(kneaded smooth bean paste autumn shapes)

white koshian (sweet smooth bean paste) 300gm (10.6oz)
shiratamako 5gm (approximately 2tsp)
(Note - mochiko (sweet rice flour) can be substituted.)
water 1T
mitsu (sugar water syrup)
white koshian (sweet bean paste) 150gm (5¼ oz) for centers
food color

For the mitsu - (This sugar water syrup can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator.) Dissolve equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. When the sugar is melted transfer to a glass container and let it cool.

For the nerikiri - Mix the shiratamako with the water. Try to break up any small lumps. Then add the 300gm bean paste and mix very well to incorporate the shiratamako. Divide into 6 pieces and place the pieces on a microwave safe plate. Do not cover. Microwave on high for about 1½ minutes. Take out, check the texture and microwave for another minute or so. (Note - Microwave ovens operate at different temperatures on the high setting so the cooking time many vary.) When ready, place in a bowl and mix well with a wooden or bamboo spoon. Some of the syrup can be added and mixed in if on the dry side. The finished dough should be pliable.

To make chrysanthemum shaped sweets, prepare pink, or other suitable colored, nerikiri. Wrap about 30gm (1oz) nerikiri around a 15gm (0.5oz) ball of white an (sweet bean paste). The finished shape should be slightly flattened and not round like a ball. Make an indentation in the center. Using a small piece of wood with a sharp edge, (like a kamaboko [fish cake] board), create the impressed lines by rotating the sharp edge of the board back and forth on the surface. Do this many times around the sweet so you create the shape of a chrysanthemum. A little yellow nerikiri bean paste that has been pressed through a fine sieve can be placed in the center of the finished sweet. Other autumn sweets can be made by using different colors and shapes.

One recipe makes 10 sweets. The recipe can also be cut in half.

(Note - If you don't have a microwave oven, the dough for the outside can be steamed in a cloth lined steamer. Make the koshian for the outside a little drier than usual as the steam will make it a little softer. Steam over medium high heat for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.)