Shortbread, Sablé, Butter Cookie

Why are there so many names for a cookie? Probably because people in different parts of the world love it so much to give it names. What would I call it? Maybe “it’s good but watch your waistline” cookie or “I’m pretending to be a plain Jane but I kick-ass” cookie.

You get the idea. I love them as much as I hate them. Such a dilemma in a cookie. So, I do try to workout 3-4 times a week. Hit the gym, run on the treadmill or do a spinning class (Seriously tough class, I mainly just hate it). With every cookie I want to eat, I would envisage myself running for another 10mins …. yes, yes, I know it doesn’t equate, you have to run a lot longer than that, but everyone needs a little motivation to run, right? Motivation in the form of dream-up image of a cookie dangleing in front of your treadmill.

I made some cookies over the weekend and I did gym 4 times this week.

Lemon Sablé is adapted from one of my favourite cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. It is a great recipe but I messed up a bit here. The cookies did not manage to hold their shape. My butter was too soft, i reasoned.

Ingredients:
226g unslated butter, softened at room temperature
50g sugar
15g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
250g all-purpose flour
Zest from one lemon
Granulated sugar for dusting

Method:
1. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist. Beat the butter until smooth and very creamy. Add the sugars, lemon zest and salt, and beat until well blended. Aim for smooth and velvety, NOT fluffy and airy
2. Blend in the yolks.
3. Fold in the flour using spatula (which is what I did) or mix in the flour with the mixer at lowest speed until the flour just disappear.
4. Divide the mixture into 2-3 portions and shape each portion into a log.
5. Wrap the logs with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. They can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months.
6. Preheat the oven to 175C. Line baking sheet with parchment.
7. Remove the logs from fridge and sprinkle the surface with sugar. You can brush egg yolk on the surface to act as glue for the sugar, but I think the sugars can stick on without the yolks.
8. Cut and place the rounds onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between them.
9. Bake for 17-20mins. When done, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate almond cookies is adapted from another favourite book, Okashi Treats. I have been baking a lot with her recipes actually. Clean layout, clear instructions and pretty pictures. She also seems to have a preference towards top/pastry flour which produce lighter baked goods, which I like.

Ingredients:
40g sliced and blanched almonds
150g top flour
20g cocoa powder
120g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
70g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
Granulated sugar for dusting

Method:
1. Sift flour and cocoa powder together
2. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until smooth and velvety.
3. Blend in egg yolk
4. Fold in the flour mixture using spatula. Add the almond silvers and fold through
5. Divide the mixture into 2 portions and shape each portion into a log.
6. Wrap the logs with plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 mins.
7. Preheat the oven to 160C. Line baking sheet with parchment.
8. Remove the logs from fridge, slice the dough and then roll the sides of the cookies in sugar. (This is different from the instructions above. This method works better for me)
9. Place the rounds onto the baking sheet.
10. Bake for 17-20mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Baking Frenzy for CNY

Oh, what a week!!! Following the epic battle with bee cake, it’s major cookie baking for CNY, followed by cupcakes…

With no clear winner from the cornflake cookie contest (a margin of 1 vote is quite insignificant…), I decided to do a big batch of the recipe I prefer… which is version B. Beside cornflake cookies, I also have my eyes set on melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies from Cook.Bake.Love. for a while, and a version of almond cookies on her bog as well. Alas, not enough time for the almond cookies during the week. Well, have to do it post CNY.

The recipe for cornflake cookies has already been posted on here

For Melt-in-the-mouth Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
125g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
40g icing sugar
125g potato starch
80g superfine flour (I used cake flour)
1/2 tsp salt
Method:
1) Beat butter and icing sugar till fluffy and lighter in colour, sift in potato starch and flour, mix to form a soft dough.
2) Roll into small ball, arrange on lined baking pan and press lightly with a fork. Bake in preheated oven at 150C for 20 mins, upper rack (need not bake till cookies turn brown).

These butter cookies have a interesting texture, indeed melt-in-your-mouth for lack of better description. They are a bit bland though since they are no flavourings. Some dried fruits like cranberries or rasins will give it a punch.

CNY Cornflakes Cookies

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and festive spirit is in the air. Yippy!
For years, CNY preparation is a furry of activities at my in-laws’ place. They will make pineapple jam from scratch and baked pineapple tarts. They will cook and steam Nian-gao and chinese carrot cake. The main role in the “decorating” department belongs to me. I will roll, by-hand, the short thin strips of dough to be placed in a cris-cross pattern on the tarts. Seemingly simple, but a task that seems to be best executed by only me 😀 This year, in-laws decided to take a break from pineapple tarts so no more dough rolling. I decided to invest some time into making one of my favourtie CNY staple, cornflakes cookies.

So off to google for recipes… And I found a couple of interesting ones, that I tested last night.

Version A adapted from here
20120110-115958.jpg
My adapted recipe as follows
Ingredients:
100g butter
75g sugar
1 egg
150g all-purpose flour
30g bran or any cereal (coarsely crushed) – actually I didn’t measure this at all, just pour a bunch into ziplock bag and start crushing
1/2 tsp vanilla essense
1/2 tsp lemon essence
15g corn flour/corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
Method:
1. Beat butter and sugar till pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add vanilla essence. Stir in the lightly beaten egg.
3. Fold in the flour mixture including corn flour. (Mixture must not stick to our hands when touched.)
4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out about 1 teaspoon of the cookie dough and roll it into the crushed cornflakes.
5. Transfer them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes at 175 degree C or till golden brown

Version B adapted from here
20120110-120051.jpg
My adapted recipe as follows
Ingredients:
75g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp lemon essence
150g cake flour
1/4 tsp table salt
80g Kellogg’s Cornflakes (coarsely crushed) – again didn’t measure
Method:
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar on low speed for about 10 seconds (to prevent your icing sugar from flying all over your kitchen) before increasing the speed to medium and beating for another 20 seconds or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Sift the cake flour into the mixing bowl, add the salt, and beat for another 30 seconds.
3. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degC.
4. Use a teaspoon to scoop up half a teaspoon of batter, and use another teaspoon to release the batter into the bowl of cornflakes. Use your fingertips to roll the ball of batter around till it is covered in cornflakes. Place the coated batter onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and repeat with the remaining batter.
5. Bake cookies for 22-24 min.

Verdit

The cookies were sampled and voted by office folks today…. and…. it’s a very close fight, with the victor winning by only a single vote. 

The winner is *drum-roll* version B !!