Since I had some extra matcha powder and glutinous rice flour from making the matcha mochi cupcakes, I decided to try making matcha green tea ice cream with matcha mochi bits. I was still traumatized by the time I tried to make mochi wrapped ice cream so I decided to just cut up the mochi and swirl it into the ice cream this time. Of course, I (once again) underestimated the stickiness of fresh cooked mochi and ended up stretching and hacking it into bits instead of properly cutting it. If there's anything I learned from this process it's that you can never use enough cornstarch!
After making a batch of the matcha green tea ice cream, I noticed that the matcha powder wasn't really dissolving into the ice cream base and was clumping up instead. I thought it would go away in the churning process but you can still see bits of matcha powder in the picture above. Compare that with the picture below of the second batch I made. Can you guess what simple ingredient made the matcha powder dissolve more easily?
Alcohol! Or in this particular case, vodka. I think it has something to do with it being more non-polar than water (yay masters degree in chemistry from an Ivy League school!). By mixing the matcha powder in some vodka first and then mixing it with the rest of the ice cream base you get a nice, smooth result.
Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream with Matcha Mochi Bits makes about 1 quart
For the matcha mochi bits: (adapted from Come On, Ilene!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water, divided
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1 teaspoon matcha powder
Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with wax paper or a Silpat and coating it generously with cornstarch.
Dissolve the sugar into 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat to make a simple syrup.
In a medium microwaveable mixing bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup water with the glutinous rice flour and matcha powder until smooth.
Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave (be careful, it will be very hot!) and stir again.
Pour in the simple syrup and keep stirring.
At first it will look kind of gross and lumpy but eventually it was all even out and you'll get a nice, thick goo.
Pour the mochi batter onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle more cornstarch on top. Let the mochi cool. You can put the sheet in the fridge or freezer to hurry this process along.
Once the mochi is firm, distribute the top layer of cornstarch evenly
with your fingers to coat any shiny areas. Flip it over on a cutting
board and make sure the back side is evenly coated as well.
When the mochi is completely cool, cut into small bits and pieces and
continue to coat with extra cornstarch while cutting to avoid letting the pieces stick together.
Freeze the mochi bits until the ice cream is ready to pack.
For the matcha green tea ice cream: (adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home)
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
1 tablespoon vodka
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl
to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium
bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Mix the matcha powder with the vodka and stir until smooth.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a
4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and
boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook,
stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1
Remove from heat and add some of the hot ice cream base to the matcha vodka mixture. Stir until smooth and then add back to the rest of the ice cream base.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and
submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as
necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, adding the matcha mochi bits in between layers of ice cream. Press a sheet of
parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.
Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Just like with mochi-wrapped ice cream, the mochi bits stay nice and pillowy soft even after frozen. It makes an interesting contrast to the usual hard and crunchy mix-ins for ice creams. And the amount of vodka used to dissolve the matcha powder was so minimal I can't even taste it in the ice cream.