Chewy and sweet Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars - a frozen twist on the classic Taiwanese milk tea drink. Homemade boba pearls pair perfectly with brown sugar ice cream for an irresistible summertime treat!
Boba and ice cream are a match made in heaven! Nothing beats the chewy boba pearls paired with creamy ice cream. Well, these Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bars take it to the next level!
Brown Sugar Boba Bars combine the signature flavors of brown sugar boba drinks into a handheld ice cream bar. Inspired by the popular Taiwanese bubble tea, it has the caramelised sugar syrup and chewy boba pearls we all know and love. Now imagine that in ice cream form - rich, creamy ice cream infused with brown sugar flavor and drizzled with homemade little boba balls.
Boba ice cream is basically like a decadent brown sugar boba drink, but frozen! This easy recipe allows you to create the perfect Brown Sugar Milk Tea Ice Cream at home with simple ingredients. It's the ideal refreshing treat for summer and way better than even the Boba Popsicles you can find at H Mart!
This summer, I'm taking you on a worldwide ice cream and bubble tea tour with unique flavorful recipes. Explore the nutty roasted flavor of Hojicha Ice Cream from Japan, the aromatic Thai Tea Ice Cream, and nutty and bold Black Sesame Ice Cream. Also try the popular Tiger Milk Tea, flavorful Thai Milk Tea, and creamy Hokkaido Milk Tea bubble teas.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Tastes just like the real thing: This Boba Tea Ice Cream Bar tastes just like your favorite brown sugar boba milk tea drink. The recipe recreates those signature flavors in frozen form.
- Chewy pearls: Homemade boba pearls give you that perfect chewy, bouncy texture mixed throughout the creamy ice cream.
- Amazing flavor: Warm notes of brown sugar syrup infuse the ice cream base for irresistible flavor in each bite.
- Unique ice cream: This boba ice cream bar is a unique and trendy frozen treat takes regular ice cream to the next level!
What is Boba Ice Cream?
Brown sugar boba ice cream bar is a popular Taiwanese-inspired frozen dessert that combines chewy boba pearls (or tapioca balls) with rich, creamy ice cream. It's inspired by bubble tea and recreates those fun textures and flavors in ice cream form.
The milk tea ice cream base is infused with brown sugar syrup, giving it a sweet, nutty flavor profile. Pieces of homemade chewy mochi balls are mixed throughout the ice cream, providing an irresistible contrast between the warm and cold ingredients. The tapioca balls are made from tapioca starch and brown sugar.
Boba ice cream delivers the taste of a brown sugar boba drink in a refreshing, frozen scoop. It's a unique twist on classic ice cream that's trending in many ice cream and boba tea shops.
What does it taste like?
Brown sugar boba ice cream bar tastes just like brown sugar bubble tea in ice cream form. It has sweet caramelised notes in every bite, it’s milky and roasted from the black milk tea. The chewy boba pearls add a unique texture that makes this ice cream super fun!
For the Ice Cream:
- Heavy cream - Adds creaminess and richness to the brown sugar ice cream base.
- Whole milk - Further enhances the creamy, smooth texture of the ice cream.
- Sugar - You can use any type of sugar, by I recommend using either regular brown sugar or Taiwanese black sugar.
- Black tea – used to infuse the milk and cream with tea flavour.
For the Boba Pearls:
- Glutinous rice flour - Creates the chewy, bouncy texture of the boba pearls. You can find it in your local Chinese grocery store. In Japanese stores, it's often called Mochiko Rice Flour.
- Brown sugar - Sweetens the pearls and gives them flavor.
Note: Please note you cannot use store-bought boba pearls or homemade tapioca pearls because they go rock hard when frozen. Glutinous rice flour is used to create a similar chewy texture that also freezes well.
For the Brown Sugar Syrup:
- Brown sugar - Provides sweet, nutty brown sugar flavour.
- Water - Dissolves the brown sugar to make the syrup.
- Corn starch – Used to make a cornstarch slurry that thickens the syrup.
Tools & Equipment
For this Bubble Tea Ice Cream recipe you will need a silicone popsicle mold. These are easy to use and you can decorate the ice cream as you like.
How to make Boba Ice Cream Bars at home
Making the Ice Cream Base:
- Whisk together eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
- Separately, infuse milk with black tea in a medium pot over medium heat.
- Temper the eggs with the hot milk.
- Cook over low heat until thickened, chill, then churn in ice cream maker.
Making the Boba Pearls:
- Combine glutinous rice flour and brown sugar with boiling water.
