Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Black Sugar Kinako KitKat (Mini)


After a very satisfying experience with a Tirol Kinako Premium chocolate, I was in the market for all things kinako (toasted soy flour). In fact, I was ready to go on a kinako-flavored foods binge. When I saw this big bag of mini KitKats with a shallow bowl full of kinako on prominent display, I happily cracked open my wallet for the 285 yen ($2.91) to buy it.

I have had several experiences to date where I expected to love something and bought a big portion and then regretted it and where I expected to be indifferent to something so I bought a small portion and wish I'd gotten more. I need to keep those experiences foremost in my mind when I opt to buy a big bag of mini bars because it'll save me some money and the guilt associated with buying a lot of something and tossing it out or giving it away.


I love black sugar and I like kinako a lot. The problem is that the marriage of these elements with a KitKat is far less gratifying. The main problem as my taste buds see things is that brown sugar (called "black sugar" in Japan) doesn't naturally go well with chocolate. This is one of those rare situations where I would have liked it more if Nestlé had used a white chocolate base and flavored it with brown sugar rather than used a milk chocolate base and worked the brown sugar into the cream in the wafers.


The bars look like regular KitKats, but smell vaguely of brown sugar. They taste strongly of molasses with chocolate. These are not two great tastes that taste great together in my opinion, particularly because the molasses flavor is really strong. It reminds me of having foolishly sampled molasses straight from a bottle as a child. The kinako flavor seems to be completely overwhelmed by the black sugar/molasses flavor and the chocolate is an unwelcome passenger which is along for the ride in the back seat.

It's unfortunate that this isn't better balanced because the filling has potential. There's a slightly grainy sugary texture to the filling between the wafers which is nice and the bars are firm and fresh. Some of the mini KitKats I've tried before melted easily on the fingers at room temperature, but these weren't messy in that way at all. Each mini bar is 66 calories of black sugar badness.

If you really love molasses, you may like this. Then again, I think that you'd have to love huffing open jars of molasses to enjoy this and I don't know if anyone's tastes run so kinkily.

11 comments:

(( K@Y )) said...

Wooooo black sugar....
That sounds good...

Bryan said...

Kinako KitKat sounds interesting - we usually have kinako dusted on mochi for New Year's

Orchid64 said...

There is a kinako KitKat and it is good. I've got a review for it floating in my ample buffer so it'll come along some time (so many KitKats to review...).

I had a kinako donut from Mister Donut last week and it was pretty good.

I was just disappointed that the black/brown sugar flavor so dominated this that the kinako couldn't be detected.

Thanks for commenting!

Kelly said...

They had separate kit kats before these, kokutou, and kinako. I really liked the kokutou, and Yasu loved it. Maybe it's a taste that japanese people would like more? I don't know. Just goes to show how people's tastes are different. :)

Orchid64 said...

I think the separate flavors have a different recipe than this mixed lot. In my experience, there's a lot of variation even among similarly flavored KitKats. I'm guessing this is intentional to separate the various permutations.

Thanks for commenting!

ebidebby said...

I definitely agree with you about KitKat variation among similar flavors. I have tried 3 caramel KitKats (I think) and only 1 of them was good. The others were much too artificial.

But I think I would rather have Kinako KitKat by itself, because something about molasses makes me a little queasy.

Orchid64 said...

The kinako-only big bar is definitely one of my favorite KitKats. Once this blog has matured a bit more, I'll probably go back and rate a huge list of them. I'm guessing the kinako one will be in the top 3, if not number 1.

Thanks for commenting!

Girl Japan said...

I am a HUGE fan of Kinako!!!! Have you tried the crisps yet by Riska.. Oh my gosh... sweet...lovely and DELISH.

Orchid64 said...

I love most of what Riska makes so I'd love to try the kinako crisps, but I haven't seen them in my area. :-(

I'll keep an eye open and hope they show up!

Girl Japan said...

They are so good, I was surprised when my husband told me how much Press they got.. if you can't find them let me know, I'll post you a few = )

Carolina deWitte said...

I think I might like this one. I love chocolate chip cookies, and my recipe has lots of brown sugar in it, and I often use the dark-brown sugar to make them with. It doesn't sound at all a strange combo to me. I wish they sold these in other countries, I do love regular KitKats. I've always wished for more flavours from them. Now I see they concentrate their efforts in Japan. So not fair.