Kinako (or toasted barley flour if allergic to soy)
Slice the sweet potatoes. Simmer with raisins in plenty of water - cook until soft. You could also use a microwave or a steamer.
Mash the sweet potatoes while they're hot. Take care not to mash the raisins. Taste, and add sugar if necessary.
Set aside and let cool down slightly. Add the white sesame seed paste and the kinako. If the mixture is too soft to shape, add kinako. If too firm, then add the sesame paste.
Form into desired shapes to finish. I squeezed the balls of the sweet potato mixture in a sheet of plastic wrap, then twisted their tops make the little bundles in the photo.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to try something different from our regular way of eating sweet potatoes and make a light and healthy snack for my kind. These are great for people with egg or dairy allergies, or as solid finger food for babies.
The sweetness of the sweet potatoes will improve after being cooked with the raisins in Step 1. If the potatoes are sweet to start with, there's no need to add anything else, but please taste and add sugar if necessary. Also, the sesame paste will improve its flavor, but if you don't have any, you can just substitute it with regular butter, heavy cream, or soy milk.