- Knead dough into small pieces, then roll and cut into tiny pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough between palms to make round.
- Boil pearls, then drain, and cook in brown sugar syrup to caramelize.
Assembling the Moulds:
- Prepare brown sugar syrup, the mix in the cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened.
- Place syrup squeeze bottle or piping bag. Pipe in zigzag pattern into popsicle mold.
- Add boba pearls and ice cream.
- Top with more syrup and pearls, then freeze.
Success Tips & Tricks
- Use glutinous rice flour - Make sure to use glutinous rice flour as the tapioca pearls made with tapioca flour pearls don't freeze well.
- Small pearls - Don't make the boba balls too big or they won't fit in the molds.
- Sprinkle with flour - The uncooked boba dough is very sticky so sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking when shaping little balls.
- Cook pearls in syrup - After boiling, let the boba pearls cook in the brown sugar syrup to infuse flavor.
- Work quickly - Move efficiently when assembling the ice pop mold. Have the ice cream base chilled and all ingredients prepped so you can work fast before things melt.
- Insert sticks before freezing - Put popsicle sticks into the popsicle molds before freezing for neat ice cream popsicles.
Frequently asked questions
Of course! Just add half of the ice cream to an tub, then drizzle syrup and boba pearls. Swirl them in with a skewer or knife, then repeat the process for the remaining quantity.
No, store-bought tapioca pearls won't work in this frozen recipe. They become too hard when frozen. The homemade glutinous rice flour pearls are necessary to achieve the desired chewy boba texture.
Yes, you can make this Boba Ice Cream Bar without an ice cream maker. After preparing the milk tea ice cream base, chill it, then freeze in a container. Stir every 30 minutes while freezing to prevent ice crystals. The texture may be less creamy without an ice cream maker but still tasty!
The assembled ice cream bars need to be stored in the freezer. Make sure they are tightly wrapped to prevent freezer burn. They will keep for 1-2 months frozen.
Yes, you can experiment with other bubble tea flavors like oolong or Thai tea. Just steep the tea leaves in the milk and cream mixture as done with the black tea. Thai tea would be amazing!
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Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar Recipe
- 1 popsicle silicone mold
- ice cream maker
For the boba ice cream base
- 1 whole egg, medium
- 1 egg yolk, medium
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk (100 grams)
- 1 cup heavy cream (220 grams)
- 4 black tea teabags*
For the Boba Pearls
- ¾ cup sweet glutinous rice flour* (80 grams)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
- black food coloring, optional
For the brown sugar syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cold water
Making the Boba Ice Cream Base:
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, salt and brown sugar until fully combined and smooth.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk and heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until steaming and small bubbles form at edges.
- Remove from heat and cover with a lid, then let steep for 5 minutes. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture to remove the tea leaves.
- Gradually pour some of the hot milk mixture into the eggs while whisking continuously to temper them.
- Return tempered milk mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 5-6 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If using a food thermometer, the temperature should read maximum 180°F (80°C).
- Pour the hot custard into a bowl to prevent overcooking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let it cool down to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight before churning.
- Pour chilled custard into ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until thickened.
Making the Boba Pearls:
- In a small bowl, combine glutinous rice flour and brown sugar. Pour in boiling water and stir vigorously until a sticky dough forms. Add food coloring if desired.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead dough briefly until smooth. Pinch off small pieces and roll between palms to make boba balls.
- In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add boba pearls, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until they float to the surface.
- Drain boiled pearls and add to saucepan with brown sugar. Simmer over medium heat until glossy. Let cool completely.
Making the Syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and water. Simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and cold water. Add slurry to sugar syrup and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool down completely.
Assembling the Molds:
- Pour syrup into a squeeze bottle or piping bag. Pipe a layer of syrup into ice pop molds in a zigzag pattern.
- Add boba pearls, gently pressing them into the syrup.
- Scoop soft-serve ice cream on top to fill mold and smooth out with a spatula.
- Top with more syrup and pearls. Insert ice pop sticks, then freeze until solid.
- Teabags can be replace with loose leaf tea. In this recipe you would need 4 teaspoons of loose leaf black tea. Don't forget to strain the mixture to remove leaves.
- Sweet glutinous rice flour is also called Mochiko in Japanese shops. It cannot be replaced with plain rice flour or tapioca starch.
- Nutritional value is estimative only and is calculated per serving, without any additional toppings. This recipe makes 6 medium ice cream bars.
- Storing: keep in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2-3 weeks. Consume within a few days for the best texture.