Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Kokuto Marubolo (Honey Brown Sugar Soft Cookies)
Brown sugar is supposed to be better for you than white sugar. In fact, the company that makes these cookies, Kurobo, devotes a page on its web site to letting you know how rich in minerals like iron, calcium and potassium phosphate, brown sugar is. Kurobo specializes in a variety of snacks which use brown sugar and honey. Kurobo has been making sweets since 1920. My translations claim that the name means "black bow", but I'm a little dubious of that. "Bo" means "stick" in Japanese and various sweets made in bar form are called "bo", so it's possible that it means "black stick" or "black bar". The company's top seller is a fried dough "cake" which looks a bit like dog dootie. I've seen that style of sweet in markets many times, but was never tempted to buy a bag of dachshund pellets. One of these days though, I'll have to cross that bridge.
There are eight cookies in each packet for about 200 yen ($2.23). The primary ingredients are flour, sugar, eggs, brown sugar, honey, "sugar water" (syrup) and vegetable shortening. The package doesn't give specific calorie details, but based on the calories per 100 grams and my rough guess of the weight of one cookie, I'd put them at 50 or so calories per cookie. Each cookie is individually wrapped in a Japanese paper packet, but they are not airtight as you can easily smell the cookies through their paper wrappers. I have a suspicion that these would dry out if not kept in a plastic bag.
The cookies smell like gingerbread, though that is mainly because the dark brown sugar used in them smells like molasses. There aren't any of the spices you expect in gingerbread. When you remove the cookie from the packet, it sticks a bit to the paper. The surface of the cookie isn't sticky, so I'm guessing that this is just accumulated moisture.
When I tore the cookie in half to take a picture of the inside, it was actually quite tough. In fact, it felt more like I was ripping it apart. The texture is very coarse and the cookie is soft, but dry. It's easy to chew, but it's more like bread than a cookie or cake. The flavor is very nice. It tastes of brown sugar and honey and is just right on the sweetness. I really enjoyed the flavor of these, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired. They are so tough for a cookie.
These are like a different version of a black sugar "stick" cookie which I have reviewed before and are readily available from various manufacturers. The difference is that these lack the sugary, semi-crispy exterior that those have. I probably wouldn't buy these again, but I will certainly consume the rest of the bag through time. If I was going to buy something along the lines of this cookie, I'd go for the sugary version over this plain version.