When the perfect summer treats come to mind, most people probably think of frozen treats like ice cream or popsicles. These icy sweets are perfect for a hot sweltering day, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, perhaps something a little less melty that you can take with you without having to eat right away, why not try your hand at making these cool-looking Japanese amber sweets? They’re super simple to make, and only require a few ingredients.

These transparent Japanese sweets, called kohakutou, are made from colored and sweetened melted agar-agar. What the heck is agar-agar? You may have never heard of it before, but it is more common than you might think, often being used as a thickening agent in ice cream or as a vegan replacement for gelatin, since agar-agar is derived from seaweed.

Twitter user @Crab000 posted these simple directions for how to make kohakutou. The agar-agar does take a long time to set, so you’ll want to start your preparations the day before you plan to eat them, but the whole process itself is really simple, so even beginners can give it a whirl.



What you’ll need:

1.) 5g string-type agar (not the powdered or solid type)
2.) 200ml water
3.) 350g granulated sugar
4.) 1 tbsp of your favorite juice (apple, pineapple, orange, etc…)
5.) 2-3 paper milk cartons


First, after weighing out five grams of agar-agar, cover with water and let sit for 12-24 hours.

Drain the agar-agar, and add to a pot with the 200 millilitres of water. Melt it completely over medium heat.

Pour the melted agar through a sieve into another pot, add the granulated sugar, and melt everything together until the mixture bubbles and becomes stringy.

Add the juice into the milk cartons, then pour in the melted sugar and agar mixture.

Place into the refrigerator until completely firm. Then, remove from the paper carton and cut into cubes. You can enjoy them just as they are, or leave them out on a piece of parchment paper to dry for three to four days to get a crispy exterior.

Have fun with this, and choose different juices to get different colors and flavors!

▼”Time to let them dry. I used grape and pink grapefruit juices for the color and flavor. They look like glass, so pretty.”

▼”I used brown sugar, so it has a real amber color. I also used sugar-simmered ginger, and lemon juice and zest. Wonder how it tastes?”

▼”The one on the left has yuzu marmalade, and the one on the right is colored with food coloring. I can’t wait for them to finish drying.”

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to share your results with us!

Source: Togech
Featured image: Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4)