Monday, 30 March 2009

Wholesome Bites

A couple of weekends ago I was at Ikea...one of my favourite shopping places, I spotted a set of lovely animal-shaped cookie cutters. It was love-at-first-sight. Thank goodness the price is very reasonable and I didn't feel guilty having to add them to my collection of cookie cutters.

If you happen to read my previous post on Chocolate Chips drop Cookies, you would have known the reason why the list under 'My Cookie Jar' category at the side bar will be getting longer and longer ;) Yet, I find it a challenging task to look for cookie recipes that would promise snacks that are wholesome, nutritious and at the same time taste as delicious as they look. Fortunately, I have cultivated a good habit of keeping recipes...anything that looks good, low fat and requires less sugar will get to find a place either in my recipe folders or my notebooks. I know, I will get to try out the recipes some day.


I managed to dig out this Wholemeal Cookies recipe from my stack of recipes and after a quick run through of the instructions, I though it would be very suitable to use my newly acquired set of cutters for these Rolled cookies.

For rolled cookies, the cookie dough MUST have the right consistency. If the dough is too dry, it will crack and crumble easily...if it is too wet, the dough will be too sticky, making it really difficult to roll and cut out the cookies, and it will spread too much during baking. It was only after adding in the flour mixture that I realised this recipe produced very very wet and sticky dough. I was quite certain that I had measured the ingredients correctly and followed the steps very closely. I followed the instructions to gather the mixture to form a dough, placed it in a plastic bag and left it to chill in the fridge. While the dough was getting firmed up, I took the time to look for ways to overcome the problems that I was very sure I gonna faced.

I was lucky to be able to find all the solutions from one of my cookie bibles. To prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, it is best to roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or clear plastic sheets (cut outs from plastic bags). This is something I have been practising for quite sometime already especially when making pastries for tarts. The next tip is something new though. After rolling, slide the dough (do not remove the parchment papers or plastic sheets) onto a baking tray and leave it to chill in the fridge again for another 15 ~ 30 mins or so. When the dough is firm enough, it will be much easier to stamp out the cookies.

I have also learned that there is one extra step after stamping out the cookies, ie to chill the cut out doughs again for at least 30 mins before baking. This helps to retain their shape and prevent the cookies from spreading too much especially if it is a wet dough.


Well, I followed the above tips and it took me a lot more time than I had expected. I find it quite troublesome having to chill the dough in between rolling and cutting out. Even after chilling, the dough started to soften and got sticky again before I could finish stamping out one tray. It was a nightmare trying to transfer the soft and fragile cut-out dough to the baking tray. The bigger cutters gave me more headache than the the smaller one. Nevertheless, it was a good learning experience, and having gone through the hassles of making them, the finished cookies didn't disappoint me. They were so GOOD, very crispy and crunchy! I really like the nutty texture thanks to the wholemeal flour. These cookies are certainly worth the extra efforts! My younger boy loves this healthy snack to bits (literally!), he would pick up every single cookie crumbs from the table and put it into his mouth. The cookies were so well received that they were all gone within 3 days. I will certainly be making these wholesome bites again and again...but the next time, I would probably just roll them into small discs instead of sweating it out with the cookie cutters ;)


Wholemeal Cookies

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened at room temperature
80g caster sugar
1 egg (about 60g with shell), lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
150g wholemeal flour


Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180degC. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. With a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream butter and caster sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture turns pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg gradually. Mix well after each addition. Add in vanilla extract, mix well.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture, add the wholemeal flour. Fold in with a spatula. Mix and gather to form a soft dough. Lightly knead the dough for a few seconds until smooth. (Do not overwork the dough or the butter will start to melt and the gluten will develop giving the cookies a tough texture.)
  5. Shape the dough into a ball then flatten slightly into a round disc. (This will make it easier to roll out.) Wrap in cling wrap or a place it in a plastic bag (to prevent the dough from drying out) and leave in the fridge for about 30 mins or until firm. (If the dough is left in the fridge for too long, it will harden, if this happens, leave it in room temperature for a few mins until it is soft enough to roll out.)
  6. Between two sheets of plastic sheets or parchment paper, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5mm. After rolling, leave the plastic sheets/parchment paper in place and slide the roll out dough into a baking tray and leave in the fridge for about 10-15mins or until firm. (As this dough is rather sticky even after rolling out, by chilling the dough it will be easier to stamp out the cookies.)
  7. Dip cookie cutters into some flour and stamp out cookies. Transfer cut-out cookies to the prepared baking trays, leave a space of about 1" in between each one. Gather up the scrape and re-roll to make more cookies (repeat step 6 if necessary). Chill the cut-out cookies for at least 30 mins before baking. (This helps to retain their shape.)
  8. Bake for about 15-20 mins until the cookies turn pale golden brown. Rotate the baking tray halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave on the baking tray for 2 ~ 3mins (to allow the cookies to firm up a little) before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe source: 好想为你亲手做出美味的甜点! 检见崎聡美著

