Friday, 12 February 2010

A Box of Roses

I have been extra slow in baking cookies for this festive season. Partly because I  didn't have any intention to make any cookies, and partly I guess age is really catching up on me. I had to rest my stiff neck and shoulders for 2 days after spending one whole morning making pineapple tarts.  My eye-sight is also failing, my presbyopia is getting worst...it is getting  difficult and tiring to focus on objects up close. So I stopped baking and did some spring cleaning instead.


Early this morning, after spending 9 minutes on a 1-km jog around the estate (I know, I am extremely slow!), I felt all charged up and I found myself spending the rest of the morning baking two batches of butter cookies...rolled and piped ones.

I worked on the piped cookies first as I was feeling excited at the thought of piping cookies...this is something I have not done before. The recipe is straight forward and down right simple...requires minimum ingredients and the dough was done in no time. The only difficult part was piping them! I thought I could use my Wilton 2D decorating tip as it gives very impressive rosettes just like this one I did. To my dismay, the tip is not suitable for piping the cookies, the dough which pass through the gaps on the tip was just too thin. Fortunately I have another huge star tip, a Wilton 1C, this one worked quite well. Although I was able to pipe decent looking rosettes they are nothing close to what I had in mind. I can only blame my lack of skill. I am quite hopeless at piping...I do not know the  right technique to position the tip and I am totally clueless how to create a nice swirl?! I though it would be easier to pipe pretty swirls with a cookie dough since it is firm, but I was wrong :'(


These piped cookies are also commonly known as Melting Moments. As the name implies, they literally melts in your mouth. The dough is made by the creaming method, that is, creaming butter with icing sugar to give a soft and crumbly texture. Icing sugar is used instead of caster sugar to prevent the cookies from spreading. Although the finer the sugar granules, the more spreading they cause, icing sugar which contains cornstarch will actually help the cookies to hold their shape better. Corn flour is also used alongside plain flour  to create the tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

These delicate butter cookies are a great treat! I like the simple flavour...butter and vanilla. I am glad I did the right thing of stocking up blocks of Lurpark unsalted butter when it was on sale ;) The Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract lends the cookies a full and rich vanilla flavour. My only regrets, I should have added vanilla paste instead ^_^'




Melting Moments

Ingredients
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
40g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
175g plain flour
40g cornflour (cornstarch)

Method:
  1. With an electric mixer, cream butter and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds.
  2. Sift the flour and cornflour together over the butter mixture and mix until smooth.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped piping nozzle. Pipe into the required shapes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space the shapes well apart.
  4. Bake the cookies in preheated oven at 180degC for 12 minutes or until they are a pale golden colour. Leave for a few minutes on the baking tray to firm up slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool.
Recipe Source: The Cookie and Biscuit Bible

Note: To prevent the cookies from spreading and hold the shape better, after piping, chill the tray of unbaked cookies in the fridge for about 30mins before baking.

71 comments:

  1. Those are so pretty! I bet I have all the Ing. to make these too!

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  2. My mom has been wanting me to make these but I han't found a recipe yet, so this post is just PERFECT! Thanks!

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  3. Wow!! The cookies look so beautiful and yummy! I've tried making Viennese Swirls before ... But, the pattern didn't hold up well ... It sorta faded ... Yours are just amazing!

    Happy Lunar New Year! 在此恭祝您和家人虎年行大運!恭喜發財!!

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  4. Beautiful roses! You are an artist!
    These roses remind me of Valentine's Day. Valentine is near. Happy Valentine's Day !

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  5. Your roses look amazing! That's perfect for Valentine's Day. Do you celebrate it in Singapore?
    Hope your husband will be with you and the children
    lovely hug
    Martina

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  6. wow the cookies looks just wonderful

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  7. Gosh.. I hope my butter cookies still could make it in time.. I just finished my test.. so much preparation not done yet :(
    I love your cookies. They all look so precise. I never could pipe the same patterns consistently.. Must have taken lots of experience.
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year, HHB!

