Welcome to The Cool Down, Hunker's definitive guide for staying cool, calm, and collected all summer long.
If you're craving a frozen treat to beat the summer heat, add this boba ice pop recipe to your to-do list. It's inspired by the brown sugar boba ice milk bars, a popular I-Mei brand product that's sold at Costco and H Mart. In fact, when the Instagram account @costcodeals shared a photo of the product, the post went viral, earning nearly 20,000 likes. Clearly, boba ice pops are (literally) very cool.
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But if you're unable to find the ice pops — or want to save some cash — this copycat recipe will come in handy. The same goes if you prefer a dairy-free version. That said, our version is coconut-based, but you can certainly use dairy ingredients if you'd like.
To make these boba ice pops, you'll need an ice pop mold. We recommend using a flat popsicle mold so you can easily swirl the ice cream and brown sugar syrup together. You'll also need to make your own boba pearls with sweet rice flour, as the tapioca pearls traditionally used in beverages become too hard in the freezer. When made with sweet rice flour — the same flour used to make mochi — the boba will stay chewy when frozen. And, depending on your exact mold, this recipe will yield about eight ice pops. Enjoy!
Ice Cream and Brown Sugar Syrup
Things You'll Need
If you can't find coconut cream, you can use the thick creamy part of canned full-fat coconut milk.
In a large bowl, combine the coconut cream and coconut condensed milk. Beat until smooth and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Cover and chill in the refrigerator as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
To make a dairy version, use traditional heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. Beat the heavy cream for 5 to 6 minutes, or until whipped. Add the sweetened condensed milk and salt, then beat until just combined.
In a small pan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water, brown sugar, and molasses. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thick and glossy, about 10 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally to make sure the brown sugar completely dissolves.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water to create a slurry. This will help thicken the brown sugar syrup.
Add the slurry to the syrup. Stir to combine, then remove the syrup from the heat. Let cool completely, cover, and chill in the refrigerator. If needed, you can transfer the cooled syrup to a different container to save space.
Things You'll Need
In a bowl, combine the sweet rice flour and brown sugar.
Add the boiling water.
Mix with a spoon or spatula until the mixture forms a soft dough. If it's too sticky, add a sprinkle of sweet rice flour. If it's too dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time. As the dough forms, you'll have to use your hands.
Sprinkle sweet rice flour on a cutting board or flat surface. Pinch off tiny bits of dough, about 1/4-inch wide, and roll into balls. Roll each ball in sweet rice flour until coated, then set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Cover the finished dough balls with a damp paper towel as you work.
Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the boba pearls, in batches, to the water. Stir gently. Cook until the boba pearls float to the top, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the chilled syrup from the refrigerator. Scoop out the pearls with a slotted spoon and place them in the syrup. Repeat with the remaining boba. Toss to coat the boba pearls; this will prevent sticking. Return the syrup to the refrigerator for 45 minutes to chill.
Boba Ice Pops
Things You'll Need
Brown sugar syrup with boba, chilled
Coconut ice cream, chilled
Scoop the coconut ice cream into the molds, filling each cavity about 2/3 full. Create swirls in the cream with a popsicle stick.
Make sure the cream and syrup are cold at all times. Otherwise, if either ingredient is too warm, the syrup will melt into the cream and they won't properly swirl together. For best results, return each ingredient to the refrigerator after you add it to the mold. This way, it can continue chilling as you work.
Add a spoonful of the brown sugar syrup with boba. Swirl the syrup, adding a few boba pearls to the surface. If the cream is too thin, let it chill in the freezer until you're ready to add the syrup and boba. Finally, insert the popsicle sticks.
Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
Kirsten Nunez is a writer and author who focuses on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, Martha Stewart, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York.