40 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipes. I love it and i bet my little girl will love it too. Shall try it out this weekend :))

    Mico

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  2. Your cookies are so lovely! :)

    My little one does the same thing, pick up the crumbs from the table and eat it slowly, enjoying every bit and bites! :D

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  3. WOW! Another very tempting recipe. Although you sound like quite troublesome to chill again and again but still make me feel want to try it. Those lovely cutters really make the cookies extra fun. Hopefully can try this by tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hi HHB,

    The cookies were lovely. The kids can help to outline the cookie with icing and add some colour to the cookies. Thanks for sharing the tips on handling soft and sticky dough. I have the same problem and find it difficult to handle the dough, especially in our hot and humid weather. With your tips, I hope I can manage the dough better next time. Thank you!
    (fr another SAHM)

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  5. Hi HHB, these cookies are so cute!!!! I love the snail, the deer and aiyo.. i love them all..... wonder if they still have the cooKies cutter at Ikea.. :(

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  6. it was an instict for me to do roll in between plastic sheets. because whatever i do, it sticks in my rolling pin. good to know i am not alone in that problem hehehe
    thanks for all the tips
    :)

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  7. I am in LOVe with those cookies cutters....wish we had Ikea in SOuth Africa.

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  8. Hi HHB,
    lovely cookies! I have been very blessed by all your posts. Think it's time to say thank you to you for all the effort put in. You make it so comprehensive and fun to read. Thank you so much!

    sharon

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  9. Hi Mico, I hope you will like the cookies :) Happy Baking!

    Hi MH, oh really?! Kids never fail to amaze me ;)

    Hi Grace, I am quite sure you will like these, have fun :)

    Hi another SAHM, I have never tried decorating cookies with icing. Guess it will be fun but I will reserve it for special occasions, for the time being, they can live without the extra sugar ;p

    Hi Ellena, I hope you can get them! You can use these cookies to cut out bread and cheese slices for your bento. I'm sure your boy will like them :)

    Hi little cooker girl, not only it prevents sticking, it makes cleaning up much easier!

    Hi Vashit, thanks for dropping by :) I do hope you can get similar ones at your place.

    Hi Sharon, thank you so much for your lovely comments, I wish I could write better and post better photos to thank all my readers.

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  10. they look so perfect and lovely!!! must be very yummy too.. would love to try these one day but i dont have animal cutters :)

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  11. Hello,


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  12. HHB, thanks for providing so many wonderful recipes on your blog. love to pop by every now and then.

    i'm looking for a good macaroons recipe.. did you try any so far.. the last (my first) one not successful.. dunno if anyone here can help..

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  13. Hey HHB. These look wonderful- I love the dino- and they kept their shapes really well! My cookies always lose their shape a little while baking despite using the same tips you share. Perhaps I need to up the amount of flour a little. Any thoughts?

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  14. Hi HHB,
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful cookie recipe. My 21 yrs old kid has asked me to get the animal cookie cutters and make some for her :P See how it appeals not only to young kids but to old kids too :P

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  15. hi, I would like to invite you to my blog. But I need your email add. If you are not comfortable to reveal, its ok, I will just continue to 'talk' here ok? :) Thank you for all the lovely recipes and your help. I love to read your blog.

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  16. Hi HHB,
    Thanks again for the great recipe! I tried it this morning and love the texture very much. I don't have any cutters so I simply cut it in square shape. The process was a bit troublesome but worthwhile. Cheers!

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  17. Hi FAD MOM, thanks for reading my blog :D I have not tried making macaroons but there are many bloggers who have done it. You may want to check out this blogger (http://tartelette.blogspot.com/) her macaroons are the best I have seen!

    Hi thecoffeesnob, do you usually grease or line your baking tray? It is better to use parchment paper, if there's too much grease on the tray, the cookies will tend to spread. You can use cake flour instead of plain flour, as cake flour has more mositure and will help the cookies to puff up more. The other thing is the butter, it should not be left to soften until it starts to melt (soft and glossy appearance).

