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!