Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Morinaga Caramel Cookies

Morinaga is well-known in Japan for its distinctive caramels. There are regular milk caramels, adzuki bean, black sugar, and green tea. All of them come in the same old-fashioned packaging. As of late, Morinaga has been applying its milk caramel brand with its yellow-orange packaging to a variety of sweets. These cookies lured my caramel-loving husband to them.

We found these at a discount snack shop, but I've seen them at several supermarkets as well. We got them for about 250 yen (about $2.50). There are 12 cookies which are about 4 cm. (about 1.5 in.) in size in the package. One cookie has 53 calories. Of course, each is individually wrapped. It's rare to get cookies which are not in Japan.

These cookies smell fabulous. They smell like cookies your mom may have made. The strange thing is that they don't have much of a caramel smell to them. This, to me, was a very good sign. It means that they aren't going to be saturated with fake caramel flavoring.

The outer shell is very crisp. When I cut it in half, there were a lot of crumbs because of that. The caramel interior is soft, but firm. It's similar to a ganache. The caramel flavoring is quite subtle and makes for a great pairing with the cookie. These are flavored with caramel cream and caramel powder. There's also almond paste and cocoa powder in them. I imagine the almond paste is what makes the cookie smell so good and taste rather flavorful.

I generally do not like caramel sweets, but I really enjoyed this. It really shows that Morinaga has decades of experience making good caramel and know how to strike a balance between the flavors and textures. I would strongly encourage anyone who is fond of caramel to sample these.

As a side note, the package advertises their "retro" graphics museum. They show three pictures on the side of old designs from past advertising, including a cool sumo one. You can access the "retro trip" movies and gallery here. Some of the words are in English, but most of it is in Japanese. However, you can just click around randomly and figure most of it out based on the graphics and the process of elimination.

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