This $35 Kit Lets Me Make Mochi Ice Cream At Home, and I’m Swearing off Store-Bought for Good

published Feb 7, 2024
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mochi ice cream on a plate
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling Debbie Wee

If there’s one thing that I’m known for, it’s my undying love for sweet treats — especially ice cream. I can’t leave the grocery store without it, and I’ve even stopped at an ice cream shop in the dead of winter and eaten it outside more than once. But as much as I love my store-bought frozen treats — Talenti is superior and I’ll take no arguments — it’s undeniable that there’s something a little more special about making your own batch at home.

This year, I’ve been on a mission to try more new things in the kitchen and deviate from my go-to dishes, and lucky for me, Uncommon Goods has a whole section dedicated to helping shoppers do just that. The retailer has dozens of DIY food kits that give you all of the required ingredients, tools, and easy-to-follow instructions, and whether you want to make your own hot sauce or soft pretzels, they’ve got you covered. But my dessert-loving self couldn’t pass up the chance to try out their $35 mochi ice cream-making kit, and now I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to grabbing it at the store.

What is the DIY Mochi Ice Cream Kit?

For the uninitiated, mochi ice cream is a Japanese rice cake filled with a bite-sized amount of ice cream. Mochi itself has been around for centuries, but its combination with ice cream came about in the 1990s, invented by Japanese American businesswoman Frances Hashimoto. These days, tons of brands sell the premade treat at the store — you’ve probably seen it on the Trader Joe’s frozen dessert aisle — but Uncommon Goods’ intermediate-level kit allows you to make the rice cake yourself. It includes sweet rice flour, potato starch, two flavoring powders, an ice cream mold, and a dough cutter. The only things that you’ll need to have on hand are your favorite ice cream, sugar, and a bit of baking equipment (including plastic wrap). With the quantity of ingredients included in the kit, you can make up to 32 pieces (so, you’ll get about four batches out of it).

Credit: Uncommon Goods

Why I Love the DIY Mochi Ice Cream Kit

Allow me to preface this by admitting that I’m a dessert lover, but I’m by no means a dessert-making expert. However, the instructions are simple enough that a novice could get through it just fine. I’ll be honest, though: My first try wasn’t completely successful, but I’m pretty sure it was a microwave mishap — more on that later.

The first step involves scooping ice cream into the eight-piece mold — I used Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream, but you could take it a step further and whip up your own if you have an ice cream maker. The instructions advise letting it freeze overnight or at least one hour. Where I went wrong the first time was opting for the latter, but trust me, after my second successful attempt, I discovered that overnight is the only way to go. Too little time results in a too-mushy half sphere that won’t come out of the mold in one piece.

Creating the mochi mixture itself also isn’t too difficult, but make sure to have a microwave-safe bowl that’s large enough for mixing the dry ingredients and water, as well as enough plastic wrap to cover it when it’s ready to cook in the microwave. Pro tip: Keep an eye on the dough while it heats up so that it doesn’t get too tough — the ideal texture is smooth and very sticky. The kit also includes guidance on steaming your dough, if a microwave isn’t available.

Once the dough is finished, then it’s time to roll it out and put the included cutter to use. First and foremost, cover your surface with more potato starch than you think you’ll need. I can’t stress this enough! You need to coat your hands and rolling pin in it, too — the dough is unbelievably sticky. (If you aren’t ready to make a bit of a mess, this probably isn’t the kit for you.) Unlike my first batch that was way too thick and tough, you want the dough to be thin and moldable so that it can wrap around the scoop of ice cream. Putting it all together was by far the most fun step, and after popping the finished product in the freezer, I could hardly wait to pull them out. All in all, excluding the overnight freezing of the ice cream, the process took a couple of hours.

Credit: Morgan Pryor

Even the mochi bites from my first try tasted delicious, if a little misshapen and hard to chew. The ones from my second round, though, I might even go so far as to say were better than any kind I’ve ever bought at the store. But most importantly, I felt totally accomplished afterward. I’ve learned a new skill that will come in handy whenever I have a craving for a frozen treat (which is often), and that makes its $35 price more than worth it.