Add Boba Bubbles To Your Cookies For A Mind-Blowing Dessert

While they may go by a handful of different names, there's no mistaking the silky, chewy texture of boba balls. Made from tapioca, a starch extracted from cassava root, boba is a key ingredient in bubble tea, the sweetened Taiwanese beverage that has become an international sensation in recent years. The fascination with bubble tea and its tiny tapioca pearls has become so great that creative home cooks have begun looking for quirky new ways to get their boba fix — like piling boba balls on cakes or baking them into cookies.

Hovering somewhere between a liquid and a solid once they've been cooked, boba balls may seem like an unlikely addition to cookies. However, even after being baked in the oven, the tender tapioca balls retain the squishy-yet-toothsome texture for which they are known, adding an interesting burst of gooey goodness to your batch.

You can easily incorporate boba balls into any kind of cookie dough, but if you want your boba cookies to have that distinct bubble tea flavor, you might consider whipping up a dough that tastes like tea. This can be done using instant milk tea packets, instant Thai tea packets, or even matcha powder, which can be added to your favorite dough recipe. Alternatively, tea leaves can be ground into a fine powder and blended into the dough.

Baking with boba

Unless you're using instant boba (which can be reheated in minutes and is likely already soaking in a sweet syrup), preparing the bubbles requires a little bit of TLC. Usually sold in their dried form, tapioca pearls must be simmered in water until soft and chewy. Because dried tapioca pearls are typically unflavored, try soaking them in a brown sugar syrup after they've been cooked, as it adds sweetness and color to the boba. Once adequately cooked and sweetened, the boba balls can then be folded into your cookie dough and baked.

Unfortunately, cooked tapioca pearls revert to their hardened state after a couple of days — a change that happens even faster when they've been baked into cookies. For that reason, boba cookies are rather tricky to store. If you aren't planning on eating the whole batch within 24 hours, it's beneficial to freeze the dough.

Alternatively, you can make mock boba out of mochi! The chewy rice cake can easily be made to mimic the taste, texture, and shape of boba. However, because of mochi's high sugar content, mochi "boba balls" can remain soft even after baking, storing, and freezing.