Monday, February 14, 2011

my baking diary #17 osmanthus butter cookies, #18 chocolate shortbread and # 19 pistachio & almond cookies

over the weekend, i made 3 different bakes... all with heart-theme, so as to submit them to Aspiring Bakers #4 for February 2011!! Of course, as Valentine's Day is round the corner, these heart shaped bakes are also for my Dear... the rest will be shared with my colleagues, who are the 'guinea pigs' of my bakes! haha!!

#17 Butter Cookie (Basic Dough) with Osmanthus

As mentioned in my previous post, received a '1 Dough, 100 Cookies' receipe book from D during X'mas.. Been busy with CNY bakes so have yet to give it a try... I identified several which i wanted to try... but after trying 2 recipes, i wonder if i should continue... the dough were rather hard to handle, despite the chilling... or was it me?? 
This is the basic cookie dough... I got some osmanthus from e's joie sometime back, wanted to try the recipe for CNY... But i had too much to do, hence, i added the osmanthus to the basic recipe... I also had the intention to use this recipe to fulfil the cookie orders, find the dough to soft to handle.. I had to flour the surface and rolling pin quite a fair bit, and not forgetting the cookies cutters! 

I would prefer something easier to handle, considering i am going to bake the cookies in the evening after work.. so need something i can finish within the night and not having to sacrifice too much of my sleep :P

Other then making them into heart shaped with messages for Dear, i also used all the cookie cutters i bought, wanting to take nice nice pictures so i can use this take orders... but thought the colour of the cookies varies, and some prints were not obvious, so i gotta re-do this again another day... Can you spot the characters in this picture?

If you want to try the recipe, here you go...

Basic Cookie Dough (from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser)
225gms butter, soften
140g caster sugar*
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour

Dear's commented the cookies were a little too sweet, hence you might wanna reduce the sugar level...

For the basic cookie dough, there wasn't any steps indicated... after checking the whole book, the steps are rather similar, so i just followed one of them...

1. Preheat the oven to 190C*
2. Mix butter and sugar using a wooden spoon*, then beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract
3. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture and stir till combined
4. Halve the dough, shape int balls, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 - 60 mins*
5. Unwrap the dough and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parhment to about 3mm thick
6. Stamp out cookies with cutter and put them on baking sheets
7. Bake for 10 - 15 mins, until golden brown
8. Leave to cool on baking sheets before transfering to cool on the wire racks

*the batch with all the cute character cutters were baked in 190C... but i thought it was too high as the colour of the cookies turned out rather 'too golden'and not consistent (could be due to my oven too i guess), so i lowered it to 170C for the heart shaped cookies... i prefer the colour of these heart cookies :)
i did not notice earlier i was supposed to mix the butter and suagr using a wooden spoon, and used an electric mixer instead... wonder if i overmix it, hence, the soft dough... i did not halve the dough nor wrap it in cling wrap, just placed the whole bowl of dough into the fridge and chill it... after which, i halve them and while working on one half, the other remain in the fridge... i have to alternate working with both halves as after a while, it became too soft to handle... and stick to the baking paper alot when trying to roll them.. please note you have to flour the baking paper, rolling pin and cookie cutters generously! as i reduce the temperature to 170C for the heart cookies, it took me a longer time to bake, about 20 - 25 mins...

#18 Chocolate Shortbread

I had wanted to bake a raspberry buttermilk cake for v-day, but after seeing this post on Bake for happy kids, i was contemplating which i should do... if i were to go with the first, i had to get raspberry and buttermilk... if i were to do the chocolate shortbread, i had all the ingredients (except for the chocolate ganache) on hand... hence, i decided to go with the latter... and ta da... here's what i made!!

if you compared my bakes to Zoe's the most obvious different will be the colour... i wonder why... Zoe's was so pretty with a nice whitish colour, but mine turn out rather golden... could it be due to my oven temperature?

i cut a total of 8 hearts and 30 flowers, so i can make 4 hearts and about 15 piece of the flowers... but mum took one without asking me, so i am left with 14 and a half... she say it taste buttery... but i cant really comment how it taste coz i have yet to eat one.. i usually don't eat what i bake, till perhaps the next day or so... i will update with comments on the taste..

while i was spreading the shortbread with Nutella, my elder niece, yx, walk into the kitchen and asked me what i was doing and requested for a piece... i wanted to gave her that half piece, but she insisted that i have to sandwich it up with another half like what i did for the rest! mind you, she is only turning 3 next month! i got no choice but to accede to her request, so i am left with 13.5 pieces now...

Yx walked out to the living room, muching the little flower... wonder if it really taste nice or was it because of the Nutella, she finished everything up herself, refusing to give my dad a bite! my mum told me she seem to really enjoy it, so i set aside 2 pieces for her to bring to childcare tomorrow... but her 2 pieces was not topped with chocolate drizzle as she had just recovered from a bout of cough recently...

