Japan, you know I am a fan of you.
Sure some of your horror movies have left me with waking nightmares that made me want to curl up in the fetal position and never look at any other human being ever again.
And sure, your 15 year battle to try to get me to like anime has been a hard fought yet ultimately futile one.
But I don’t hold it against you. You’ve got so many other cool things going on! I love your completely absurd films like Versus, Machine Girl, and Robo Geisha.
Your crazy bullet hell video games like DoDonPachi are gorgeous and crazy fun. And I don’t even play video games!
That whole limited edition thing you do with snacks and sodas is just fantastic. Who does that better than you?
And Godzilla. I mean, come on. Godzilla.
So when I saw these DIY candy kits several months back, I knew some would eventually find their way into my home, into my mouth, and eventually, into my heart.
I can’t remember where online I first discovered these, but I first saw them in real life at MegaCon back in March. They were stacked up high at the staple Japanese snack booth because I guess they were all the rage. That and man cannot live on Ramune and Pocki alone. Also the rage. Price gouging. What with all the dumb teenage anime cosplayers with poor judgment and money to burn. So I didn’t buy any then.
But through the magic of eBay and the siren call of free shipping, here we are.
These kits are made by Kracie, a huge Japanese conglomerate from what I can gather. Some are called Happy Kitchen and some are called Popin’ Cookin’. I don’t know what the difference is exactly. Maybe nothing.
These kits come with packets of different flavored powders which you mix with water. You then use the resulting substances and the properties of each to assemble adorable miniature gummy candy things. You can make anything from oh so tiny hamburgers to oh so tiny ice cream cones to oh so tiny sushi rolls.
I opted to try my non-dexterous, often shakey hands at concocting a collection of oh so tiny donuts. I won’t walk you through all of the steps here. There are countless YouTube videos for each kit. But suffice it to say the whole process took me about an hour (distractions included). I’m sure you could go faster, but I wanted to make sure I got everything right. It was my first try after all.
It was a blast.
There is something very Zen about assembling tiny foodstuffs. I became hyperfocused on making sure my dough had just the perfect level of firmness. I tweaked my icings with fractions of a drop of water to ensure an optimal consistency. Time stood still. I became lost in a world of oh so tiny donuts.
And I think they came out pretty great. Look at ‘em! They’re adorable!
This donut kit came with three different donut frostings. The chocolate one actually tasted pretty good and was not a far cry from the taste of the chocolate icing they use at Dunkin’ Donuts. The vanilla frosting reminded me of those cans of Betty Crocker frosting I used to steal fingerswipes of as a kid. Both were surprisingly palatable.
The strawberry, not so much. Very intense and very artificial. If you’ve ever had the strawberry dipped Pocki, sort of like that, times ten. Not really a fan.
Included in the kit was a packet of cookies crumb things that were only there for some added flair and texture. Tastewise there wasn’t a lot going on.
And I certainly don’t want to leave out the most adorable little bag of candy sprinkles I’ve ever seen. (Who’s the cutest little bag of sprinkles? Who is? You are! You’re the cutest little bag of sprinkles!)
The donuts were made from two separate dough mixes. One was, I dunno, normal donut flavor? Is normal donut flavor vanilla? The other one was chocolate. These mixes smelled great in powder form but really didn’t have a lot of taste on their own. And when mixed with the frostings and sprinkles and crumbles, they were easily overpowered.
The texture of the donuts, however, freaked me out. I do not like spongy, marshmallowy, chewy textures. At all. These were very spongy, marshmallowy, and chewy. Couldn’t stand that. At all. But that’s just me. I’m weird. At all.
I didn’t really expect these to taste that great, certainly nothing mind bending. But they were actually ok. Really the taste was just a side note for me. The real joy comes in putting on your candy artist hat and crafting these little things step by step. I cannot recommend the experience enough. Kids must go nuts for these. And if you’re a couple who likes Japan or candy or making things or powders, why not have a romantic evening in and put together a few oh so tiny food things.
You could do worse on a Friday night. (Yes you could! Who could do worse? That’s right! You could!)
Something may have been in those sprinkles.