Yatsuhashi: Japanese Sweets 和菓子
We decided to take a shot at making the famous Kyoto sweet "yatsuhashi". It is usually a raw mochi dough filled with sweet bean paste.
I referenced this site for the yatsuhashi dough recipe, basically water and mochiko flour microwaved until it is doughy, then rolled out in cinnamon and kinako (toasted soybean flour, tastes like peanut butter flavor). It's fast, but very messy. Make sure to microwave long enough to make the dough become stretchy, not just gooey-- you'll know when you attempt to roll it out.
My friend from Lorisancooks worked on our sweet bean paste. We did a white bean paste, which has less beany flavor than adzuki beans. Apparently, the traditional bean for shiroan (white bean paste) is limas, but I hate them, so I used navy/white beans. This site has recipes for both lima and navy bean paste, in Japanese fashion, with tons of steps. Lori mashed the beans through a strainer which actually gave her a blister, but I think it was worth it in terms of smooth texture.
This paste is pretty versatile and we ended up liking the toasted-coconut and almond extract variation. It is time-consuming, soaking the beans, pressure cooking them, then mashing them through a strainer.
After getting bored with Yatsuhashi, we baked the rest of the mochi dough into deliciously crisp crackers (see picture).