Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Butter Cookies

Posted by Quinn at Wednesday, February 03, 2010

These are probably the most expensive butter cookies I've ever baked for Chinese New Year. They are also probably the most hideous, dare I say it, ugly looking cookies I have ever baked. Having said that, this batch of butter cookies is the best tasting butter cookies I have ever made too! Maybe I don't eat butter cookies that much, I don't knwo but I really like how these little morsels tasted. So ever fragrant.... The recipe is extracted from Grandma's 'Buku Latihan' aka recipe booklet. In terms of look, I'd say it's just a 5 out of 10. But in terms of taste, I'd give it a 9.5 out of 10. The other 0.5 is still deducted because of how ugly it look and because I'm a real sucker and a real perfectionist for anything cutesy and pretty.

The recipe may not look extraordinary compared to any other butter cookie recipe you can find out there. But if you may, use the best quality butter you can find because it is the butter that makes all the goodness difference. It's just a very simple basic butter cookie recipe at its core. It is suppose to hold its shape real well. Even after chilling it for 30mins or more, it didn't help. They failed me the very moment they were popped into the oven. Loosing shape, spreading and just plain ugly. But I love the aroma. I would love to wake up to that kinda aroma every single morning if I could. That block of Lurpak butter cause me a frigging AUD6 ! Now, can anyone who always say butters are so darn cheap in Aussie please stand up?

I do know that you're suppose to garnish it with chopped Maraschino cherries but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the supermarket. They have tonnes of jar of peach slices, apricots, mixed fruits and sour cherries but just no Maraschino or glazed cherries. You know, the one that comes in red and green bits. I didn't mind actually. I love chocolates. I could eat chocolates all three (or four, or sometimes five!) meals a day. A mini chocolate button took over the place of glazed cherry bits.

Start off with a block of good butter, just grab the most expensive ones you could see and afford!Salted or unsalted, I really couldn't care less though I have had numerous times encountered recipe calling for unsalted butter in a cake and then it called for 1/4 tsp of salt. Whatever, I'll just use a 'slightly salted' butter, happy? Cubed them and place them in a mixing bowl. It's all softened up, don't be deceived. And yes, you can over-soften butter so just poke it with your index and if it leaves an indentation, you're good to go. Now, having think twice, I think I really did over soften my butter.

Mmm....the most glorious looking batter above is obtained after adding 1 cup plus another 1/4 cup of sifted icing sugar. Icing sugar tend to get lumpy you know so sift it as an insurance. I'm using a whisk here, you can use electric mixer if you're a lazy, hillybilly person. Just kidding, use it if you're making a large batch. Cream them well until smooth and even smoother!

Now crack in two eggs, just crack them in one by one and see that bits of brown dots there? It's from the eggs. My mother used to tell me these are part of the unformed legs of the chick. She got me when I was young but now, nope mum. They are god-knows-what-they-are-but-definitely-not-the-unformed-legs-of-a-chicks. But I don't like them. Remove them with a fork.

And beat them very well until it look like above before cracking in the next egg. I use jumbo size eggs. I think it doesn't matter. We all know how olden days recipes are. They are uncertain, no exact measurements and often, written illegibly. It took me a while to decipher them you know...

Now, add in 1 tsp of Madagascar Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. I was feeling generous on that particular day to splurge like that plus the fact I don't have vanilla extracts in my pantry anymore, not a drop. Priced at AUD30 for 4 fl oz = 24 teaspoons, I officially used AUD1.25 just for flavouring (and looks as well because I love the tiny meeny vanilla bean specks!) in these cookies. Just use 2 tsp of vanilla essence, that's what it says in the recipe in 'Buku Latihan'.

Mix well upon adding the vanilla bean paste and see millions of speckles in your batter. If you accidentally dropped the whole bowl of batter on the floor, scrap them back into the bowl and stir around! No one would tell it's dust specks, not vanilla! Nah...I'm just kidding really, I'm in a real good mood today. No particular reasons really, the weather is good, I went cycling along the river with Aaron today, someone paid me a frigging AUD10 for me to make my ultra yummy peanut cookies for them and yeah, if only life is always this good, everyday.

Now, weigh out 2 cups plus another 1/2 cup of plain flour. Also measure out 4 heaped tablespoons of cornflour. Mix them together well and sift them thrice. Pop that into the batter gradually. I did it in three batches, folding the flour in with a spatula after each batch.

Oh, did I mention, you need to scrap the sides of the mixing bowl from time to time as well to make sure everything is well incorporated. This blog is idiot proof so I guess I better mention that fact. When you get that batter above, stop. Pop them into a ziplog bag fitted with the largest star nozzle. Chill the bag for 30 minutes before using.

Now, pipe out the batter into small stars/flowers because they look cuter this way. This is the first tray and it's been ages since I need to pipe and make something neat rather than sloppy so pardon the unevenness in size. It's no biggie!

