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cookies

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
May 9, 2010

Polvorones


There’s about a billion things that I’m terrible at. One of these is buying presents for other people. So when I got an invitation from a friend to her Spanish themed 18th party, my first reaction was not ‘oh no, what am I going to wear?’ by rather, ‘what am I going to get her??’ Being the terrible last minute person I am (although this is true of most teens I know) I left it until two days before the party to tell my mum I needed to buy a present for her. Needless to say, I was stuck for ideas.

Between us, we came up with a handful of ideas ideas but I just couldn’t see her liking any of those. No, that was too girly, that was out of budget etc. etc. Completely out of ideas, I bought next ‘nice’ and present-y thing I could find at the shops and decided to do what I do best, and bake something for her as well (since I figured that everyone likes to eat…right?). Since it was a Spanish party, I searched up some Spanish food and somehow ended up deciding on making polvorones.


I was quite nervous as this was the first time I’d given any food items as a gift and I’d never tried this recipe before. Which for me, is a terribly risky thing as most of my baking disasters have been on things which are supposedly easy and hard to not succeed. Take for example, the first time I made chocolate chip cookies (keep in mind this was very early in my baking days). I tried a recipe (from all recipes) which had a 5 star rating (and had been reviewed about a thousand times) thinking that it could not go wrong- but they turned out sickenly sweet and as hard as rocks. I ate about three before throwing the whole batch out. I was sure that it was my fault they turned out so terrible so a week later I tried again but to no avail. I’d decreased the sugar and mixed it for longer but they still had a funny texture and tasted terrible. The third time I used a recipe from a book I had and they turned out perfect. Well I guess it shows that a recipe that works for a thousand other people might not work for you. Or that I’m terrible at following recipes =] (which is more likely).

This recipe is also from allrecipes, and my choc-chip cookie incident was the reason I was slightly hesitant to try this. One commenter suggested that replacing the butter with lard would make it taste more like Spanish polvorones, which was perfect because I had half a block of lard left over from my egg custard tarts. As terrible as it would be for my friend’s health (and partly for mine), I thought that it was worth it, as I wanted the cookies to taste really good.


The cookies were really simple (another reason I chose it) but I found I had to tinker with the ingredients a little bit to get a cookie like dough. I increased the flour by a lot because the dough didn’t look dough-ey enough and subsequently increased the sugar and cinnamon because I didn’t want it to loose flavour. I increased the sugar by quite a bit because I tasted the dough and it didn’t taste too sweet, although that may have been because of the strong lard taste. I only coated them lightly with sugar just in case they became too sweet. The sugar melted into the cookie which was quite cool (and the oven fan didn’t blow it all off, as I had feared…) and when I coated it with sugar afterwards, when they were still warm, the sugar half melted and stuck on which was also quite cool.

The batter didn’t yield too many cookies so I couldn’t taste test too many (hehe…) and I ended up sharing two cookies between my family. As I’d expected, the cookies were very soft, crumbly and melted in your mouth, which isn’t really my type of cookie (I’m more the crunchy, choc chip cookie girl) So I guess I made them right =]

*finger crossed the birthday girl liked them*

Polvorones

Recipe from allrecipes

Ingredients
• 1 cup butter (226.8g)
• 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture to form a stiff dough. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Mix together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; roll balls in cinnamon mixture.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven, or until nicely browned. Cool cookies on wire racks.

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
March 2, 2010

Yellow Cookies


I’m the type easily tempted by a slight discount on cookbooks and bakeware. Often, I find myself wanting to buy a discounted cookbook of which I know I’ll probably never use- but the pictures are so tempting! Just last year, after christmas, we were shopping at Target when I came across a christmas cookie cutter and cake tin set, with a really cute rolling pin and brush reduced to only $4! Having never baked sugar cookies before, and rarely baking butter cakes I knew that I’d probably never use it. But a girl can never have enough bakeware and so I purchased my first ever set of cookie cutters- and funny shaped cake tins.

As I had suspected, they lay in the cupboard for almost two years, which is partly because it’s strange to make christmas shaped bakes when it isn’t christmas. Until Star day at school turned up. Because one of those cookie cutters were star shaped! You might remember the yellow cupcakes I made for the same occasion- the theme was yellow, but I thought star shaped yellow cookies would be perfect!

………..Or not so yellow


With butter cake, butter cream and now sugar cookies, I ended up using quite a lot of butter and sugar. Good thing that I didn’t have too many left for myself or my family! The house smelt like butter, my hands were all oily and so was the whole kitchen- mainly the tabltetop. The trays, bowls utensils took forever to wash. But it was definitely worth it!

This was the first time I made sugar cookies as I personally prefer choc chip cookies type cookies aka the type which you just throw onto the tray and bake. Personally, the sugar cookie appeals to me only in the decorating, no so much in the actual cookie itself. Inspired by the numerous blogs I’d read which had beautiful sugar cookies iced with royal icing, I decided to give it a try.

The original plan was to make royal icing and pipe some patterns onto the cookies. But then I decided against it at the last moment, scared that I would give everyone food posioning (with the raw egg whites, salmonella and everything) so I decided on just normal sugar icing made of icing sugar mixed with water/milk. The coobook had made it look exactly like royal icing. Much to my dissappointment, it looked like anything but royal icing when i made it.

