September 17, 2010

True Friends to Cherish, Great Cookies to Share

Gifts for Friends: Cookies All Wrapped Up

I thought I almost couldn’t make it. Really.

Because of Eid ul-Fitr, it was a long weekend in Malaysia. I nearly gave up on the idea of meeting up with good pals Swee San and Wendy. Why? There were too many things around me taking place that weekend, including my cousin’s wedding, job relocation, and the ongoing relocation work within my family.

A Memorable Weekend

“Go first, think later,” I told myself. Heck, glad that I made the right decision! I couldn’t imagine myself missing 10 hours of fun with two super cool and cheery ladies who like “teasing” me, who challenged me to be a rational shopper, and who made me laugh all the way through.

These three ladies exchanged ideas on and argued debated over a wide array of topics, including stuff that you won’t want to know. (Ah hem! Private and confidential. Haha!) All in all, the experience was a shopping marathon, a long session of laughing therapy, and more than 10 hours of yakking bonding moments – with occasional indulgence in food of course.

Coconut Butter Cookies

(By the way, I left home at about 11 a.m. and reached home at 11.10 p.m. last Saturday – breaking my earlier record with Wendy! I think we spent a little over 8 hours previously. But none of the five participants, including Tracie and Reese, really blogs about the June meet-up.)

It wasn’t my first time chilling out with Swee San and Wendy. Tracing back history, it was my fourth time seeing Swee San (or so I think …) and second time seeing Wendy. This latest meet-up of ours, to me, felt like a reunion of long-time buddies instead. “Old friends!?” you may wonder. “That’s fast!” Haha! I guess it’s probably due to the fact that we’ve been talking to each other almost every day; hence, the familiarity. We’re so far and yet, so near.

Anyway, we still yakked on our way back. Seriously, we can chatter away like no one’s business! Very kind of Swee San to drop Wendy and me at where we needed to be so that we could get home. That Saturday, Wendy gained more than 10 hours of freedom by letting her relatives babysit her daughters. (Haha!) So, once we’d dropped Wendy off at her relatives’, that was when I got to see Lydia, Wendy’s eldest girl, in person! One of my missions had been accomplished! When I met up with Wendy for the first time, she only brought her youngest girl Lyanne along. I’ve got to admit these girls are real sweethearts who can melt my heart easily. I hope I can see them again soon! (Visiting with the girls via fiber optics almost every day isn’t enough!)

A Big Shout-Out

Swee San and Wendy have already blogged about the Saturday meet-up. Do hop over to theirs for a glimpse of what the three of us were up to on the public holiday, if you’re keen to know more. (Pei-Lin is always the slowest! Ugh!) In the meantime, I’d like to thank:

Swee San, for her passion-fruit marshmallow. Though I can detect an eggy taste of the confection, the home-made marshmallow isn’t as sweet as store-bought one. It comes bursting with REAL and INTENSE passion fruit flavor! Good! Hey, pal! You’ve had me utterly convinced by now. Will be making my own on the days to come. (Pardon me for the lousy shot! I was racing against time on the following Sunday morning for my cousin’s wedding.)

Swee San's Passionfruit Marshmallow

… And Wendy, for this cute airtight vessel that resembles a cub. One thing for sure, cookie monster Pei-Lin will store her cookies inside. A very neat and thoughtful gift indeed!

A Gift From Wendy

Also, I’d like to give a big shout-out to these two buddies who lift me up, who listen to my stories, and who encourage me all along since the first days we knew each other.

