When I was little, I had terrible teeth. Big, ugly, rabbit teeth. Each tooth had a mind of its own and grew in a different direction to the one next to it- I’m not kidding. It was terrible.
I didn’t mind too much- after all, I’d grown up with them. But I tried to hide them as much as possible- like smiling with my mouth closed (at least for photos). Which wasn’t an easy thing. Because when I’m happy, I just can’t seem to close my mouth! Looking back at photos, especially those in year 6, I can’t tell which ones I look worse in- the ones where I’m trying to close my mouth but end up with a funny face or the ones which I just let my teeth stick out. School photos were horrible because the photographer always made us say something like ‘yes’ (actually they still do….) and not only would that be awkward (the way it still is), but I’d have to try to close my mouth lightning fast, which I never managed to do.
I remember a (sort of )conversation with some friends in primary. A girl was pondering over the issue of getting braces- except that, she had pretty much perfect teeth. When I mentioned that I would probably be getting braces soon, she responded with something along the lines of ‘If I had teeth like yours, I’d definitely get braces’ (only the real quote had words like ‘ugly’ somewhere in there too….)=[ I eventually got braces in year 7. They didn’t really hurt after the first couple of weeks but my orthodontist told me not to eat chocolate or drink fizzy drinks when I had braces. Being the good girl I am, I actually listened and went off chocolate and fizzy drinks for a whole year (I definitely don’t have that self control now)- it was not until I had them off that I realised that no other orthodontist told their clients to do so. But with my braces off, not only could i start eating normally again, I also had straight teeth, meaning that I could finally smile properly- a good happy smile, which I use a lot now =]
I never really noticed how much I smiled until someone called me ‘smiley’. I sometimes smile instead of saying hello, I smile when I’m embarassed, I smile when I don’t know how to respond to something. I even finish sentences with smiley faces, both on my blog posts and in comments 😉 My fingers just wander over to the smiley face sign instead of a full stop……..
I really love happy things- which is why I love the name of these cookies. And they’re delicious too! ‘Smiling mouth cookies’ is the direct translation from chinese, incase you’re wondering about the weird name- because apparently, the split looks like a smile (I don’t really see it….)
My mum had promised me she’d make these with me, after reading it in one of her chinese cookbooks. But being busy with school work and various other things, this promise got forgotten until one day, after school, a food topic on the chinese radio triggered my memory. Off I went on a rant about how my mother had promised me to cook all these things but we’ve never gotten around to doing them (to be fair, she keeps a LOT more of her promises than I do), which eventually led to her suggesting we make these cookies right there and then!
Despite having a load of homwork due, I quickly hurried around the kitchen to grab all the ingredients, before my mum changed her mind. It didn’t take too long- my mum read the recipe whilst I measured everything. I did all the mixing and kneading, shoving my mother’s helpful hands out of the way every time she tried to grab the dough off my to have a go- yes, we love the hog the fun bits! As luck would have it, we could only find enough seasame seeds in the house to coat three cookies, so we attempted to coat them with coconut, which we realised would not work. So we went back to the pantry, turned the whole thing inside out, and finally find a brand new packet of seasame seeds! *phew*
The cookies fry quickly, it only takes about 20 seconds or so for them to float up and another minute to brown but we leave it there for a couple of minutes longer, since the recipe said 6-8 minutes. The coconut cookie browned within the first few seconds, and the coconut got burnt- so don’t try these with coconut! They’re sweet and crunchy, but the inside is slightly softer and the seasame seeds give it a really nice flavour too. Definitely the type of food to keep me going throughout the night…….to finish all that homework I’d been putting off 😉
Smiling Mouth Cookies
Low gluten flour (cake flour)……….450g
Salad Oil (any oil will do)……………..20g
Egg…………………………………………….50g (1 egg)
Some white sesame
Some black sesame (optional)
Oil (for deep
1. Mix together the water, sugar, baking powder and baking soda until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Whisk in the egg and slowly add in the oil.
3. Using a spatula, mix the flour into the mixture until a dough is
formed. Turn it out onto a hard surface and knead until the dough is smooth.
4. Divide the dough into 100g portions and roll them out into long sausage shapes. Place all the ‘sausages’ lengthwise closely next to each other and then use a pastry cutter to cut along the other way so that each sausage is cut into ten pieces. Alternatively, divide the dough into 10g portions (I think the first way is meant to be faster)
5. Roll the pieces into balls. Then, place in a sieve and sprinkle with water. (you don’t want it to be too wet). Then roll the balls in sesame until the entire surface of each ball is covered. To do this, I sprinkle the sesame into a tray , dump the balls of dough in and shake the tray around so that the balls are covered. I find it easier to work with about 10 balls at a time.
6. Heat the oil in a large pot (or wok) until 120C then place as many balls as can fit into the oil. They will initially sink to the bottom, and then rise after around 2-3 minutes. When the cookies split open (or ‘smile’) and turn golden brown (around 6-8 minutes), take them out and let cool a while (unless you want a burnt tongue….) before eating.