Who doesn’t like to kick back and enjoy a chocolate chip cookie every once in a while? Every country has a go-to brand of prepackaged chewy chocolate chip cookies. You know, the kind that you can put in the toaster over and make all warm and gooey… ahh yes.
In Japan the leading brand of these cookies has got to be Country Ma’am. Although they’re eternally available in plain (called vanilla), chocolate chip, and double chocolate chip flavors, this line of cookies is well known for its countless limited-time-only specialty flavors such as strawberry, cheesecake, iced tea, pancake, pumpkin, and green tea to name but a few.
However, this time they are coming out with two specialty flavors based on a pair of traditional Japanese desserts, to create a truly Japanese chocolate chip cookie experience.
Country Ma’am: Honey Castella (Hachimitsu Kasutera)
Castella is a type of sponge cake widely used as a gift and souvenir (omiyage). As you might have assumed from the name, castella was brought over to Japan from Portugal around 500 years ago. Ever since, it has been deeply embraced by the country and can be found virtually everywhere.
Like most traditional Japanese sweets, honey castella relies on subtle flavors rather that the highly sweetened artificial flavors of other mass-produced candies and cakes. When you bite into the fluffy cake you can fully appreciate the texture as the gentle sweetness of honey and eggy essence of the cake fills your mouth.
This is the experience Country Ma’am is hoping to capture in a chocolate chip cookie. They describe the cookies as having a gentle honey aroma with the taste of fresh cake inside. These cookies also use white chocolate chips which the makers recommend you chill before eating for a crispy sweet sensation.
Country Ma’am: Black Honey Karinto (Kuromitsu Karinto)
Karinto is a kind of fried cookies with a mildly sweet brown sugar taste and a crispy texture. They make for an easy and light snack fit for young and old alike.
Karinto can also be made with a wide range of spices and flavors depending on your mood. In the case of these cookies Country Ma’am is adding the taste of black honey, which isn’t really honey but a kind of molasses made from the black sugar of Okinawa. It has a much simpler and milder taste than conventional honey.
The inner chocolate chip infused part of these cookies is moistened with the smooth taste of black honey while the outside is crisp with a light dusting of brown sugar and some more black honey. Country Ma’am also advises chilling to give more firmness to the chocolate chips.
Both of these flavors are shaping up to be a cool summer treat with fun cultural undertones that we can enjoy with a cup of iced green tea over what’s sure to be another scorching summer. We’ll be back with a review to see if they live up to the hype after their release on 18 June for 158 yen (US$1.60) a pack.