Here's the recipe from Bake for happy kids:

50g butter, at room temperature
25g Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g plain flour
20g almond meal
1 egg white

(i doubled up the recipe)

1. Line Baking tray with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170C
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light fluffy
3. Add flour and almond meal. Stir until combine.
4. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Refrigerate for 20 min or until firm.
5. Roll out dough to 5mm thickness and cut into shapes.
6. Brush shortbread with egg white and bake for 20 min or until light golden brown.
7. Allow to cool completely on tray.

Instead of sandwiching a chocolate ganache, i used Nutella instead :) but here's how Zoe made the chocolate ganache:

Thick chocolate ganache
50g dark chocolate
30ml double cream

1. Mix both chocolate and cream together and microwave them in low power until the chocolate melts
2 Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature and apply onto one side of the shortbread and sandwich another one on top of the ganache.
3. Place the sandwich shortbread on a wire rack or baking paper.
4. Using a microwave in low power, melt dark chocolate and drizzle on top of the sandwich shortbread. Allow chocolate to set. (I melt some Hershery's semi-sweet chocolate chips and use it for the drizzling and wordings instead)

#19 Pistachio and Almond Cookies

i thought i might have overmixed the butter and sugar in the earlier basic cookie, this time i used a wooden spoon instead... end result? the dough is still very soft to handle... i only managed to cut some with the heart shaped cutter, and the rest, i just scoop the dough, roll and flatten! 

this was not the very cookie i wanted to bake, but seeing i am rather short of time and since mum bought some pistachio for cny, all ingredients were available on hand... despite chilling them for more than 30 mins (and i think in total more than 60 mins!), the dough is still too soft to roll and cut into desired shapes... though the process in doing it was rather tough, glad the cookies, especially the heart shape ones turned out rather nice... a nice shade of golden brown... mum is usually the first taster of my bakes if Dear is not around... her comments? cookie is crunchy and crispy... the buttery smell is not as strong as the chocolate short bread (though i told her this recipe used more butter!)

as you can see from the second picture, the rounds one were the later batch, which i gave up trying to cut them into shapes... and i seem to have left them in the oven a tad too long, hence, the colour are slightly darker (but not burnt!)...

the instructions called for topping the pistachios after the dough is rolled, but after the first batch of heart cookies, i mixed in the remaining pistachios into the dough, hoping this will help to firm up the dough a bit, and hence for the round cookies you don't see the pistachio toppings...

Pistachio & Almond Cookies (from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser)

225gms butter, softened
140g caster sugar (i reduced this to 100gms this time round)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp almond extract
225gms plain flour
55gms ground almond
55gms pistachio nuts, finely chopped
salt (i omit this as the pistachio were already lightly salted)

(considering the short time i had, i halved the recipe)

1. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl amd mix well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg yolk and almond extract
2. Sift together the flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture, add the ground almonds and stir till thoroughly combined
3. Halve the dough, shape into balls, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 - 60 mins
4. Preheat the oven to 190C and line tray with baking sheets (note i lower temperature to 170C)
5. Unwrap the dough and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchments (i used plastic bags after the dough sticked too much to the baking paper! was rather easy when the dough is still cold but gave up after the first batch!) to about 3mm thick
6. Sprinkle half the pistachio nuts over each piece of dough and roll lightly with the rolling pin. Stamp out cookies with a cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets spaced well apart
7. Bake for 10 - 12 minuts (in my case was about 15 - 20 mins). Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5 - 10 mins, then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely

i am going to submit all 3 bakes to Aspiring Bakers #4 Love In The Air (Feb 2011) hosted by Ellena of Cusine Paradise... and its time to drift off to dreamland!

Happy baking everyone :) and Happy Valentine's Day! <3


  1. Wow so many cookie varieties! Mouth watering, great job! ;)

  2. wah really alot of varieties leh! you must had spend alot of time on them!

  3. erm, saturday late morning for the butter cookies... and sunday evening for the chocolate shortbread and pistachio & almond cookies... but feedback from colleagues are nice, so guess its worth the work :)

  4. wow.. must be alot of hard work.. but the end products looks great, especially the chocolate shortbread.

  5. the hard work paid off Chunky Cookie! my colleagues gave good reviews, esp the chocolate shortbread! so that's definitely a keeper! you should try it out!

  6. Wowow realli 1 dough 100 cookies... u are great :) Can i have some of the chocolate shortbread plssss :p

  7. that's so many nice and lovely bakes you have there! (:

  8. Wow! That's lots of bakes for one post! Very impressive.

    I'm happy that you like the shortbread recipe. For my bakes, I like to use the Danish butter. They are great in texture and the taste is remarkable. I remember seeing the brand Lurpark butter in Singapore. I reckon this one is one of the best brand you can find in the market. They are usually very white and creamy and very fluffy if they are well-beaten.

  9. Thanks Ellena! Despite the difficulties in handling the dough, I am still going to try the remaining 99 recipes! Hope i can do a couple more for Feb Aspiring Bakers!

    Thanks Jas! Your mango cheesecake looks yummy too! I am taking a break from cheesecake making coz my bro-in-law and bf complained i am making them put on weight with my cheesecakes! But i would wanna try baking cheesecake soon (the ones i hv done are all non-bakes ones...)

    Thanks Zoe! I will try the Lurpark butter in my next attempt and see if it turns out better!