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Getting Wrapped Up in Mochi: Making Coffee-Infused Treats with the Japanese Sticky Dough

Cold mochi — a sticky, sweet rice cake wrapped around a refreshing ball of ice cream — is a hot treat right now, popping up in grocery stores and restaurants in a slew of fun flavors.

It’s a complex melding of textures and temps. But it turns out that if you know how to make a biscuit, you can make your own mochi. Here’s what it takes to make your own coffee-flavored cold mochi treat.

Making Mochi

Mochi is made with Mochiko, a sweet rice flour ground from short-grain rice. The type of flour is important; the wrong rice flour — and there are many — will leave you with hard mochi or a gluey mess. But like with biscuits, once you have the right ingredients, the process of making mochi dough is simple enough. Just mix the dry ingredients (Mochiko, sugar) with liquid (a cup of strong coffee is perfect), stir and microwave.

Then comes the hard part. Mochi is incredibly sticky. That’s especially a problem when it’s fresh out of the microwave, but it’s still quite sticky even when cool. Ward off trouble by liberally sprinkling cornstarch on anything that you suspect will touch the mochi — countertops, kitchen implements and especially your hands.

You’ll want to give just as much attention to the ice cream: Make sure you use a quality ice cream that will freeze hard, and use a cookie scoop to maintain a uniform size. When picking out the ice cream for this homemade coffee mochi, consider how it will pair with your favorite coffee drink. For example, chocolate ice cream goes well with mocha, while vanilla is a good match for a traditional latte.

There are a couple of techniques for getting the mochi around the ice cream. You can roll out the dough and cut out the mochi wraps using a biscuit cutter or a glass coated with cornstarch. Or you can pinch off dough and, using your cornstarch-covered fingers, work the mochi into a thin circle.

Either way, work in small batches to keep your ice cream frozen, wrap each ball of ice cream and place them seam-side down on a cold, parchment-lined cookie sheet. Trim extra mochi with a cornstarch-coated knife. Store your new treats in the freezer, but allow them to soften for a few minutes before serving.

Coffee Mochi Recipe

Makes about 10 servings. Coffee mochi keeps for about two days in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  1. Combine the hot water and instant coffee, then set aside.
  2. Whisk together the Mochiko and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl until well combined. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones.
  3. Cover the bowl loosely with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about two minutes; stir, then microwave for about 90 seconds more. The mochi should be thick, sticky and the color of a good gumbo roux or a new penny.
  4. Dust a work surface with cornstarch, then pour the mochi out to cool. It will keep for about three days if stored in an airtight container.
  5. When you’re ready to assemble the mochi balls, cover your hands or a rolling pin with cornstarch, then pinch off some mochi dough or roll it out into a thin sheet. If you’re using your hands, work it into a thin round with your fingers.
  6. Cover each ice cream ball with mochi and place seam-side down on a cold, lined cookie sheet. You may have to put the ice cream back in the freezer for a bit if it gets too soft. That’s fine; your mochi dough should stay soft for about a day.
Cut away any excess mochi dough so that the ball sits evenly on the tray. Store in the freezer, but allow to soften for a few minutes before serving.