Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kung Hey Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

I hope that old saying holds true in the blogosphere: better late than never. I made some Butter Cookies this morning using a recipe from Blog With Yan, in honor of Chinese New Year. It's the year of the Snake, my son Charlie's sign. According to Chinese horoscopes,  he is keen and determined. That's for sure. Snakes are also said to be calm and not outwardly emotional — we're working on that.

Yan's cookies appealed to me because they didn't require many ingredients and most of them are in the average person's pantry. The dough is piped onto lined baking sheets — sounds easy too. And they bake for about 10 minutes; quick. 

The bottles didn't work that well for these cookies.
I decided to try out my Kuhn Rikon Cookie and Cupcake Set that I got for Christmas. The set is used for decorating with icing and contains 5 stainless steel nozzles, 2 large bottles, 3 small bottles, lids and a spatula. Wrong. The dough, while light and fluffy, wasn't coming out of those plastic bottles with small nozzles. Fortunately, I had one, single disposable bag left from Christmas, so I got down to piping little pinwheel shapes and vertical bars. I am rubbish at that kind of piping, though. I can outline and flood; I'm steady-handed and I like detailed work. But I'm not very good at petals and shapes, so these taste better than they look! Be sure to check out Yan's cookies — they're beautiful!

They taste yummy — honestly!

The dough's airiness comes through in the cookies' bite. They nearly melt in your mouth. That's down to the cake flour, and the use of both granulated and powdered sugars. The results are buttery and tender. Several were nabbed off the cooling racks before I could plate them — that's always a good sign! 

I'll give the decorating set another bash the next time I use Royal Icing, but I'm feeling doubtful. I know it's better for the environment to use the bottles. I just don't think I'm going to be able to get the same control as I do with a bag. I could use cloth bags but I really appreciate the convenience of the disposable bag (in all its different sizes) when I'm using a variety of colors. Also, with plastic, it's easier to pry the coupler free and I don't have as much mess to clean up. The jury's still out on this one.

Seems a shame not to try them again with icing.

By the way, I didn't have cake flour on hand, so I made my own. To make 1/2 cup, put 1tablespoon of cornstarch in a 1/2 cup measure, then fill with all-purpose flour. To make two cups, add 1/4 cup cornstarch to a 2-cup measure, then fill with all-purpose flour. (Obviously, for this recipe, I put 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch in a 3/4-measure and filled with flour.)

Yan's Butter Cookies

200 grams (3/4 c) cake flour 
130 grams (1/2 c) butter, softened
35 grams (2 Tbsp) caster sugar
65 grams (4 Tbsp) powdered sugar
1 egg, whisked
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream butter until smooth. Add sugars, and continue to cream until fluffy.

Add one-third of the whisked egg into the butter mixture at a time. Stir and combine well between each 1/3-addition, as the volume increases and the color lightens. Add the vanilla essence and combine.

Sift flour into the egg mixture. Use a spatula to combine, careful not to over mix. Transfer the batter into an icing bag. Pipe the batter onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack completely. Store in an airtight container.

Happy Chinese New Year!


  1. Hi, you were doing great in these butter cookies. Kudos to you.

  2. Hi, Yan! So sweet of you to say. Your lovely cookies were an inspiration to me. Your blog is fun and it made me want to try them. I hope you had a very happy New Year with your family (such beautiful girls!). x