Chop the walnuts into bite-size pieces. Dry roast in a frying pan over low heat, then remove from the pan.
Put sugar and water in the frying pan and simmer over low heat. Add walnuts and coat in the syrup. Spread out and leave to cool.
Put the cream ingredients in a bowl and mix well. It's rather soft when it's freshly made, but it will firm up a bit as it rests.
Put the ● ingredients in a bowl. Add water to it little by little while mixing so that the shiratama-ko grains are no longer visible.
Put the mixture in a heatproof container, cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave for about 2 minutes at 500 to 600W. Mix well.
Microwave for another minute, take out and mix. Microwave for 40 seconds and mix, then take out the dough onto a surface dusted with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Dust the top of the dough with 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Divide the mochi dough into several portions, roll into balls, then flatten. Place a portion of the cream made in Step 2 on top with a butter knife, and wrap.
Top a walnut pieces on each and press down lightly.
Note: You can add 1-2 teaspoons of liqueur at step 3 to taste.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made these for New Years, and everyone from the kids to my elderly grandparents loved them. These are great because they can be made whenever you feel like it, without taking much time, and can be made simply in the microwave. I think these would be really welcomed by the elderly as a Valentine's Day gift.
The mochi dough is on the soft side, so if it's hard to handle, leave to cool down for 1-2 minutes. The dumplings should be on the small side, for a better flavor and texture balance. In step 3, you can blend the filling ingredients in a food processor. Please adjust the microwave time depending on your microwave oven.