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  8. I did melting moments last year and it was great. But I created a big mess without a coupler and with my horrible piping skills. Yours look like roses really. Happy Tiger Year and enjoy the holidays! :)

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  9. Hi HHB,
    Your roses look very pretty indeed! For someone like you who did not attend any workshops or courses, you're truly very talented! I seriously don't think I dare to pipe at all without any courses! I did try this butter cookies, it's very good. I like the melt in the mouth feeling too!
    Happy lunar new year to you and your family, and happy valentine's day!

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  10. Hi
    may i know where do you buy the empty tins that you used for holding the cookies in the photo? cos i want to bake the cookies n put them in pretty tins to give as gifts. Happy CNY, HHB :)

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  11. They look so perfect and pretty! bet they melt in your mouth!

    I believe we should just live life to the max and enjoy what we can do now! at least we are doing things we love to do :) so dont be too bothered about all other things.

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  12. The edges of the cookies looks sharp and crisp. Crisp at the edges and melt in yur mouth. Yummy! Happy Lunar New Year HHB!

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  13. Hi Pei Lin, you can chill the dough before piping, or after piping you can also chill it before baking. This way the cookies will hold the shape better.

    Dear Martina, yes we do celebrate Valentine's Day here, and this year, Valentine's Day happens to coincide with the 1st day of Chinese New Year! I have wanted to bake these cookies for Chinese New Year, but I think they are more suitable for Valentine's Day ;) and yes, my husband is back home for the occasion :D

    Hi tracieMoo, this is the first time I piped cookies. I actually do not know how to go about piping, I simply 'draw' a の with the tip ;p

    SSB, I don't have a coupler either, I used a disposable piping bag instead.

    Thanks Jane, I am simply too lazy to attend courses ;)

    Hi Anonymous, I didn't buy the tins...my brother gave me boxes of chocolates and cookies from Japan and I kept the tins.

    Dear Missy, thanks for the encouraging words. I always have to constantly remind myself that life is short and I shouldn't bother myself with other things.

    Aimei, these really melt in the mouth, very buttery and 'phang'!

    Hi ...Noêmia!, thanks for visiting :)

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  14. You've piped out very nice cookies! Very lovely! Wishing you have a good time!

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  15. Hi HHB
    Lovely roses...and the color is uniform too. The box of treats will certainly delight the recipient.

    Happy New Year and Valentine's Day!

    : )

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  16. Hi HHB,

    Wish and your family A Happy and Prosperous Tiger Year. :)

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  17. These rose cookies look so perfectly baked!

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  18. Hi

    Do u pipe the rose inside then move outwards or the other way? Hope u can post some pictures next time. Happy New Year.

    kium

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  19. Hi Kium, I piped the rose starting from the centre and move outwards. I am sorry I am not always able to take photos of the baking process, as I won't be able to take photos and do the preparation at the same time, hope you understand my constraints.

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  20. Hi

    I understand. I think you have been very generous in sharing your excellence recipes with us. You are my idol, ha ha!!

    Regards,
    Kium

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  21. Oh, these are so pretty!
    Gong xi fa cai and Happy Valentine's Day!

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  22. I just came upon your blog, saw these and thought..'Now that's something I really want to try..they're beautiful!'. Granted, my piping skills leave a lot to be desired, but hey..if they melt in your mouth..that's all that matters! Thank you for posting these and you have a lovely blog here!

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  23. This looks good! I will be trying these. I just got a new piping instrument for christmas! It's gonna work great with this recipe!

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  24. Wow...these look so gorgeous like roses. Perfect name! I can imagine the lovely feel as it melts in the mouth....mmmm

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  25. hi i was just wondering if u can convert the ingredients into american forms...like in Cups, Tablespoons etc. LOL

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  26. Hi Anonymous, I am sorry I am not able to convert the ingredients from weight to cups measurement, however, you can visit this site (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cooking-conversions/cooking-conversions-calculator.aspx) to do the conversion. Hope this helps :)

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  27. omg this is fantastic :) I'm so excited to try making them! you always make everything look so pretty. I always have so much fun readying your blog.

