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Japanese Confections Course

Japanese confectionery(Wagashi) has its own unique world and philosophy that reflects the Japanese culture. Students can learn and master the art of preparing a variety of sweets in the context of seasons, occasions and cultural backgrounds.

 

Less sugar and not too sweet is favored in Wagashi.  Japanese traditional sweets are popular among young Japanese women because they do not consist of butter or cream, and making them healthier for the diet than other sweets. Of course, they are also popular among women all over the world who are on a diet but love sweets. Small, colorful, seasonal and beautifully shaped sweets called Nerikiri were originally designed for tea ceremonies, but are now becoming popular as everyday sweets as well.

The course aims at learning the most representative Japanese confection making in one month.
You will learn about seasonal Japanese sweets commonly eaten in Japan and how to make them to the level that can be served to customers. In addition, off-school training such as green tea lesson and tea ceremony experience is included in the curriculum. Recently popular sweets such as fluffy cheesecake and pancakes can also be learned upon request.


- Types and History of Wagashi
- Types and characteristics of ingredients such as rice, beans, and sugar
- How to make general Wagashi
- How to make seasonal sweets
- Wagashi Cooking and Serving
- Traditional and Popular Wagashi Trends
- Tea Ceremony and Matcha Lesso

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Mizuyokan

Mizuyokan, soft azuki bean jelly. Yokan is the type of confectionery called nagashimono, which means to pour the liquid ingredients into a mold and cool it to shape. The ingredients are made by boiling water mixed with agar powder, sugar and azuki bean paste. Mizu-yokan, literally meaning water yokan, is a type of such yokan with less agar and more water content. While yokan is eaten all year round, mizuyokan or soft azuki bean jelly is eaten more in summer and enjoyed with a refreshing taste. Agar is one of the indispensable ingredients for Japanese sweets. It is made from a seaweed called Tengusa, red algae. The volume of tengusa produced within Japan has dwindled, and the one collected off the Izu peninsula is especially valuable. By the way, Atami, where JCI is located, is the gateway to Izu. Mizuyokan, which is eaten refreshingly in the sweltering hot summer, is one of Japan's representative confections in summer.

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Kompeito

Kompeito is a sugar confection brought from Portugal in the middle of the 16th century. The name is a Japanese translation of the Portuguese word "confaitos," meaning confectionery. The tiny grains have many bumps, and skillful craftsmanship is required to make the horns skillfully. Instead of using a single color, you can combine various dainty colors to create a sense of the season. Let's try making Kompeito with a sense of color.

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Ohagi and Hana Ohagi

Traditional Japanese sweets are steamed or cooked glutinous mochi rice, rolled into a ball, and covered with bean paste. Variations covered with soybean flour, black sesame, green tea, etc., are also popular. The Japanese people have long favored simple taste. Hana(Flower) Ohagi" is a gorgeous evolution of this type of Ohagi. Hana Ohagi, which has become a hot topic of conversation on Instagram and other social media, is a spectacularly different type of Ohagi from the traditional ones and is a sight to behold. The flowers blooming on the Ohagi are formed with white bean paste dyed in a slightly dainty color. Learn how to make flavored red bean paste (green tea, soybean flour, black sesame), color and decorate the flowers, and together we will create a wonderful sweet that will bring a smile to your face when you open the box.

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Fluffy Cheesecake

Souffle-type cheesecake from Japan is very popular in the U.S., Italy, and other countries! The soft lightness, moderate sweetness, and gentle texture of this "Japanese cheesecake" have overturned the conventional concept of a dense cheesecake. Its low-calorie content and healthy image have helped make it so popular that people line up in some stores on weekends. JCI will teach you to bake a soft and fluffy cheesecake with a gentle sweetness. Bake the ultimate air-light and smooth cheesecake.