Dot the centre of each cookie with a chocolate button/mini hersheys kisses/choc chips or chopped bits of glazed cherries.

Bake it in a preheated oven of 200C for 15-20 minutes. I guess that's it. Just a last shot of how they look before baking. May they rest in peace right before going into the oven...They really deserve to hold their shapes. Having said that, I hope mum won't find this an embarrassment to have in our living rooms. I know she's a typical Chinese woman who cares a lot about the 'face' and 'name'. I don't blame her really, it's just how olden days women are brought up.

P/S: Sonia, if you are reading this, see what I meant and how I felt when I saw your butter cookies post??? Apart from one fact, yours look so much better than mine!

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19 comments on "Butter Cookies"

Kitchen Corner on February 3, 2010 at 4:05 PM said...

Hey, you've got very nice shape of cookies there! Thanks so much for the making process. It's very helpful. Cheers!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) on February 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM said...

I dont understand why your mum find this an embarrassment, they look just lovely!

Passionate About Baking on February 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM said...

Hi Quinn,
After seeing Sonia's butter cookies, they looked just too good to be seen! I baked it too and it was truly good! Looking at your butter cookies, it looked fabulous too! It looks too good to be eaten. They are very uniform, aren't they? Good job!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on February 4, 2010 at 3:12 AM said...

Quinn, I don't think they look as bad as what you'd told that day when we chat. Girl, don't be too harsh on yourself! I love everything that you do because they're made with lotsa love!

Carolyn Jung on February 4, 2010 at 3:13 AM said...

Thank you for the memories. These cookies remind of the ones I used to adore as a kid. There was a neighborhood bakery that made these with the maraschino cherries in the center. I'd always beg my mom for a few. And luckily, she always said, "yes!'' ;)

Gina Choong on February 4, 2010 at 10:43 AM said...

Quinn, I suspected that the batter was too creamy, so it spreads during the baking process. One sure way is to rub in butter with flour. That will help the process. And hold the shapes better.

Nina on February 4, 2010 at 2:49 PM said...

I liked the shape...looks great:)

Elin on February 4, 2010 at 5:51 PM said...

You have done well...what Pei Lin said was rite..don't be harsh on yourself...practice makes perfect :))

beldandy on February 4, 2010 at 5:52 PM said...

quinn, does this taste like danish butter cookies?

Quinn on February 4, 2010 at 6:11 PM said...

Grace: You're welcome. But what I did from the steps didn't yield me cookies that hold its shape. Maybe it's the creaming method, I suspect that's where problem lies.

Sonia: Thanks! Mine looks good but yours looks great!!!

Jane: Thanks! Talk about being uniform, it took me a while since it's been ages I pipe stuffs that neeeded to be uniform!

Pei Lin: Thnaks, you're such a darling and sweet girl! I really did made it with lotsa love-lah! It tasted great, all I want from butter cookies but I just failed the look part.

Carolyn: You're welcome and yes, I like how we all reminisce old times when we see things like butter cookies and peanut cookies!

Gina: I agree with you but I was looking for something not so crispy. The rub-in method yields cookies that aren't so pipeable.... I guess I gotta pick between look or taste but I'd still go for the latter anytime!

Nina: Thanks!!!

Elin: Yeah, but sometimes when you failed once, you kinda get upset. And no motivation to try again.... We'll see again next time, I might have better luck!

Beldandy: Yes, it absolutely taste like those cookies you get from the blue tin. Just use rub in method and roll them out like tart/pie dough. Trace the shape with a danish cookie cutter and coat surface with sugar and bake. Voila! Danish cookie that looks like Danish and taste like Danish!

Christine on February 4, 2010 at 9:40 PM said...

Wow, lovely butter cookies, good for chinese new year!

Anonymous said...

I love butter cookies. They melt in the mouth and very addictive.

beldandy on February 5, 2010 at 3:07 PM said...

TQ so much quinn!
I must try this!

zurin on February 6, 2010 at 2:40 AM said...

they look good Quinn! n buttery.....m sure they taste good too!

pigpigscorner on February 6, 2010 at 8:56 AM said...

I made some butter cookies today too! I was exhausted after a batch, all I have to say is..baking cookies is not my thing =P

Quinn on February 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM said...

Christine & Ellie: Thanks, we all really do love butter cookies!

Beldandy: You're welcome, I know you'll like it, have fun!

Zurin: They taste good but don't worry about the look for me, I'm alright :)

Ann: Haha, yeah when I first embarked, it was kinda tiring too you know, batches after batches of never ending cookies. You'll soon get used to it :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, may i know how much does each recipe yields?

Anonymous said...

Hi, how many cookies does the recipe makes?

Quinn on December 11, 2010 at 10:58 AM said...

@Anonymous: Sorry I could not remember, it also depends on how big you pipe them to be. It yielded pretty a lot, a couple of air-tight containers...

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