From left to right: Swee San, Wendy, and me

Pei-Lin Scratches Head

Luckily, it was a long weekend, and I got to bake big batches of delectable goodies. I’d promised the ladies long ago to let them try more of my foods. At our last meet-up, I only managed to sneak in a small tub of chewy molasses cookies as I had to work the day before, which explained why I didn’t get to bake something specially for the ladies. The molasses cookies were from my baking escapade the Sunday before, which I have yet to blog about. And, I felt bad after that. (OK, I’m getting confusing here …) Anyway …

Avoid anything chocolaty. No raisins preferably. No coffee. No chunks of nuts. No spices added. Those were what I ought to abide by when I was thinking of what to make for especially, Wendy’s little girls. It was rather challenging to be honest since I’m so used to fixing chocolaty treats. Thank goodness! As I was racking my brain, a recipe I bookmarked long ago suddenly came to mind. It was the coconut butter cookie recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks “孟老師的100道手工餅乾 (Home-Made Cookie) [sic],” which is authored by famous Taiwanese culinary guru Zhaoqing Meng (孟兆慶).

Coconut Butter Cookies

When Simplicity Exceeds Expectations

It’s a bold statement, but these coconut butter cookies are among the best home-made butter cookies I’ve ever had so far. Nonetheless, blame myself for not studying the recipe carefully. I mistranslated the name of an ingredient. I didn’t know what’s known as “椰子粉” in Chinese actually refers to desiccated coconut – not coconut cream powder! So, ya know, I used the latter instead. But, it was a pleasant mistake I take pride in and would be glad to make again.

I tripled the recipe so that I’d have enough for Swee San, Wendy and her family, and for personal consumption. Little did I know they’d vanish in less than 4 days! Both my family and colleagues loved the cookies. I thought tripling the recipe would suffice! I was so wrong!

The coconut butter cookies truly speak for themselves. These bite-size morsels are extremely fragrant, and wonderfully buttery – with just the right sweetness. They are crunchy at the first bite. Yet, they would also give you that false impression of shortbread as you savor them, one at a time, in your mouth.

Coconut Butter Cookies

The cookies emanate that sweet vanilla smell. To me, surprisingly, there was barely a hint of coconut, especially on their last days on earth. Instead of maturing, I guess that tropical whiff just subsided as the cookies aged. The only downside is they are a tad greasy. So, with just two or three pieces, your butter cookie cravings shall be curbed in no time. (Hey, my brother gobbled up six cookies in one sitting!)

It was very sweet witnessing Lydia and Lyanne munching on the cookies! Extremely thrilled to have learned that the kids loved their treats! So, if you’re a huge fan of Danish butter cookies, and have been looking for a recipe that yields final products that taste like the real McCoy, give this recipe a shot! These cookies are incredibly easy to make. You’re not going to regret!

Coconut Butter Cookies

Coconut Butter Cookies 椰子奶油球
Adapted from “Home-Made Cookie [sic],” by Zhaoqing Meng    改自《孟老師的100道手工餅乾》。孟兆慶 著
Makes about 17 cookies  弄約17塊

100 g cake flour – sifted once
10 g cornstarch – sifted once
20 g coconut cream powder – sifted once
* The original recipe calls for desiccated coconut. You need not sift this. *

75 g unsalted butter – softened at room temperature
50 g powdered sugar – sifted once
¼ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk (A) together thoroughly, then set aside for use later.
  2. Place (B) into a medium-sized mixing bowl, then blend the ingredients together slightly with help from a rubber spatula. Now, with an electric hand mixer, cream them up on high speed till pale and fluffy (i.e. buttercream-like consistency).
  3. With a rubber spatula or sturdy (wooden) spoon, gradually fold to mix the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, in two or three batches, till a dough has just formed – DON’T overwork the dough as you may risk getting tough cookies in the end.
  4. Wrap the dough up in plastic film, then let it chill and rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
    * I just left the dough in the mixing bowl and place a sheet of plastic film over the bowl. *
    * Halfway through making the cookies, I went out for grocery shopping. So, I left the dough in the fridge for about 2 hours, which made the dough far easier to handle later on. *
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge. Then, scoop out 15 grams of dough for each cookie and roll it into a ball. Place the shaped cookie dough on parchment-lined baking sheet(s), leaving about 4 centimeters apart in between the cookies. The dough will spread during baking. Repeat till the dough is used up.
  6. First, bake at 160°C for about 25 minutes. After that, turn off the oven and leave the cookies inside, with the oven door shut, for about 10 minutes.
    * Since I tripled the recipe, I got more cookies. For my subsequent batches (after the first round of baking), they required less time to bake as the cookies seemed to brown faster in the seemingly hotter oven. Well, just monitor the oven closely while the cookies bake. *
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and transfer them to cooling rack(s) to let cool completely before serving and/or storing in airtight container(s).
Coconut Butter Cookies


wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

Don't tell me you weighed them.
They look so uniform.

