Sakura Kohakutou Recipe

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, these sakura kohakutou candies are crazy moreish.

Translating as 'amber candy', kohakutou is a traditional Japanese wagashi (sweet) that's a crystallised jelly made from agar, which comes from seaweed. So it's veggie-friendly.

This recipe's super easy and you don't need a sugar thermometer for it. You'll just need the patience to wait for a few days for your jelly shapes to crystallise and form that irresistible crunchy sugar shell.

I used soluble sakura leaf powder to flavour mine, which I got from Nihon Ichiban and absolutely love. It gave the boiled mixture a yellow tint and resulted in more orangey flowers when I added the pink food colouring. But you can also forgo the leaf powder for plain, flavoured candies.

You can also follow my recipe on my YouTube video:

Ready? Let's go.


1 tbsp soluble sakura leaf powder
200ml water
5g agar powder
345g caster sugar
Pink food colouring
Edible gold lustre dust and vodka (optional)


1. Grease a regular loaf tin with a little vegetable oil and set aside.

2. Gradually add the water to the sakura leaf powder, stirring until fully dissolved.

3. Place the liquid in a small saucepan and sprinkle over the agar powder. Leave to soak for a minute or two.

4. Give it a stir, switch on the heat and bring to a boil, cooking for two minutes.

5. Add the sugar and bring back to the boil, completely dissolving the sugar and cooking for another three minutes.

6. Take off the heat and pour into your prepared pan. Using a toothpick or skewer, swirl a little food colouring into the mixture. Leave to cool completely before popping in the fridge for about an hour.

7. Run a knife around the edges of the loaf pan to loosen the jelly, and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Now cut out cherry blossom shapes (or whichever shapes you like). If you're using a shaped cutter, you might want to slice the resulting shapes in half to make them thinner.

8. Lay your shapes out on a baking paper-lined baking tray, and leave to dry for two to three days.

9. If you like, you can now paint patterns onto your crystallised kohakutou jellies. Make a paint out of a little edible gold dust and a few drops of vodka, and use a fine paintbrush to paint on details. Or, you can just eat them straight away.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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