Mochi ice cream for Halloween? I’ll admit, it’s kind of a weird dessert choice for this holiday. But, once I made the Black Sesame and Thai tea ice creams, I couldn’t help myself. They’re the perfect colors! Add in some purple ube ice cream and you’ve got some real spooky treats.
I loved mochi ice cream as a kid. My siblings and I would always try to get my parents to buy a box whenever we went to the supermarket. It’s a classic Japanese-American dessert, made by wrapping Japanese mochi around a small portion of ice cream. I had never made these at home before because I figured it would be too hard. And although the wrapping technique can be a little tricky, the overall process is actually pretty simple.
The mochi used in this recipe is not flavored, just colored. I used regular food coloring to get the orange color. I added black sesame paste to achieve the gray color, which could add a little flavor, but I couldn’t really taste it.
This recipe is great because it can be used to make any kind of mochi ice cream you want! Although I used two different mochi colors and three different ice cream flavors, feel free to color and flavor your mochi ice creams to your heart’s desire. Like I did with the ube ice cream, you can easily use store-bought ice cream, making these an easy and quick treat to make (but using homemade ice cream is very satisfying).
Some really important tips before you get started:
- Keep your kitchen cool while you work on the ice cream. This dessert was especially hard to make in Hawaii’s hot and humid climate. It’ll be much easier if you can keep your workstation cool, to prevent the ice cream from melting.
- Use a lot of potato/cornstarch when working with the mochi. It’ll make it easier to work with and will keep it from getting too sticky.
- Try to make sure everything is prepped and ready to go before you start assembling. Once you start, you have to work really fast, so it is easier if you don’t have to run around to find anything.
- Be patient. You probably won’t get the perfect shape on your first few (mine were definitely not perfect). That’s okay, these take practice. Plus, they’ll still taste great!
I used a round biscuit cutter, but any round cookie cutter or small bowl would work. The stripe mochi pictured above was the result of excess mochi. I did not want to waste anything, so I cut small stripes of each color and pressed them into one another. Then, I cut/molded it into the same size and shape as the other mochi wrappers.
Some other things to consider: Shiratamako vs. Mochiko flour. I personally made these with mochiko flour (because I had it on hand) but I have heard that the texture and flavor is slightly better with Shiratamako flour. I liked how they came out with the mochiko flour, but it could be something to experiment with! To cook the mochi, I chose the microwave method, which I’ll describe below. There are plenty of tutorials on how to steam mochi online if you choose that method instead.
You might think that the mochi is a little different from store-bought mochi ice creams. This is because the store-bought kind has much more sugar added, making them much softer. I lessened the sugar so it would feel (kinda) healthy, but feel free to add more if you want.
These are great to make for friends or with little kids! You can shape a bunch and store them in your freezer for a couple weeks. When you’re ready to eat them, just let them sit out a little bit to soften. And then enjoy!
Mochi Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cup mochiko flour
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- food coloring
- potato starch/cornstarch
- ice cream of your choice
- Gather your ingredients. Try to use ice cream that is rather very cold and solid.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a melon baller, scoop out ice cream into cupcake liners. You should have about a tablespoon in each. Place cupcake tin in the freezer until completely frozen solid.
Make the mochi:
- Halve all ingredients if making two different colored mochis. If not, you can continue with full amounts or even halve the recipe.
- Using two microwave-safe bowls, combine the mochiko and sugar. You should have 3/4 cup of mochiko and 1/4 cup of sugar in each bowl.
- Add water (3/4 cup for each) and mix well until combined.
- Cover both bowls with plastic wrap, but do not cover too tight. Put bowls in the microwave and heat it for 1 minute.
- Take both bowls out and stir with a wet rubber spatula. Cover again and return to the microwave for another minute.
- Take both bowls out. Add your food coloring now. I used three drops of yellow and one drop of red to get the orange color. I used a teaspoon of black sesame paste to achieve the gray color.
- Cover the bowls and return to the microwave for 30 seconds. The mochi should look and feel like dough at this point.
- Cover your work surface with two pieces of parchment paper and dust it with potato or corn starch. Transfer both of the cooked mochis on top.
- Working with them one at a time, sprinkle a generous amount of potato starch on top of the mochi. Coat a rolling pin with more potato starch and roll the mochi into a thin layer. Repeat with the other mochi dough.
- Transfer the mochis and parchment to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until the mochi is cooled and set.
- Take one of the sheets out of the refrigerator. Start cutting circular shapes, using a cookie cutter or small bowl.
- Dust off any excess potato starch with a brush. Place a plastic wrap or a piece of wax paper on a plate, then a mochi round on top. Then, place another piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on top and repeat. Keep cutting out your mochi rounds until you have no more of that color left. I managed to get around 20 for one sheet.
- Store the mochi rounds in the refrigerator while you repeat the process for the other sheet.
- Once you have all your mochi wrappers cut out, you're ready to assemble your mochi ice cream.
- Place one mochi wrapper on top of a small sheet of plastic wrap. Take one ice cream ball out of the freezer (you'll want to work with them one at a time) and place it on top of the mochi wrapper.
- Wrap the mochi around the ice cream by pulling all four sides around the ice cream ball. Pinch the seams together and then pinch all corners in. Try to form a round shape but try to only use your fingertips, as the heat from your hands will melt the ice cream.
- Quickly cover with the plastic wrap and twist to seal. Place mochi back into the cupcake pan to keep the shape. Place back into the freezer. Again, work on one mochi ice cream at a time!
- Repeat the process for the rest of your mochi wrappers.
- Leave all mochi ice creams in the freezer for a few hours. Leave mochi out for a few minutes before serving until the mochi softens.