1. Have a container ready (high temperature proof) and coat with oil lightly, using a paper towel.
2. In a small cooking pot, add water and agar powder. Melt the powder over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Heat and stir until the agar powder melts completely. It usually takes about 1 to 2 mins.
3. Add the sugar. Melt the sugar, stirring constantly to prevent burning with a spatula. It will be very foamy and bubbly. Keep on stirring for about 2 to 3 min.
4. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the espresso. Mix well.
5. Transfer into a prepared container through the sieve.
6. Chill in the fridge until it has set. It should be firm enough to cut.
7. Remove from the fridge and cut into small pieces, using the knife or even with your hand (about 2 to 3 cm dices) and place them on a baking sheet. You can also coat the pieces with sugar to make them sweeter.
8. Let the candies sit there for 2 to 3 days (it may even take up to 5 days, as it depends on so many factors : climate, season,...). Eventually their surface should dry out completely. The candies will be crystallized with a jewelry finish. They are crunchy outside, but inside texture is like jelly.
9. You can keep your “kohakutou” in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.
1. Prepare the caramel mold : line an about 15cm x 15cm square caramel mold with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium non-sticky saucepan, combine milk, sugar, honey and vanilla. Bring it to a boil to melt the sugar. Shake the pan gently to redistribute the melting sugar over medium heat, but do not stir sugar at this point.
3. When the sugar dissolves, add heavy cream and butter. Whisk gently over medium-low heat.
4. Stir the mixture constantly, scraping the sides occasionally until it reaches a firm as shown in the pictures.
5. The mixture will get bubbly and thick (see pictures). The process will take about 40 to 60 mins (Depend on the heat level).
6. Stirring the caramel will become harder. If you like soft caramels, then stir less. You will get a better feel for the perfect timing after several trials :-)
7. Pour the caramel mixture into the prepared mold. Sprinkle with sea salt if you like.
8. When the caramel cools to room temperature, refrigerate until cooled and hardened. If you have made harder caramel, I recommend you cut it before refrigerating as otherwise it will very difficult to cut.
9. Cut caramel into small pieces as you like them and, if desired, wrap them up in wax paper.