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Rakugan

Rakugan is a sweet, elegant, and irresistible sweet that melts in the mouth. The Rakugan is made by kneading rice, wheat, or bean flour with sugar or syrup, then pressing it into a wooden mold and allowing it to dry. They are characterized by their longevity, various shapes, and colors. Because of its longevity has been used since ancient times as (Buddhist) offerings and gifts for weddings and other occasions. In the forming process using wooden molds, learn how to adjust and color the kneaded dough to avoid falling apart when it dries. In addition, "Wasanbon," made of Japanese sugar and hardened by pressing it into a wooden mold in the same way as geese, is a uniquely Japanese sweet taste that we would like everyone to enjoy. Made from sugarcane, which you can only find in Tokushima and Kagawa prefectures in Shikoku, wasanbon has a unique flavor similar to mellowed brown sugar and is characterized by its delicate, pale yellow crystals melt-in-your-mouth quality.

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Choco Banana

A banana is skewered and coated with chocolate and finished with nuts and colorful toppings, making it a popular sweet to eat and walk around. It is popular street food in Harajuku, crowded with teenagers. Depending on how you arrange them, they can be very stylish! Dried fruits, nuts, crashed candy, and colorful icing. Make your original by adding various toppings and decorations to the white chocolate or matcha chocolate coating.

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"New" shaved ice

There is a boom in evolutionary shaved ice that defies stereotypes in Japan. More and more people want to enjoy shaved ice in the hot summer and the warmth of a restaurant in winter. Shaved ice is now available in a wide variety of flavors, including fresh fruit confiture, pumpkin, black sesame, hojicha flavors, mascarpone, fresh cream, chocolate, and rich espresso sauce combined with caramel and pudding. There is a wide variety of flavors to choose from. Why don't you come up with your surprising combinations of shaved ice?

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Strawberry Candy

A specialty store appeared in Shibuya, Tokyo, a city of young people, and the evolving strawberry candy quickly spread all over Japan, making it very popular for eating while walking around. The cute appearance of strawberry candy spread through Instagram and other media, and its popularity among young people as a new snack in Japan accelerated rapidly. A new type of strawberry candy is now available with toppings such as cheesecake, tiramisu, and green tea tart. The secret of its popularity is enjoying the strawberry juice when you feel the crisp outer coating. The combination with grapes or other fruits depends on your ideas.

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Kushi-Dango

Kushi-Dango, skewered dumplings are the most casually eaten Japanese sweets. Since the Edo period, dumplings on skewers have been a popular Japanese snack among people. The appeal of these dumplings lies in the simple, traditional Japanese taste of soy sauce-flavored mitarashi, sweet red bean paste, and mugwort. The skewers make it possible to eat them on the go. The dumplings are made with rice flour made from Uruchi rice. The dumplings can be colored and flavored, and You can adjust the size. Of course, you can add traditional toppings such as red bean paste. Still, you will also learn many variations of your originality, such as baking them with sweet soy sauce or unique toppings to go with the chunky dumplings.

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Mitsumame and Anmitsu

Mitsumame is a Japanese dessert that originated in Japan, consisting of boiled red kidney beans and other beans covered with syrup. Mitsumame topped with red bean paste is called Anmitsu. The most common ingredients are cooked red peas with salt, agar cut into squares, cherries, mandarin oranges, beef skin, and syrup such as kuromitsu or molasses. It can be transformed into "Cream Mitsumame" by adding ice cream, soft ice cream, or fresh cream, "Fruit Mitsumame" by adding more fruits, or "Coffee (or Matcha) Mitsumame" by using agar as coffee (matcha) jelly. The possibilities for unique Japanese desserts from around the world based on Mitsumame are endless.

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Nerikiri

Nerikiri is known as the typical high-quality raw/unbaked confection which is so attractive both to the eyes and tongues. It is also very versatile and used to express the changing seasons with a variety of colors and shapes. Neri-kiri is made by mixing white bean paste with flours of glutinous rice and others as a thickener and kneading well to make the paste smooth. It is one of the high-end Japanese confectionery that represents elaborate craftsmanship in meticulous details and the Japanese esthetic values. It looks just too good to eat, doesn’t it? The world of beautiful and delicate Japanese sweets.

