough two times from each side, for a total of five pinches at the center. You want to alternate each side because if you seal only one side shut first, the ice cream will leak out the other side. Once the dough is sealed at the center, wrap the plastic wrap around and twist. Then layer the ice cream mochi ball with pinched ends facing down, inside a muffin pan cavity. This will help it keep it's shape. Place immediately into freezer before moving on to next one.
- When finished, let mochi ice cream sit in freezer for several hours. When ready to eat, let them thaw for about 1 minute (maybe less depending on the temperature of your house) to allow the mochi dough to soften, before eating.
- If you are using only one flavor of ice cream, it's best to scoop out individual balls and freeze them overnight.
- If you plan on using several flavors, and just a few of each flavor, I found that this wasn't really needed as the ice cream stayed cold enough to scoop and wrap 3-4 balls.
- If you are freezing ice cream overnight, use a 1.5 tbsp cookie scooper. Tightly pack the cookie scoop with ice cream and then level off the scooper. I found this to be the perfect amount of ice cream. When I tried an unpacked scoop, there wasn't enough ice cream filling. When I packed it and didn't level the scoop, then it was too much ice cream to wrap around.
- Recipe slightly adapted from Just One Cookbook
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.