I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.
Whenever I'm having trouble falling asleep, I watch Japanese candy-making videos on YouTube. These videos are quiet and make nice sounds, such as crinkling, stirring, and pouring, all of which can easily put you to sleep. Making the candies seemed like a fun activity, so I decided to buy a kit online and try it myself.
The Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ kits are the most popular candy brand featured on YouTube. You can buy everything from gummies to donuts to sushi, etc. Each kit comes with all of the supplies you need to make one of these treats, and though the instructions are in Japanese, there are visual guides to help you along as well as individual packets for each ingredient and pre-measured containers for each step of the process.
These candies look like a lot of fun to make, but I’ve always wondered if they are as easy to make as they appear and whether they taste any good. There was only one way to find out. So, I purchased a Popin’ Cookin’ gummy kit from Amazon and tried my hand at it. Here’s how it went . . .
What Comes in the Package?
The packaging is smaller than it looks in the videos, which surprised me, but it does come with everything you need to make the candy. This kit came with three colorful sugar packets in pink, yellow, and blue, one large white sugar packet, a plastic container, a water dropper, and a set of molds with a small fork for mixing.
The only materials that you need to provide are a pair of scissors (for snipping open the packets and cutting the molds from their plastic holder) and a cup of cold tap water.
Mixing the Sugars
Once our materials were all laid out, my assistant and I filled the four holes on the side of the tray with water. Then, we opened the packages of colored sugar, poured them into each of their designated holders in the plastic tray, and mixed them with the tiny, plastic fork provided in the kit.
Be careful not to overfill the holes with water since they could spill over each other when mixing and accidentally mix your colors together. That was something I caught just in time. The sugar packets smelled like Kool-Aid mix, but once they were poured into the water, the smell went away.
Taking the eyedropper, we squirted each of the primary colors into the smaller holes designated for mixing new colors. Then, we mixed various combinations of colors to create multiple colors for our molds. The packaging gives you formulas for mixing specific colors, such as green, purple, and orange. We just experimented since there were plenty of holes available to try out numerous color combinations.
Pouring the Molds
Next, we opened the large, white sugar packet and poured it into the largest part of the plastic tray. We were provided with four molds: a whale, a dolphin, a sailboat, and a music note.
First, we inserted the dolphin mold into the white sugar. Be sure that the sugar is smoothed out and even. It makes the mold come out better. Using the eyedropper, we squirted different colors into the mold until it was completely saturated with the colorful liquid sugar. Make sure you turn the tray around as you're squirting the liquid into the mold so that you can catch the parts of the mold that you don't see.
After a few seconds, we lifted the mold out of the sugar, and it stuck together in a multi-colored gel. It took just a few pokes with the plastic fork before the finished gummy dropped out of the mold and was formed into the perfect shape of the dolphin.
After the success of our first gummy, we got to work making more. In the videos I’d seen, it seemed that you could get about 10 gummies out of each kit. I was determined to do the same.
The first few gummies came out as easy as the first. Then, the mound of sugar started to get lower, and we were squeezing too much juice onto them. The sugar would get over-saturated, and then it would stick to the bottom of the tray instead of to the mold. So, we’d have to scrape it off of the tray where it would fall apart before it got to the paper towel where we were storing our finished gummies.
It’s important to keep the mound of sugar high and not to over-saturate the mold with juice. There will also be a lot of juice left over once you have used up all of the sugar in the tray.
So How Do They Taste?
Like I said, each gummy took only a few seconds to firm up into the shape that we were making. So, I was able to sample the candies right away.
The gummies themselves were spongy and grainy, like a Sour Patch Kid without the sourness. In fact, they did not have an overwhelming flavor, and all of the colors tasted the same. The juice could only bleed through about halfway through the gummy. So, the bottom side was tasteless. We did get about 10 gummies out of the kit, but only five of them were in good shape. Some fell apart. Some were slimy, but the ones that we made at the beginning were pretty good.
A Cute (If Somewhat Bland) Gift
The Popin’ Cookin’ kits make a nice gift for an artsy kid or a cute party favor for birthday guests. They only cost a few dollars, are not very messy or complicated, and they are fun to make. They don’t taste amazing, and you don’t get that much from them, but if you want to kill 20 minutes doing a quick and easy craft, Japanese candy is a unique and satisfying option.
Have you ever tried a Japanese candy kit? If so, share your experiences below. If not, which kit would you like to try?
Keats on September 06, 2017:
These kits are super cool! Like you said, not great to eat but it's fun like a science experiment. Very insightful!