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Taiyaki

Taiyaki is a Japanese snack that is very familiar to Japanese people. It is a favorite sweet snack of all Japanese children. The standard fillings are anko (sweet red bean paste), custard cream, green tea cream, etc. You can also bake them with fruit, chocolate, cheese, etc. Taiyaki-style okonomiyaki made with okonomiyaki ingredients is also popular. It is fun to watch them baked at the store, and the taste of freshly baked okonomiyaki hot in the wrapper is exceptional. If you plan to set up a store specializing in Japanese snacks, it is highly recommended that you show passersby where you are making the snacks. You can master creating and baking fillings such as anko and Taiyaki batter. Enjoy with sencha tea!

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Strawberry Daifuku

Strawberry Daifuku has evolved into a cute Japanese sweet by adding strawberries to the traditional Japanese Daifuku. When Daifuku was first introduced, it was a white mochi wrapped with red bean paste and strawberries. Still, there have been more variations recently, such as coloring the mochi, adding flavors such as chocolate, or using green tea-flavored bean paste or custard cream instead of the standard red bean paste. In addition to strawberries, you can use kiwis and large grapes. If you learn how to make mochi dough and fillings such as red bean paste that will not harden over time and how to form Daifuku, you will be able to make a variety of Daifuku arrangements.

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Dorayaki

Dorayaki is a pastry consisting of two round Japanese pancakes with a filling of red bean paste between them. The "Dora" in dorayaki comes from its shape, which resembles a "Dora" (gong), a metal percussion instrument. The bean paste's harmony and pancake-like crust make this a beloved Japanese confectionery. Azuki bean paste and various flavors of bean paste, sweetened chestnuts, gyuhi(soft and sweet mochi), etc., can be added, and originality can be created by flavoring the dough, baking it differently, or branding it with an excellent branding iron. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of "evolved dorayaki" with cream and butter. Some are filled with fruit, bean paste, jam, butter, and other ingredients, offering the best of both Japanese and Western confections.

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Monaka

Monaka is a Japanese confectionery consisting of a shell made of mochi rice powder and filled with sweet bean paste. Monaka shells are characterized by their crispy flavor. The traditional type, in which the bean paste is sandwiched between the skin in advance, allows the skin and bean paste to blend well and provides a moist texture. On the other hand, in the type where the skin and filing are combined just before eating, and you can either make your own or have the filling put in after ordering at the store. The crispy and crunchy texture of the skin and its savory flavor are trendy. The most common fillings are Ogura-an, Koshi-an, and Shiro-an, but many other elaborate flavors such as chestnut, green tea, and yuzu (yuzu citrus). Monaka is sold in various shapes and can be molded to suit the season, event, store, theme, etc., making them one of the most chosen wagashi for different occasions. Recently, ice cream monaka with ice cream instead of an is also popular.

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Manju

Gently sweetened red bean paste wrapped in wheat flour or other dough and steamed. The prototype of today's manju was the sake manju, a bun with dough made by fermenting wheat flour with sweetened sake in the 16th century. Various types of steamed manju, such as chestnut manju and buckwheat manju, were created in Japan and became popular among the general public. There is a variety of manju with elements of Western confectionery using butter and milk as ingredients. The bean paste and the outer skin encase the filling have diverse styles and flavors, depending on the taste, coloring, texture, and cooking methods such as steaming and baking. In terms of simplicity and familiarity, manju is one of the favorite Japanese confections that Japanese people want to eat daily.

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Ame-zaiku hands-on workshop in Tokyo

Ame-zaiku(candy making) is one of Japan's traditional cultures and was a popular pastime for the familiar people in the Edo period (1603-1867) when artisans sold Amezaiku on the streets. They heat the candy to about 90°C to soften it, put it on the end of a stick, and finish his work with a deft touch of the scissors. The candy softens as it heats up but hardens as it cools down, so it takes only a few minutes after the candy is taken out of the pot to finish the work. After taking the candy out of the pot, it takes only a few minutes to create a beautiful piece of Amezaiku, which can be done quickly and with great skill and taste. The Amezaiku crafts are colorful, detailed, realistic, and look like they are about to start moving! It is an actual work of art, too good to eat. The Amezaiku experience takes about an hour and a half, where you can use scissors and your hands to make a rabbit Amezaiku out of warm candy. You will receive instruction from an artisan.

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