Fancy the idea of homemaking your own Japanese candy? Kohakutou is a type of Japanese candy that looks exactly like a gemstone or crystal! Not only can these delicious treats be enjoyed on their own, but they look great as a decoration on cakes, cupcakes and other desserts.
They look excellent and taste great – plus, they’re super simple to make too. With only 5 simple ingredients and a very simple process, these candies are a great all-rounder.
The beauty of these candies is you choose your own flavoring, so just go with your own favorite, or a friend’s favorite if you’re making them as a gift.
Table of Contents
- What is Kohakutou?
- How to make Japanese Kohakutou candy
- Kohakutou – Easy and impressive
What is Kohakutou?
These Japanese crystal gummies are made from five simple ingredients
- food coloring
- and agar-agar
If you’ve not heard of agar-agar before, it is a powder-like substance produced from red algae. When agar-agar is combined with liquid, it becomes thick and jelly-like, enabling the formation of these yummy jellies.
These jellies are slightly crunchy on the outside, while nice and chewy on the inside – perfectly satisfying!
What’s more, these candies are made without using any gelatin, so they’re also vegan!
My favorite brand of agar-agar is Telephone, which comes in easy-to-use sachets, so there’s no need to mess around with weighing out ingredients.
Their taste of Kohakutou is also very dependent on which flavoring you add. So you can tailor these jellies to your favorite flavor!
I love making these sweet treats as a little gift if I’m visiting friends, and they always go down well.
How to make Japanese Kohakutou candy
- 4 tsp agar-agar
- 1.75 cups of cool water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 0.25 tsp clear candy flavoring (optional)
- 3-6 drops of liquid food coloring
Recipe for Kohakutou candy
*Note: though making these candies is quick, setting time can take up to 3 days
How to make Kohakutou
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep what you need
Prepare your cooking tools. I like to use 8×8 inch glass pans with smooth sides (to give the smooth edge of your jellies), but you can use metal or silicone just as easily!
Lightly spray your pan with cooking spray. You’ll need a separate dish for each flavor you plan to make.
In a saucepan, soak your agar-agar in the water for 4-5 minutes. Bring the agar agar mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer for 3 minutes, or just until all the agar agar has fully dissolved. Ensure that you consistently stir the pot to prevent any burning.
Next, add in the granulated sugar. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Or until all the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture has thickened.
Pour into pan
Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into each pan. You’ll want a thickness of about 0.5 inches but can do thicker (this will just take longer to set).
Add your flavoring to each dish (1 dish = 1 flavor) and stir. Then, add in your liquid food coloring to provide the color. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add more than one color and stir through to make a pattern!
Refrigerate and set
Next, refrigerate the pans for 1-3 hours, until the jellies have set.
Remove and cut
Once set, remove the kohakutou from the pan by flipping the pan. Then you’ll need to cut up the jellies using a sharp knife. It may be easier to occasionally wash your knife as the jellies will be very sticky.
Coat with sugar
If you want to coat the jellies in sugar, you can lay outsome parchment and cover in granulated sugar and press each jelly into the sugar so that it sticks to the exterior.
Next, line a bare baking sheet with parchment paper and place the kohakutou to dry for two to three days. You’ll know the candies are ready when the exterior forms a hard crust.
Can I use powdered food coloring for kohakutou?
Yes, you can! You may need to add in more liquid in order to dissolve both the agar-agar and the food coloring.
If you’re wondering which one to purchase I find that liquid food coloring is easier, as the ratios are already set for the agar-agar for this recipe. If you’re looking to buy some liquid food coloring, you can get it here.
What’s the best flavor to add to kohakutou?
The great thing about these jellies is that you can tailor them to your favorite flavor! My favorite flavor is green apple, which tastes like sour apple flavored sweets. But you can add anything you like!
How do I store kohakutou?
Once these crystal jellies have formed a crust, move them to an airtight container and store them at room temperature. It is best to eat them within a week. Don’t freeze them!
What other Japanese food are easy to make?
If you’ve caught the Japanese cuisine fever; I’ve got you covered! I actually have a separate blog post on another really easy-to-make hokkaido milk tea, which you should check out if you enjoyed making these yummy jellies!
I also have an easy method of making chicken tempura rolls which you should totally check out!
What other decorations could I add?
If you would like your crystals to sparkle, you could add a small amount of edible luster and mix. If you’re struggling to find this in your local shop, I’ve added a link below for the luster I use! Once you’ve cut the crystals, you could also paint the edges of the crystals with the luster, or use gold leaf!
Kohakutou – Easy and impressive
As you can see, these candies are so simple to make and tasty too! Homemaking candies is also a sure-fire way to really impress your friends. My favorite flavor is green apple for sure.
Let me know how it goes in the comments!