Cheese Manju & Choco-Man: Modern Wagashi
“Wagashi (和菓子)” is the word that mainly refers to traditional Japanese sweets, and “Manju (饅頭)” is one of the representative confections in the category.
Cheese Manju & Choco-Man
Manju is a small round fluffy steamed bun traditionally filled with sweet red bean paste called “Anko (餡子)“. But in modern times, it comes in many variants, which include these Cheese Manju and Choco-Man.
Cheese Manju (チーズまんじゅう)
As cheese is rarely used in traditional Japanese sweets, Cheese Manju is a kind of modern Wagashi. According to this article on Japanese Wikipedia, it was first made around 1980 in Miyazaki Prefecture.
Unlike regular Manju, Cheese Manju is not steamed but baked in the oven. The dough is similar to cookies, while the filling is a processed cheese paste, typically cream cheese.
Based on the list pictured above, the ingredients in the dough of this Cheese Manju are wheat flour, condensed milk, butter, egg, sugar, and honey.
Choco-Man (チョコまん) or Chocolate Manju
Choco-Man, also known as Chocolate Manju or Choco Manju, is a popular modern Manju cake produced by many confectionery makers around the country. But I’m not sure when it was created.
The inside of Choco-Man is typically “Shiro-An (白餡)” or sweet white bean paste, which is sometimes flavored with cocoa powder. Meanwhile, the dark color of the outer dough literally comes from chocolate.
Specifically, the dough of this Choco-Man mainly consists of wheat flour, sugar, egg, chocolate, and cocoa butter.