These are country-style manju (traditional Japanese confectionary) made with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).The simple, distinctive smell of baking soda makes me nostalgic!
I attempted to recreate the manju that my late grandmother and mother used to make before I forget how they taste.
For unfrozen, chill it in the freezer to make it firmer and therefore easier to wrap. Adjust the amount of water depending on the time of year. A bit more in the winter, and a bit less in the summer.
Enjoy Japanese food around the world.