I know that dumplings are time consuming, but I feel I've made dumplings enough to where I find the process mildly therapeutic. It's really relaxing and a good activity for when I don't feel like thinking.
Here's the recipe I've gotten good at: Fu Qing Sweet Potato Dumplings
(UPDATE: The blog of the OP for the recipe is messing up - I copied the recipe after having to disable JS and reposted. Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures :( )
The first time I made them...I think only about 12-15 survived the dumpling formation process. The second time, I made so many I was able to perfect my dumpling making process. 3rd time I made them, they came out really good, but the 4th time I made them I perfected my steaming technique. The key to getting the dough right is making sure you have a good sweet potato, the flesh under the skin is really bright orange and after you boil the sweet potato, the flesh is really sweet on it's own.
Most of the recipes I've seen for dumplings involve flattening the dough wrapper and forming it in your hands. I have to say, that's what causes my casualties when forming the dumplings. I do use the dusting flour, but it doesn't help me too much. The flour sticks to my hands and the dumpling rips apart. So here are my deviations from the recipe above.
1.) I like my dumplings more bite-size, so, for me, the amount of dough and filling in the above recipe makes about 40 dumplings. I form out all my dough balls first and they're roughly about the size of a shooting marble (about 0.75 in diameter).
2.) What really helped me out a lot in flattening the wrapper dough and wrapping in general was Saran wrap, Saran wrap specifically is more effective than cling wrap. I can flatten the dough ball to a decent thinness, I don't like my wrapper too thick.
Touching the dough too much always ripped it apart, but the Saran wrap just peels right off.
3. Add the filling, about 1/2 to 2/3 a teaspoon of filling. Lift the Saran wrap by the sides and press the edges together to form a "taco"
The Saran wrap peels back and the dough is more likely going to stick to itself than the wrap.
4. Repeat action #3 with the open edges of the "taco" to close the ends.
5. Pull back on the Saran wrap, and pull in the corners of the dumpling towards center then pick up the saran wrap to round the bottom of the dumpling.
What I learned around trial 4 is that it's best to put one layer of plastic wrap down at the bottom of the steamer. Prior to that trial, I would cut out pieces of wax paper to put the dumplings on, but in doing this, the bottom of the dumplings would stick to the wax paper and it would rip off with the paper. The following steamer picture was taken during trial 3. If you use plastic wrap, the dumplings won't stick to it at all.
Here's the finished product after a good 10 minute steaming.
Dumplings can be a frustrating experience the first time around, but the key to getting better is practice.