My girls enjoyed everythng u made, except for Lydia with the granola.
Even my hubby chowed down one pack of the cookies in one go. That good!!!

Eh, since you said you used coconut cream powder, I think I know why the cookies are slightly too greasy. If you used dessicated coconut, they should've been ok.

Thankyou so much for everything, the company, the laughter, the cheer and the "sportingness" to be the center of our debates, haahah!!!

Swee SAn said...

I want moooooorreeee cookkiiesss pleassee !! My dad opened it, then I saw the familiar package at the table, so I quickly went n grab 1 piece. Went to the kitchen do some cakes, came back out.. all gone -___-

Hahaha I'd have to agree with Wendy on the last bit hehhe :D

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Looks so store- bought! Good basic stuff that always be popular, I am sure!

Happy Homebaker said...

Lovely post! and as you usual, you never fail to surprise me with all your lovely bakes...your cookies are so so beautiful! 一颗颗填满用心,热忱的小饼干,沒有夸张花俏的装饰,却装满了你对朋友的真诚!Can I be your friend too??

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Lovely company, so glad you get to de-stress from all the work load around you. I will give this cookie recipe a try, since I love butter cookies very much.

edith said...

Always nice to have girly time and best of all with same interest. There is so much to share and one can't help but tends to loose track of time.

Indie.Tea said...

I find everything to be delicious. The cookies, and especially the passionfruit marshmallows, so original and creative.

CarinE said...

看你的部落格感觉很亲切噢...因为都会有华语字出现! Yes, I do know English, just not that good. haha. I used to eat these kind of cookies when I was 8. But now I can't have them because it's too expensive, my mum wants to save money. I think I 'll make it my self...

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Awww, you three ladies look lovely in that photo! Same for the cookies too ... they are so well-made. A perfect gift of friendship. :)

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Pei Lin, I am imagining the 10 hrs full of your laughter, since I ve not met Wendy & Swee San in person so cant imagine of their laughter but I am sure you ladies are great great companions and frds. I nvr ever so eager to be in KL like I am right now, really hope can meet up with you gals soon.
Butter cookies and coconut, I am tempting to give this recipe a try, let me go get the coconut cream powder or dessicated coconut 1st.

Meldylocks and Her Three Bears said...

You three har... really make me feel soooo sorry for myself coz I missed it...

Ok...we'll about next time...! ;D

Passionate About Baking said...

It's so nice to meet up with friends again and do the natural destress activities - chatting and shopping! I can tell you had a great time!
You cookies looked so good. Ya, I wondered if you actually weigh them? They looked so uniform!
Btw, where have you been relocated? Did your family move with you too? Take care and hope to see more of your bakings.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Wendy: Yea, I did weigh each of the cookie. At least, Lydia was frank, "It stinks!" HAHA! I guess she isn't a spice lover. Elated to know your whole family loved the cookies. Yay, one whole family of cookie monsters ... like Pei-Lin! Yea, the greasiness could be due to my mistake of using coconut cream powder. But if desiccated coconut was used instead, I suppose the cookies wouldn't be as fragrant. Desiccated coconut will at most, bring in another dimension to the overall texture. Oh, you bet! I can be the center of our debates, anytime. That's why, I don't need to put on blush also can because I just blush so easily when you all tease me. LOL!

@Swee San: Can, can! Will bring you more next time. Thank you and your dad for being so supportive of my cookies! Aiya, I've been center of debates on MSN also what ... Not just in person lor ... LOL!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Shirley: Back to the basics always sounds like an appealing theme to me. Thanks!