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  28. looks so delicious & melt in mouth :)

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  29. firstly, i must say, WOW!!! your bakes are really yummy..hope I can bake as well as you do too...if not, half also can..haha

    I just got my conventional oven over from my parents place so now back to baking mode..but i am still a novice..

    anyway, just want to ask if this can be make into cookie? coz I think it will be more fun for my son to participate by cutting shapes from the dough. plus, i still haven't try out piping so probably will not do a good job too.

    my son always very curious when i mixing the ingredients but since he's only 3yo, it's hard for me to help out without making a mess. LOL

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  30. Hi This Chatty Mom, this is meant for piping as the dough is quite soft, so you can't use it as cut-out cookies. You may have to try other recipes. My son likes to help me with baking, and most of the time he creates a mess too!

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  31. Hi, your cookies looks great!!! Can I ask if I don't have the piping equipment, can I just use cookie cutter? Would the shape stay?

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  32. Dina, you can't use cookie cutter for these cookies as the dough is too soft for cutting out.

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  33. Hi HHB, thanks for your reply! You were saying on your blogpost that cookies are not so healthy for kids, any idea how to make it more healthy? Cos my son loves my butter cookies! (& I thot its healthier than thoise Jacob biscuits cos less sugar & no preservatives) Would wholemeal flour helps?

    Also want to ask u as I am a novice in baking! Your bakes looks lovely! Am trying to do a mashmallow cake for my son's party. The staff told me that the whipped cream once open can only be kept for 3-7days. So in this case I can only try to make the cake next tues when the party is on Fri. Am afraid the cake will fail me.. :(

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  34. Dina, it is very difficult to strike a balance when it comes to baked goods such as cookies and cakes. I am trying to make cookies 'healthier' by using wholemeal flour, oats and nuts (in place of chocolate chips). I also use recipes that calls for less fat (butter) and sugar. I am sure there are many healthier recipes out there, you just need to spend some time searching for ones that suit you best. So far I have made wholemeal cookies and oatmeal cookies which I have posted in this blog, if you are interested you can take a look.

    Yes, whipping cream needs to be used up asap. However, if you are using non-dairy cream, what you can do is, store it in clean glass bottles, eg jam jars (I measure out 1 cup per bottle) and keep them in the freezer compartment. Thaw it before use in the fridge. However, this doesn't work for Dairy cream. Hope this helps.

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  35. Hi HHB, thks for your reply! I am using diary whipping cream,I will try on Mon if it fails then will get a cake form the store! hee.. Want to ask you for mashmallow cake if I don't have a cake ring, can I use a cake pan? Will it be difficult to unmould? Will the cake be disfigure?

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  36. Dina, it will be very difficult to unmold using a normal cake pan. What you can do is improvise it, refer to baking tips no. 3 from this site: (http://www.kraft.com.au/CookingSchool/CookingBasics/Baking+Know+How/BakingSecrets.htm). That is, line your cake pan with foil before using, then you can use it to lift up the cake when it is done.

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  37. HHb, wow, thanks for the tip & your fast reply! Hope I can bake like you someday! hee

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  38. Hi HBB, sorry to trouble u again. I did the strawberry mashmallow cake & it was quite horrid looking, taste nice though...

    I think I didn't freeze the mashmallow well enough & the jello seeped thru it. I also use your tip of using the aluminium foil inside the cake pan to lift up the cake, however as I m using a round cake pan, the crease of the foil created a "mo peng" texture on the side of the mashmallow, any idea to beautify it?

    And also the mashmallow feels very wobbly like a jelly, is the texture like that? Am not sure what I did wrong... thanks so much!

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  39. Dina, I think your marshmallow layer was not well set. The cake should be soft and yet firm, not wobbly at all. You can leave it to chill longer before serving.

