Homemade Brown Sugar Boba

Homemade Brown Sugar Boba

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings (about 4 cups)
If you love the boba tea shops popping up and want to try making them at home, these tapioca bubbles will taste better that anything you can buy. They're a labor of love, so when it comes time to roll the little boba, hop on a stool or grab a friend to help you out. You’ll have enough to make 8 glasses of your very own homemade bubble tea.



Special equipment:
1 extra-large bubble tea straw (about 1/2 inch in diameter)
  1. Whisk 2/3 cup water with 1 cup of the tapioca starch in a small bowl. The slurry may look separated but will come together in the next step.
  2. Add 1 cup of the brown sugar and 2/3 cup water to a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium high and whisk in the tapioca slurry until the mixture begins to just tighten and the water fully incorporates, about 30 seconds.  
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 cup tapioca starch using a heatproof spatula until it forms a ball of shaggy dough, 1 to 2 minutes.  
  4. Dust a work surface with tapioca flour. Gather the dough together from the saucepan, transfer it to the surface and let cool, 3 to 4 minutes. Knead the dough until it is smooth, springy to the touch and no longer sticky, adding tapioca starch as needed, about 7 minutes. If the dough feels too dry, wet your hands and knead in water from your hands. 
  5. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Roll out 1 piece of dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch with a rolling pin. Use a 1/2-inch-wide bubble tea straw with the tip dusted in tapioca starch to cut pieces from the dough, making sure to dust the straw occasionally to prevent sticking. Gather the dough scraps into a ball and repeat the process. Discard any leftover dough after this step as it will be too dry to use again. Repeat with the remaining 5 pieces of dough.  
  6. Lightly dust a baking sheet with tapioca starch. Roll the boba pieces into pea-sized balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. If the dough feels too dry or is cracking, dampen your fingers with a little water and knead it. Use immediately or freeze the boba in a single layer until hard, about 2 hours. Transfer to a resealable freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.  
  7. For serving: Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add 1/2 cup boba and cook, stirring frequently, until the boba are plump and the water is the consistency of syrup, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the boba to the ice bath and let chill completely, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add 1 cup water and the remaining 1 cup brown sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the chilled boba and cook, stirring frequently, until the boba are a deep golden brown and the syrup is thicker than maple syrup but thinner than molasses, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the boba to a baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  9. Divide the boba among 4 glasses and pour over your favorite hot or cold bubble tea.

Cook’s Note

Tapioca starch is sometimes labeled as tapioca flour.