    Hi Elin, the cookie cutters also appeals to me who is double your daughter's age, lolz!

    Hi thinkingmama, thanks for the invite, maybe you want to give me your email address, and I will drop you an email? I will not publish your email address in the comments list.

    Hi Grace, glad to hear that you like the texture of the cookies, they taste like cookies made with desiccated coconuts ;)

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  18. Sorry the dough was a little finnicky on you. But, the cookies look great!! I love IKEA, too, and these cookie cutters are just fabulous!

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  19. Hi, your cookies look really nice. Would you be able to advise for home-made cookies, how long can we keep them before they will turn bad?

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  20. Hi Chris, you can store cookies in good air-tight containers and they can last up to 1 to 2 weeks. Use a suitable size container for your cookies and pack it to the brim. Try to avoid using a big container for a small amount of cookies, if there is more air inside the container, the cookies will loose their crisp faster.

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  21. Thanks for your advice. Oops, i ever make some and i still let my kids eat them after 2 months as i thought they looked ok as i am not sure how long I can keep them. Which section of Ikea did you find the cookie cutters? U bot them recently?

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  22. Oh..you're absolutely right! They really taste like cookies made with desiccated coconuts, fabulous! Give you five start *****

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  23. Hi Happy Home Baker,

    I love to admire the photos of your delicious. You have a good photo shot and it really capture the soul of the food. Keep up.

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  24. I want to try this...lovely! Love your blog so much and I really learn a lot here :P

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  25. Hi Chris, I bought the cutters about 3 weeks ago, you can look for them at the kitchen accessories section...alongside those pots and pans (the outlet at Tampines). I hope you can get hold of them.

    Hi Grace, thanks for the 5 stars!

    Thanks Happy Flour, will try my best to improve my photos :)

    Hi TinTin, I am glad to hear that you have pick up some tips here :)

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  26. wow you are amazing!! (: i am so inspired by your creativity.. look forward to more yummy food from you!

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  27. hmm .. more to add to my to do list .. using wholemeal is indeed healthy .. and the trouble cut out cookies give .. sometimes really frustrate me too.

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  28. Hihi,

    Happen to come across your blog and i must say that your blog is really informative! Thanks for sharing the recipes!!

    Btw, im an inspiring baker and am going to purchase my first oven soon.. May i know wat oven(brand n model) are you using? Could you kindly give me some advise on what to take note when purchasing an oven? Thanks!

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  29. Hi Anonymous, I am using a small tabletop oven (Tefal) which is only 20L, and could only fit in one tray no bigger than 12" by 9". I am afraid I won't be able to give any advise on what type of oven to buy, as it really depends on your budget, the space available in your kitchen, how do you intend to use your oven, etc. You can check around the various electrical departmental store...and probably the sales staff can give you some advise.

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  30. Hi HHB

    I went to Ikea to buy the same set of cookie cutters on the day after I saw your post. Made the cookies last weekend and they are so lovely! The tips are really useful. Thanks!

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  31. Hi Peg, glad to hear that you have fun baking cookies with the cutters :)

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  32. Hi! I was wondering if caster sugar could be substituted with another kind of sugar, I can't find it anywhere in grocery stores. =(

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  33. Hi Anonymous, I am not sure about replacing the caster sugar. Maybe you can try use the finest granulated sugar which you can get hold of.

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  34. Hi,

    I thought of replacing the wholemeal flour to oatmeal (grinding into powder). Do you think its possible ?

    Thought of experimenting that but would like to listen to your comment.

    Ling

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  35. Hi Ling, I have not much experiement baking with oatmeal, I am not sure how the texture/taste will turn out. Sorry, I am not of much help here.

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  36. Hi HHB

    May i know if i am able to replace the wholemeal flour to normal plain flour? is the quantity(in term of gram )still remain the same?

    Thank!

    jaslyn

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  37. Hi Jaslyn, please do not replace it with normal plain flour as the texture will be different, and you will probably need more plain flour, the amount will be different.

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  38. Hi

    Alright! Thx!!

    Do u have any recipe for crispy cookies?
    Cos recently I am trying to find crispy cookies recipe as my mum love that

    Jas

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  39. Hi, thanks for the wonderful recipe! Would you know if i can replace the wholemeal flour with baby oatmeal cereal and achieve the same texture/taste?

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  40. Hi, I don't think it is advisable to replace it with baby oatmeal as the texture will be affected and you probably won't be able to cut out the dough with cookie cutter.

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