@HHB: 多謝您的鼓勵與支持!您的作品也令人刮目相看!我在班門弄斧而已啦!哈哈!但願我們有機會見面,那我就會帶我的作品來和您分享。當然啊!我們已經是朋友了。。。只不過仍處於網友階段。哈哈!是您願不願意出來和我們會面而已。我們全都想認識您啊!

@Bee Bee: Thanks, buddy! Should ever get to try the recipe, lemme know how it turns out for you. =)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Edith: Oh, yes! You bet the three of us weren't even aware that it was already 9.30 p.m.! Yakked nonstop! I was being debated at the table, too. =_=""

@Indie.Tea: Thank you! Yea, I was indeed fortunate to have been able to try Swee San's passion-fruit marshmallows. I doubt we can find such exotically flavored marshmallows out there easily unless they are home-made. =)

@CarinE: 妳覺得我很親切因為我會寫中文!?哈哈哈!身為一個中文獨中生,不會中文是很可悲的事!我不是ABC啦!我該轉寫中文部落格嗎?哈哈!我先在已不外買了。好久沒吃外面的東西除了有人belanja我才吃的。呵呵!現在市面上賣的藍罐丹麥牛油曲奇很貴嗎?那是時候自己動手做了。這樣妳也免了很多不必要的添加劑。

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Ju: Thank you for the lovely words!

@Jess L.: Wah! Scary, man! It's been more than a month since we last met. You still can recall how my laughter goes!? LOL! I never knew my laughter can be a signature of mine, too. Ten hours must drive people insane liao. HAHA! These three ladies make KL a much beautiful city to visit! HAHA! But hor, remember Wendy is 3.5 hours further up north of KL. LOL! K, lemme know how your cookies turn out. Take care.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Melody: Ya lar, orang lain ajak you out ... you mah a few hours down south. LOL! Next time, we'll korek you out to join us. No need to feel sorry lar. HAHA!

@Jane: Shopping = Damage to my purse and bank account. Can't do this too often. Yea, I did weigh each cookie. =P

Nah, it's a family thingy. We're only moving into another bigger house 10 minutes walk away from our old house. So, not far at all. The only toughest part is to vacate the old house and have all our possessions moved into the new house. In the meantime, office has been relocated too. So, I'm trying to adjust to my current situation. I'm not gonna have problems writing here since I have months of backlogs to tide me thru.

Thank you so much for the concerns! I appreciate it. =)

Your family and you take care!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Look like you all had a fun time together..

Little Inbox said...

I was planning to do cookies, but then was keep on dragging. Argh...I'm too lazy and also, I need to control my weight.

crustabakes said...

The cookies look delicious! I think i will replicate your mistake on the coconut cream powder when i make these. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Cooking Gallery said...

Great looking cookies! I love how you wrapped them prettily into small plastic packagings :).

Su-yin said...

Oooh these look lovely. Great photos too!

Allie said...

It's always nice to meet up with the gals and chat over everything under the sun isn't it? I'm amazed you girls spent 8 hours together! You girls really have a lot to catch up on! Haha anyway, glad you all had fun :).

These coconut butter cookies look gorgeous and delicious! I'm not a fan of coconut at all but I'll be sure to try this recipe just because you raved so much about it! Haha :)

ICook4Fun said...

How nice you get to meet up so often. Wish I live nearer so I can join you ladies too :(

faithy, the baker said...

Lovely cookies! I do like the shot of all 3 of you together..that's priceless! :D

noobcook said...

wah ... 10 hours! I can imagine how infectious it is when food bloggers shop for food and props together :D and your photography is gorgeous!

Hearty Bakes said...

After reading the comments, i'm so looking forward to hear your laughter too :)
Love your cookies, look so uniform and full of love! ALl the laughter, fun, food and shopping *full of envy* When are you going to spread your laughter here?;)

The Pleasure Monger said...

Coconut butter biscuits are right up my alley, shall make these when I get the time!! I love to make coconut everything! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Folks, sorry for the VERY, VERY late replies ... Been busy with moving ... Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend!

