“Okay, let’s play a game. One, two, three ! Let’s see who can fall asleep the fastest!”

That’s what my grandma just said to my little sister and cousin in the other room. A good attempt, I know I wouldn’t have though of that. It doesn’t seem to be working, though. Now I hear screaming.

“You’re tired. Close your eyes while you cry.”

A bit insensitive, maybe? That seems to have worked, though. The screaming stopped, a sign that they’re falling asleep. What a pro.

And all I can do is stand here and make sweets, hoping that that stops crying and works as a bribe if I’m stuck in a sticky situation. I have a long way to go before I reach awesome grandma status – it takes more than just spoiling and sweetness apparently.

Red Bean-filled Daifuku

From Japanesefood.about.com

1 Cup Glutinous Rice Flour

1/4 Cup Sugar

2/3 Cup Water

Tsubushi-an Filling (see below)

Corn or Potato Starch, for dusting

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Microwave Method: Put the Glutinous Rice Flour in a heat-resistant bowl. Mix Water and Sugar in a small bowl and gradually pour into rice flour, stirring well.

Put the bowl in the microwave and heat the dough for about two minutes. Stir the dough. Heat the dough in microwave again until the dough inflates. Stir the mochi quickly.

Dust your hands and a flat pan or other surface generously with some of the Potato or Corn Starch. Remove the hot mochi from the bowl and transfer to the pan. The mochi will be hot and sticky, so be careful not to burn your hands. Keeping sure that your hands are well dusted with starch, divide the mochi into 12 pieces to 16. Flatten each piece into a thin disk. Put a piece of filling in the center of each flattened mochi and wrap the paste by stretching the mochi. Pinch the ends closed and round the daifuku. Repeat the process to make more pieces, keeping each piece and the surface well-dusted.

Stovetop Method (forms a softer dough): In a medium saucepan, dissolve the Sugar in the Water over low to medium-low heat. Gradually mix in the Glutinous Rice Flour with a wooden spoon, stirring continuously. Continue to stir the dough for several minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan so that the dough will not burn, for 3 to 4 minutes, until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with Corn or Potato Starch, and follow the directions for filling as in the microwave method above.

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Tsubushi-an (Chunky Sweet Red Bean Paste)

From Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

1 Cup (180g) Azuki Beans (red beans)

1 Cup Sugar

Pinch Salt

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Wash Beans and place in a large saucepan full of water. Bring just to a boil, then drain and discard water.

Add about 3 cups water to beans in pan and simmer over medium heat, covered, until beans are very soft. Add more water when necessary to prevent dehydration, but water should be almost enturely reduced when beans are done.

Add Sugar and stir with wooden spoon or paddle over low heat. The beans are so soft that some will disintegrate while stirring. You want a thick mixture in which the beans are half-crushed. Add the Salt and mix well. The bean paste should be softer than miso.

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