What do you do when you’re a boba-obsessed, Disney-loving person stuck at home because of shelter-in-place? That’s right, you make Mickey-shaped desserts with boba!
Back in April, Boba Guys closed down all of their locations due to the spread of Covid-19, and as a result, some San Francisco Boba Guys locations actually sold off some of their inventory. To support them and our boba dependence, my sister purchased one of their packs of US Boba Company tapioca pearls, and I got my hands on some too! US Boba Company’s tapioca already has a very lightly sweet taste to it and has a delightfully chewy texture with lots of bounce too!
This is also the first recipe I’m trying after making the decision to switch over to Monkfruit Sweetener as a substitute for granulated sugar! I’ve been curious about this sweetener for a while and with all the baking that I’ve been doing lately I figured it would be a good idea to find some interesting alternatives! I purchased this Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener to give it a try (note that this product is a mixture of erythritol and monkfruit extract; for pure monkfruit extract I may try a different product). As it says on the packaging, it’s a 1:1 sugar substitute, so for the recipe I used, I just directly swapped out the granulated sugar for monkfruit sweetener.
The Baking Process
To add a milk tea twist to these baked goods, I attempted another flavor infusion similar to the lavender whipped cream I made for my crepe cake recipe! This time, because the recipe didn’t include a liquid ingredient, I attempted to add in the flavor to the butter. This process can also be used to flavor butter for spreads as well! Infusion takes time, so you’ll need to do this well before you start baking (the longer the better!) This also requires a little more butter than whatever the recipe requires because the heat will evaporate some of the liquid content from the butter. You’ll also notice that the texture and color of the butter will have changed because the heating process separates the milk fat solids from the liquids and will essentially alter the structural properties of the butter. I was a bit impatient this time around so I only steeped my tea bags in the butter for about an hour. The flavor was light, and you could definitely get a hint of tea, but I think at least a few hours is preferable for a stronger taste.
Another part you’ll need to prepare ahead of time is the boba. The boba takes about 30 minutes to cook, then you’ll also want to sweeten it which takes additional time since it’ll need to sit in whatever the desired syrup is. I like to keep it simple by mixing a couple spoonfuls for brown sugar with the cooked boba and allowing it to sit for another 30 minutes at minimum.
I based my recipe off of this matcha cookie recipe, and because I typically like to make small batches, I reduced the ingredients to 1/4 of what was called for. This meant I had to get 1/4 of an egg! To get the right amount, I whipped the egg as evenly as I could then retrieved 1/4 by weight of the mixed egg.
After all the flour was incorporated into the dough, I actually ended up with an overly-dry dough that was actually just a bunch of crumbs, so I was missing some moisture. This could be because the butter infusion process actually evaporated more butter than I had thought, but since I didn’t have any more softened butter, I actually just added more egg to the batter until it was moist enough to create actual dough. I didn't want to add too much in case it would make it too runny so I erred on the side of just moist enough, but I think I could have added a bit more
The final step was to mix in the boba, and (Mickey) shape my biscuits!
So here’s my confession (and you probably could already guess it based off of the original recipe I used): these were actually supposed to be cookies, not biscuits. As I mentioned earlier, my initial “dough” was definitely too dry, so much so that it was actually just crumbly. One way to prevent this over-dryness would be to make sure that the gradually-added flour was properly incorporated before adding more. That way when the dough consistency looked correct I could stop adding flour. But since I already added the entire flour amount, the only thing I could do was find a way to add additional moisture, which was why I added more of the egg, which contributed to a change in the consistency of the dough.
After they came out of the oven, this “cookies” definitely looked a lot more like biscuits or scones and when I took a bite into it, the inside was slightly crumbly in texture. If it looks like a biscuit and tastes like a biscuit...
And that’s how I ended up with milk tea boba tea biscuits! The tapioca stayed bouncy and chewy, the tea flavor was present (though very mild), and the outer crust was slightly crispy with a softer crumbly inside!
This wasn’t what I was expecting or aiming for, but these actually turned out to be pretty satisfying! I’m used to rolling with the punches while I’m in the kitchen because I somehow find a way to run into one hiccup or another, but it’s always such a wonderful surprise when I end up with something new and unexpected!
Mickey-shaped Milk Tea Boba Tea Biscuits
ºoº 1/3 cup butter
ºoº 4-5 black tea bags
ºoº 1/4 cup uncooked tapioca
ºoº 1 tbsp brown sugar
ºoº 2/3 cup flour
ºoº 1/3 cup monkfruit sweetener
ºoº 1/4 tsp baking soda
ºoº 1/8 tsp baking powder
ºoº 1/3 egg
ºoº 1/4 tsp vanilla
Heat the butter over a low to medium heat until it’s entirely melted and just starting to simmer
Turn the heat to a low/warm setting and steep all of the tea bags for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour (longer if possible)
Cool the butter to room temperature then refrigerate until shortly before it’s time to use it
Boil a small pot of water on high heat
Add the uncooked boba to the boiling water and stir so they don’t stick together
Boil the boba for 30 minutes while stirring periodically
Strain the boba and keep a little bit of the water to make the syrup
Mix in the brown sugar until fully incorporated as a syrup and allow the boba to sit until needed
Preheat the oven to 350F
Mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder
Cream the butter and monkfruit sweetener
Mix in the egg and vanilla
Gradually add in the flour and mix until the dough is just formed
Fold in the cooked boba
Shape the dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown
Allow the biscuits to cool, then enjoy!
ºoº Before you start making the biscuits, allow the infused butter to soften
ºoº If you want to prepare the tapioca pearls the day before, you can easily refresh refrigerated boba by covering the cooked pearls with water and microwaving them in increments of 20-30 seconds until they’re soft and chewy again
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