    As for the alum foil, I used this method (using a round normal pan too) before I got a pan with removable base. See my earlier post under "Strawberry Jellyhearts" and "Oreo Cheesecake". From the photos, you will notice that the sides are a little 'crumbled', but I thought it was still acceptable. If you want neater sides, you can run a palette knife (place in hot water so that it can melt the marshmallow layer a bit) around the sides to smooth out the surface, then let the cake chill again before serving. Otherwise get a pan with removable base, it is much cheaper than a springform, I got mine from Phoon Huat, 18cm for around $5 plus, you can use it for baking, just like a normal pan.
    Hope this helps :)

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  40. Hi there. I just tried these and OMG!!!! they are awesome. I could not get such pretty swirls so I just made flattened balls out of them. They literally melt in the mouth.

    Preethi

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  41. Hi, Happy new year to u. I am so glad when I found this cookies recipes. U really have all the answers to my problem. I tried making the cookies before & I simply dont know how to keep the shape of the cookies. Though the taste is nice but the looks are really bad. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try out your recipe later.

    Jesley

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  42. Hey HHB :D
    i simply love the look of your cookies! i tried the recipe, i dont have a star tip, (and i dont know how to use piping bags anyway) so i settled for a flat rectangular shaped cookie. however, mine crumbled very very easily. i tried leaving the 2nd batch in the oven slightly longer after it baked, but it didnt help. so i thought it might be something to do with the batter? could you help?
    Thank you! :D
    Denise

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  43. Hi Denise, this recipe will yield crumbly, melt in the mouth cookies...the batter is soft to allow piping. Maybe you can look for other recipes if you are looking for more crunchy cookies?

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  44. Hmm.. but they dont stay in shape, they crumble upon pick up. It that correct?
    Denise..

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  45. hi Denise, no it shouldnt crumble upon picking up...should crumble in the mouth instead. not sure whether it is the creaming of the butter? Are you a local? Could it be the butter was soften too much (under our hot weather) until upon beating, the batter looks greasy, mayonnaise-like? The butter and sugar mixture should appear pale (very light yellow) and fluffy, not dense and mayonnaise-like, hope u know what I mean?

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    Replies
    1. Hi mine crumble upon scooping up too>< and i am trying to find out the prob :(

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  46. These look and sound truly amazing!!!

    Ashley DeMazza
    Falls Village, CT

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  47. Hi hhb

    Loves Ur blog! Am going to make this next Wk. Can u take a pic of Ur piping bag nozzle? Will go and buy as this is my first time trying piping :) send to my email if u r ok . Siyuntan@hotmail.com

    Thks Alot!

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  48. Hi Siyun, I used Wilton 1C, u can ask the baking supply shop staff, they should know. You can refer to a pic of it here:
    http://www.cater4you.co.uk/acatalog/piping-tip-flower-1C-l.jpg

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  49. Hi HHB

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!! Love visiting your blog!!

    Can I use cake flour instead of plain flour for this recipe (melting moments)?

    Rgds
    JLB

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  50. JLB, yes, u can use cake flour, happy baking!

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  51. I just did these cookies! My son, who is very picky, loved them. Easy to do, especially if you have the right tools. I have tons of tips for icing, but none could be used for this dough. I found a large one but the syringe that I had to use for the tip was too flimsy, and I could not push the piston. Luckily I remembered my cookie press. I was reluctant using it as it is quite quirky, but it worked! I could not do roses, but I ended up with some daisies that were not as beautiful, but still looked good. Thank you for the recipe!
    Greetings from Toronto!

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  52. I forgot to mention that I respected the recipe, using an electronic scale. My batter was not so soft. I did not use the refrigerator at all.
    On the contrary, it was dense enough I could not use any of my larger tips...As I said it only worked with a cookie press.
    What I did special was that apart from the Vanilla extract, I scraped 2" of vanilla bean into the butter, for a better flavor...
    My oven is on the hot side, so I took them out after 8 min. It is true that my flowers were less high than the beautiful roses.
    I love your blog!

