Do you know the famous Hokkaido sweet “Butter Candy”? This is a simple candy made of a delicious buttery white candy sprinkled with powdered sugar that resembles powder snow. It has been loved as a standard souvenir from Hokkaido for a long time. You can find this in many Japanese confectionery shops and enjoyed by people of all ages. Now, let’s get to know more about it.
What is Butter candy?
Butter candy, known as “batā ame” in Hokkaido, is a type of confectionery that combines the flavors of butter and sugar. It’s essentially a hard candy with a rich, creamy, and buttery taste. These candies are often made by boiling sugar, butter, and sometimes milk until they reach a specific temperature and consistency. Then, they are allowed to cool and harden into the desired candy form. The moment you put it in your mouth, the rich aroma of butter spreads through your mouth, the rich milk flavor and the natural sweetness made with only simple ingredients. Butter ame is a popular treat in Japan known for its sweet and slightly savory flavor, reminiscent of buttered popcorn or toffee. It can come in various shapes and sizes, including individually wrapped pieces or larger blocks that can be broken into smaller portions.
Butter candy History
“Butter candy” was a famous souvenir from Hokkaido, Japan. In the 1950s, these candies were so popular that store owners were surprised by how quickly they sold out. Some even received new orders in the afternoon for the same candies delivered in the morning. This was when group tours and travel were booming, making butter ame a sought-after treat.
Yakumo Town, specifically, is known for its butter ame. A long time ago, after World War I, when the main ingredient, starch, became less common, they created a candy factory to use the available starch. In 1931, Sakakibara Seisakusho, started by Yasushige Sakakibara in 1922, introduced “butter candy,” a sweet with butter inside. They even added “butter” to the product name, calling it “Cow Dairy Candy.” Later, after World War II, Snow Brand Milk Products began making and selling butter ame in 1950. This marked the golden age of butter ame, with many variations and flavors introduced. Unfortunately, Sakakibara Candy Works closed down in 2004. Still, the legacy of butter ame lives on in the memories of those who enjoyed it.
What does butter candy taste like?
Bata ame typically has a sweet and rich flavor with a pronounced buttery note. The taste resembles a combination of sweet, creamy butter and caramelized sugar. It often has a slightly savory undertone reminiscent of buttered popcorn or toffee. The result is a delightful blend of sweet and buttery goodness that makes butter ame a unique and tasty treat. The exact taste can vary slightly depending on the specific brand or recipe. Still, the buttery sweetness is a common characteristic of bata ame in Japan.
Butter candy’s ingredients can differ between brands and recipes, but the main components typically include:
- Sugar for sweetness and structure.
- Butter for a buttery flavor and creamy texture.
- Sometimes milk for extra creaminess.
Locals often used glucose or corn syrup to keep the candy smooth. At the same time, flavorings like vanilla or fruit extracts enhance the taste. You can add food coloring for color. The exact recipe can vary, especially in filled or flavored versions, which might include additional ingredients like nuts or fruits. If you have dietary concerns, it’s essential to read the product label for specific information.
Butter candy FAQ
- How long does butter candy stay fresh?
The shelf life of butter candy can vary depending on the ingredients used, the packaging, and storage conditions. If stored correctly in a cool, dry place and kept in an airtight container or a sealed package, butter candy can remain fresh and remain quality for many months to a year or more. It’s essential to protect it from moisture, as humidity can cause the candy to become sticky or develop a dull appearance.
- Are there any special occasions or festivals where locals enjoy butter ame?
While butter candy, or “bata ame,” is not explicitly associated with traditional Japanese festivals or special occasions. It is commonly found in Japanese confectionery shops, supermarkets, and souvenir stores. However, butter candy can be a delightful gift or souvenir from a trip to Hokkaido. In this region, it is particularly famous. Travelers often purchase butter candy as a souvenir for friends and family, especially when visiting Hokkaido, known for its dairy products.
Butter candy Recipe
Butter candy Ingredients
|Ingredients of Butter candy for 7 persons|
How to make Butter candy?
Place all ingredients except butter in a pot and heat over low heat.
Take the candy with chopsticks and soak it in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes until it hardens, then add the butter, mix evenly, and pour it onto the cooking sheet.
Once it has cooled down, you can make it into sticks and cut it with a knife. You can also roll it up. However, it is quite hot when rolled up, so be careful not to burn yourself.
Recommended Butter Candies to Buy
Trappist butter candy
Trappists make cookies and butter that the people of Hokkaido love. The butter made by the monks is made using traditional methods. Trappist bata ame is also a trendy item, with many people buying it as souvenirs. Each piece of candy is individually wrapped, making it easy to carry and hygienic.
Hiruzen jersey butter candy
Hiruzen Jersey Milk Premium won the top gold prize at the Local Milk Grand Prix. In addition, products that take advantage of the rich flavor of Jersey milk are becoming popular online. If the milk is delicious, the butter made from it will also have a rich flavor. Hiruzen Jersey Butter Ame is a condensed version of the deliciousness of Jersey milk.
Menoko butter candy
The traditional candy, handcrafted one by one by artisans, is delicate and locals loved it. About 10 types of candy are on display at the stall, including limited-time items, and Menoko Butter ame is popular among students on school trips. Many people order this product because they eat it as a souvenir and cannot forget the taste.
Butter candy, known as “bata ame” in Japan, is a delightful treat that locals loved for its sweet, buttery flavor. Whether you’re visiting Japan or simply curious about its unique sweets, don’t miss the chance to try butter ame when you have the opportunity. With its rich, creamy taste and a touch of nostalgia, it’s a taste of Japan that might just become your new favorite indulgence. So, when you visit Japan, be sure to pick up some bata ame as a tasty souvenir or a sweet reminder of your journey.
You can check some Japanese dishes below that we know you would like to try too.