Snow Bunny Dango

Inspiration was from Paper Mario, and Super Paper Mario, where there was an item called the Snow Bunny. From how they looked, a Snow Bunny resembled an usagi manju, which is a Japanese bun shaped like a rabbit. These manju are quite cute, usually being made with mochi, although I have seen baked varieties as well. I am making the body of my rabbits out of a similar recipe I used a while ago to make rainbow dango, as that dough was quite sturdy and perfect for dying different colors or shaping. In this case, I’m going to make the ears of the snow bunnies out of the same dango dough, while also leaving an option to dye these dango pink if you wanted to make the pink Berry Snow Bunnies from Super Paper Mario! I always found it adorable that in Super Paper Mario, you can combine a regular and a Berry Snow Bunny to make the rare Couple’s Cake Item. It felt like you were setting the two Snow Bunnies up on a date, and you got rewarded with cake as a result!

Now for what makes these dango fun and unique. I used natural coloring for every component – mugwort for the green, and beet powder for the red and pink aspects. I also used white rabbit candy in the manju dough itself in lieu of sugar, which will add a soft, supple texture to the mochi dough itself. This is mainly because the candy has sugar and milk solids, both of which contribute to a softer mouthfeel, with an almost melt-in-the-mouth experience! The filling is red bean paste, just to keep these little guys or gals more in line with a traditional manju, which we are freezing into balls, since the colder the filling, the easier it will be to wrap them with the mochi dough. For the mugwort(also called yomogi), which is a green leaf that has a pleasant, grassy flavor, we are making a thin gelee out of it. This green gelee will act as the ears for the finished dango, giving them a near-identical look to the Snow Bunny item from Paper Mario! Overall, this recipe is pretty beginner-friendly, as the biggest challenge is just making sure you are steaming the mochi for long each. So long as that it done, the rest of the recipe is literally just waiting on components to chill and set so wrapping and garnishing can be done cleanly!

Makes about 12 dango:
For the filling:
17oz smooth red bean paste

Scoop the red bean paste into 12 balls. Freeze these solid for easier assembly.

For the mugwort gelee:
1/2 cup water
1 tsp kanten jelly
1 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
.5oz mugwort powder

In a pot, heat up water, kanten jelly, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer. Once everything is dissolved, take off heat and stir in the mugwort powder. Pass through a sieve to remove lumps and pour the liquid into a shallow container that has been lined with a thin layer of cooking spray. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until firm. I used a large daisy cutter for this next step, but cut out 1/4-inch long by 1/8-inch wide ovals to form the ears of the rabbits with.

For the mochi skins:
96g or 3oz white rabbit candy
48g or 3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups hot water
A pinch of salt
80g or 3/4 cups shiratamako
70g or 1/3 cup joshinko
Potato starch
1/4 tsp red beet powder*

In a pot, melt down the candies in the hot water with some salt, bringing the mixture up to a boil. Pour the melted candy water into the shiratamako, and then stir in the joshinko. Divide the batter into two bowls lined with cooking spray, and steam for 20 minutes. I dyed one of the bowls with beet powder to give it a pink hue, while the other I kept the classic white color.

Pour the steamed mixtures, one at a time, onto a wetted cutting board – keep the other bowl in a relatively warm place, covered, just so the dough is easier to work with. Knead each into a smooth dough. Portion the dough out into 12 balls – if you did two colors, each bowl of dough will need to be divided into 6 pieces. Flatten each ball into a thinner disk, and wrap each one around the still-cold red bean filling, pinching the edges together, and gently shaping the dango into ovular shapes, similar to an egg that is placed in its side. Press the gelee ears on at this time.

For the eye paint:
1 tsp red beet powder or 1 for red food coloring
1 tsp clear alcohol

In a bowl, mix everything together. Using the round side of a chopstick, press dots of the red eye paint onto the dango.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s