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  53. Hi Sabrina, glad to hear that your cookies turn out well, I am sure your daisies are pretty :):) and thanks for reading my blog!

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  54. Hi HHB, i tried this recipe twice and for both times, the cookies turn out really nice and buttery. However, the thing was i wasn't able to pipe out like urs as my mixture was very 'doughy'. Both times I had to resort to using the 'drop' method (using a spoon to take the mixture and drop it on the baking tray). Any idea why my mixture turned out that way?

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  55. Hi, was the batter too dry? Not sure what happened...did you beat the butter and sugar until it turns pale and fluffy? and after adding the flour mixture, did you mix till the batter is smooth? or did the batter became a lump like those cut-out cookie doughs? actually the batter is almost like drop cookies, soft and spoonable. could it be the piping tip? sorry for all the questions, hope I didnt confuse you...

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  56. sorry im just wondering any one here using convection oven ? cos my things the bottom always burnt when top not even cooked/ brown

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  57. First time visiting your blog and I am loving it. Thank you for the beautiful photos and great recipes. I intend to try a few of them and so I've "bookmarked" your blog.
    Today I am making your almond cake which is baking deliciously in the oven right now. I found it easy to make. Thanks for the tip about the aluminium foil.
    Christine

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  58. hi HHB
    Mine was mayonise-like when i mixed the butter and sugar together and when i mix in the flour i oculdnt get a smooth mixture. Any idea how to remedy this problem? it ended up crumbly but surprisingly good still!! :D

    -val

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  59. hi val, not sure what went wrong, the finished batter should be smooth...the butter could have melted too much if it became mayo like.

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  60. can i add some jam in the middle before baking? to add a bit more flavor?
    P.S.
    Love the texture of the cookies!

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  61. Hi Ana, I am sure you can add jam on top, but I am not sure whether you should add it before or after baking though...

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  62. hi how abt adding those cherry? its should be before baking too?

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  63. Hi rainbowzstarz, I am not sure what kind of cherry you are referring to?

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  64. hi,
    I tried to bake this.
    the biscuits melt in my mouth!
    though I have a hard time squeezing the piping. so the shape turned out to be awful
    but taste is there!

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  65. Hi!

    I've made these cookies three times, changed the sugars and how I cream everything together... and they all still melt together looking like a giant blob. They look great when I pipe them! They just turn into a blob if i cook it longer than 3 minutes. I'm not sure what I did wrong :( I am determined to get these right! Any help provided would be amazing! My dough was more like sticky clay, held shape well and smelled amazing! The blobs tasted wonderful! I just don't know how to keep them in the rose shape!

    -Sam

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  66. Hi Sam, there are a few possible causes for your cookies to melt and spread upon baking.:
    1) your oven is too hot, do use an oven thermometer to check that the temp is accurate;
    2) are you using those dark, non stick baking tray? if yes, these conduct heat much faster and could melt the dough too quickly
    3) the butter should be room temperature but not left to soften until it melts. when creaming the butter and sugar, the mixture should turn pale and fluffy. the mixture should not appear greasy, glossy like mayonnaise.
    If you have done the above correctly, then one possible way to get around is, after piping the cookie doughs onto the baking tray, you can leave it (together with the baking tray) to chill in the fridge for about 15-30mins before baking so that the dough will not melt and spread too fast during baking. Do monitor the baking time as it may take slightly longer to bake after the dough is chilled. Hope this helps and wish you success in your next attempt :)

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  67. Hi,
    I'm thinking about making it in Red Velvet version because red roses look even better hehehe
    Can you give me some suggestions about how to create a red velvet version of melting moments?
    Every recipe in you blog is so good they won't be overly sweet! Love your recipes so much!

    -wen

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    Replies
    1. May be you can try add some food colouring?

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