@Sonia: Yup, we did! =)

@Little Inbox: HAHA! I'm sure you're also one of those skinny ones. You're being modest with your figure. HAHA! If you crave for cookies, bake them! Eat them! Most importantly, everything has to be kept in moderation. =)

@crustabakes: Thank you so much for the encouraging words! HAHA! I've been a bad person to learn from. LOL! Hope you'll like the cookies! =)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Folks, sorry for the VERY, VERY late replies ... Been busy with moving ... Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend!

@Cooking Gallery: Thank you for the encouraging words!

@Su-yin: Thank you!! =)

@Allie: Actually, we hung out under the roof instead of under the sun. LOL! Ten hours of sun tanning!!?? Wow! LOL! Can't wait to see your coconut butter cookies! (Though you ain't much of a coconut lover. HAHA!)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Folks, sorry for the VERY, VERY late replies ... Been busy with moving ... Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend!

@Gert: Oh, I'm SURE, VERY SURE the three of us will get to see you, especially when it'll be the first time for Wendy. ;)

@Faithy: Thank you! =D ... CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN PERSON! I'll make sure the timing is right when I'm down in Sg. again!

@Wiffy: Hey, thank you! I doubt anyone else can handle such a marathon like we did/do. HAHA! We're crazy! LOL!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Folks, sorry for the VERY, VERY late replies ... Been busy with moving ... Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend!

@Jessie: You wouldn't wanna hear my laughter! It'll have the roofs torn down! HAHA! I do hope to see you when I visit Sg. the next time! Stay in touch! No way I can travel down south so often! Tiring!

@Rachel: Hello! Oh, should you ever get to make these yummy cookies, lemme know!!! =) ... Growing up in Malaysia/Singapore, it's hard to not fall in love with coconut. HAHA!

Blessed Homemaker said...

I'm envious with all these gatherings, wish I have someone to bbsit my kids.

Your cookies look yummy!

Food For Tots said...

What a sweet treat for kid! I will definitely give it a shot. ;)

zmm said...

hey, you used those 'santan' powder in a packet instead and it's good?

I have this book too.. must try the recipe. :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Blessed Homemaker: Thank you!!! Wendy said we all gotta meet you up someday!!! Heard so much about you. ;)

@Lai Kwan: Hope you all will like the cookies!!

@zmm: Yea, all by mistake!! A happy mistake! I mistranslated the Chinese term. That was why ... The mistake was to use the santan powder that's sold in packets at supermarkets. Hope you'll like the cookies ... Wondering if you'll choose to use desiccated coconut instead, which should be it instead of santan powder ...

Food For Tots said...

Hi, I had tried this recipe. It turned out just like the Danish butter cookies I love. I had posted in my blog. Thanks for sharing!!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Pei Lin I tried this recipe finally, the cookies are yummy, thanks :).

S said...

Hi Pei-Lin, I decided to try out these cookies today after reading several good reviews about them.

However, the cookies turned out rather hard, and did not spread. They remained in ball-shapes, and also took much longer to bake than the stated time. My oven usually takes a longer time than stated in most recipes, though not as long as double of the original time. I baked the cookies on the middle rack of the oven.

I would really appreciate it if you could offer some advice. I am relatively new in baking, and therefore, inexperienced. Hope to learn from you :)

Pei-Lin said...

Hi, S. I apologize for the late reply; I've been busy here. Nice of you to drop by and say hi, too. =)

I think you might have overworked the cookie dough, because that's what that happened to my friend's first cookies (hers were chocolate-chip cookies). Overworking of the dough results in the development of the gluten in the flour.

Nah, I am just an amateur home baker, and am already happy enough with that. Well, everyone has their first time in everything, right? So don't worry. Be brave and experiment more and learn through trial and error and reading and watching others. I am sure you'll be a terrific baker someday, too!

With regards,

S said...

I'll take note of that the next time, hopefully will improve with practice. Thanks for your help!

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