Friday, September 2, 2011

Cisco's Caramel Dacquoise Cookies

Every time I see a product by "Cisco's", I can't help but think of "Deep Space Nine's" Captain Sisko. The Cap'n (not Crunch) character who had a father with a restaurant called "Cisco's". Somehow, I doubt that this company is populated by Star Trek geeks paying an homage to the Trek universe's only African American (and my personal favorite) captain. This doubt is supported to some extent by the fact that the company was established in 1924. There is always a small chance that Cisco's founders were time traveler's who traveled ahead and watched DS9, but I think that's just a bit of a stretch.

It's interesting to me that Cisco Nissin Japan only has 364 employees. That's a pretty tiny company for their market penetration, especially when it comes to cereal. They're one of the biggest makers of sugar cereals in Japan and have one of the largest line-ups of any maker of said cereals. Sadly, that is less a testimonial to their vast range of products than the meager offerings in Japan of the types of cereals that concerned mothers don't permit their children and college kids subsist upon. Their best-known product, incidentally, is "Choco-Flakes", which are essentially chocolate-coated corn flakes that are eaten as a snack. The Japanese aren't trying to fool anyone when it comes to such things. They don't even try to convince you that such a sugary treat should have milk added to it. No, that stuff is made to be crammed into your face by the handful.

Of course, this review is not about "Choco-Flakes", though I have eaten them on several occasions and really should review them one day. This is about these cookies which are sold with a French pastry name to lend an air of sophistication to them. You can get these at a variety of convenience stores right now, and in some markets and snack shops. The price I paid is lost in the cobwebby memory of my 47-year-old brain, but I think it's somewhere in the vicinity of $2.20 (170 yen) for a packet of 6 cookies. The cookies are 5.5 cm x 4 cm (2.2 in. x 1.6 in.) and light as a feather. Each is 48 calories.

Like the vanilla version of these that I reviewed previously, the cookie is a super light sponge with a very lightly crispy top. The real proof in the pudding though was going to be the filling. Caramel is so easy to mess up with overbearing or overtly fake flavors. I'm pleased to say that the super light and fatty whipped cream center is sweet, but has a good balance of caramel. Frankly, these are addictively delightful. If I were so inclined, I could easily eat the whole bag up at once. It'd be expensive, but given how light the cookies are, it'd probably be worth the 300 calories.

These are lovely morsels that succeed on multiple levels. They have good textural variation, good flavor, and are unique as a treat in the manner in which they straddle being a cake and a cookie. I would certainly buy these again, and hope that Cisco Nissin keeps making this brand in other flavors.


Will said...

"Caramel is so easy to mess up with overbearing or overtly fake flavors." Getting things 'just right' seems to take a lot of time and patience. Or is there simply an art to being there when it comes to the right kind of recipe for these micro-snacks? Would it be a mistake to think that of the seemingly limitless combination of flavors, there are merely a few of which are of the kind we can never quite forget?
Cisco appears to have been established on a leap year, which could be interesting considering their number of employees. Maybe getting things right depends on knowing how to add a little bit more or less.

ebidebby said...

Mmm, those do look quite tasty. You're right, caramel is often botched by snack makers, so it's nice to see someone get it right.

Cisco, unfortunately, makes me think of Sisqo, the 90s rapper who gave the world The Thong Song.

Jisoo said...

I tried last year Matcha cream flavor.
Very subtle and tasty.
I like all flavor of this line.

They are so small and light, why don't you have all 6 packs?(^^)
Just within 300calories, which is within no pressure to me.

Burp and Slurp~! said...

Wow, that little employees? Interesting. Cisco is also a major food distribution company in America. It's a huge-ass company that brings that junk to school cafeterias.

Many (not gourmet) caramels I have tried have this very bitter and weird funk. Glad this one got it right!

Japan-Australia said...

These look so good and anything with caramel in it is bound to win me over :)

Japan Australia

TeresaR said...

I love that you invoked DS9 and Captain Cisco! =) Now I'm intrigued and will search for them in the Asian grocers in our little Midwest town (luckily it's a college town so my chances of finding it is better than negligible). If that doesn't work, I'm going in search of it on my annual trip to Vancouver, where you can find pretty much anything!

Nick P said...

These look amazing. I'd love to find a recipe and see if I could recreate them. I'd probably try making green tea-flavored, that sounds interesting