The icing itself did not turn out pure white as the cookbook has illustrated. Then, eventually, it got contaminated with the yellow icing (don’t ask!) and so I was left with yellow, and a weird coloured icing. I tried piping patterns but the colour just wouldn’t come out nicely so I resorted to sprinkling them with hundreds and thousands. Tastewise, I don’t really like hundreds and thousands as I don’t like the texture but it made the cookies look not as pathetic as they were.

The cookies themselves came out beautiful if a little thin- I got a little excited when rolling out the dough and so it got thinner and thinner, with me wondering why I had made so much more than the recipe said. Despite the thinness of the cookies, they tasted great- even my parents liked them (although they preferred it without the icing)! It did however end up with hard edges because it was too thin which I didn’t notice until they cooled and the cookie became hard. Nevertheless they tasted good and will definitely use this recipe again- although next time I’ll try royal icing!

Sugar Cookies

 

Yield: About 50 2-inch cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting (optional)

Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together.

Working with a stand mixer, perferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth. Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale. Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated – because this dough is best when worked least, you might want to stop the mixer before all the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough and finisht eh job with a rubber spatula. When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.

Turn the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half. If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. If you want to make slice-and-bake cookies, shape each half into a chubby sausage (the diameter is up to you – I usually like cookies that are about 2 inches in diameter) and wrap in plastic. Whether you’re going to roll or slice the dough, it must be chilled for at least 2 hours. (Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

Getting Ready to Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

If you are making roll-out cookies, working with one packet of dough at a time, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of ¼ inch, lifting the plastic or paper and turning the dough over often so that it rolls evenly. Lift off the top sheet of plastic or paper and cut out the cookies – I like a 2-inch round cookie cutter for these. Pull away the excess dough, saving the scraps for rerolling, and carefully lift the rounds onto the baking sheets with a spatula, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies. (This is a soft dough and you might have trouble peeling away the excess or lifting the cutouts; if so, cover the dough, chill it for about 15 minutes and try again.) After you’ve rolled and cut the second packet of dough, you can form the scraps into a disk, then chill, roll, cut and bake.

If you are making slice-and-bake cookies, use a sharp thin knife to slice the dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, and place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all. Remove the pan from the oven and dust the cookies with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if you’d like. Let them rest for 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Storing: The cookies will keep at room temperature in a tin for up to 1 week. Wrapped well, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

In Asian Treats, Recipe on
February 11, 2010

Pinapple Cookies | Almost New Year…..

With the lunar new year coming up, many bloggers have been busy making new year treats. I don’t usually bake for special occasions (other than birthdays) because they usually fall within some sort of busy period where I just can’t find enough time to bake something and blog about it in time. Thinking I was going to have to miss out on yet another occasion, I resorted to reading about other people’s blogs (erm..whilst supposedly studying..hehe), as I usually do anyway, until I came across pineapple cookies/tarts on almost everyone’s blogs- which reminded me, that I had actually made them a while ago!!

I’m guessing that these cookies are a Malaysian thing because when I asked my parents about them, they had no idea what they were talking about. To them these are more similar to the chinese pineapple cookies they buy from asian supermarkets (I don’t know if they’re the same thing???)

I’d made these at the end of last year after reading about it. I chose this recipe and made it one afternoon before I went on holidays to give to my relatives. It was quite a risk, making something I’d never made before as I often fail the first time I try to make anything. But since I don’t have a signature dessert or a favourtie recipe or anything, I thought I’d just give it a try. Luckily, they turned out perfect so I was able to box them and take them overseas- my relatives loved them!
When I got back to Australia, I made them again- to take photos (so I could blog about them) and, more importantly because we all wanted to eat them again! Unfortunately, they didn’t turn out as good as the first time but still tasted great! me and my sister had a fun time rolling these into balls- whilst my mum had….errrr fun cleaning the burnt bits left on the saucepan after I cooked the pineapples. Oops.
Rolling them is a bit tricky at first but is extremely fun- the dough is very soft due to the large amount of butter which leaves your hand all oily after rolling them, whilst the pineapple filling is extremely sticky. My sister made a few oddly shaped ones- just so that we could tell they were hers! Not surprisingly, they were devoured very quickly- I completely understand the food bloggers obsession with these cookies, and why everyone makes them for new year! I’ll definitely be making these again and again and again!
 

Nastar (Pineapple cookies)

 For the pineapple filling:
1 can (440 gr) crushed pineapple, DO NOT drain
150 gr sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. Dump everything into a medium saucepan. Cook until caramelised, mashing the pineapple gently.
2. Transfer into a bowl and cool. Shape into small balls and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until needed.

For the cookies:
125 gr butter, chopped, cold
25 gr powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
150 gr plain flour
25 gr cornstarch

1. Mix butter and powdered sugar on medium speed. Do not overmix – we don’t want to incorporate too much air.
2. Add yolk and mix well. Sift together flour and cornstarch. Mix on low until combined.
3. Take 10 gr of dough and flatten it. Place one pinapple ball on the center and enclose with the dough. Place on a lined baking tray – cover with plastic wrap if necessary, to prevent the cookies drying out. Repeat until dough is used up. Do NOT brush them with egg wash (recipe follows) prior to baking.
4. Bake in preheated 180 C oven for 10 minutes. Take out and brush with the egg wash. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned.

Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp milk
1 tsp honey

1. Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Make sure the honey is dissolved well and the mixture is no longer lumpy.