Monday, 16 January 2012

Set the ball rolling

It is the time of the year again when I will go on a cookie baking frenzy!


I kicked start my Chinese New Year cookie baking marathon with a batch of green tea snowballs. Upon my cyberfriend, VB's recommendation (see her lovely creation here), I first attempted to make these snowball cookies following the recipe from Daily Delicious, one of my favourite food bloggers.

Before I actually made them, I causally mentioned it to my cake friend that I am planning to make some snowballs...just the name itself got her interested. I didn't even show her the link to the recipe, as my intention was to share baking tips with her only after I have tested it out. Yet she was inspired enough to google for the recipe ;)  She came back to inform me that she has found two similar recipes, one from Daily Delicious (who can miss her gorgeous Little Balls of Happiness?!) and one posted by Wendy of My Buttery Fingers. The main difference between the two recipes is, one uses egg white while the other doesn't. My cake friend decided to try out Wendy's recipe, just like me, she doesn't know what to do with a left over egg yolk. It was great news to me, as I could hear her reviews before deciding which recipe to go for. I suggested to her that may be she could add a pinch of baking powder since Wendy mentioned that her cookies flattened a little upon baking. Well, it seems that the baking powder didn't make much of a difference after all...


My attempt with Daily Delicious green tea snowballs was not an instant success. No, there is nothing wrong with the recipe, the only thing I did wrong was that I didn't keep a close watch over the cookies while they were baking in the oven. It turns out that my oven was too hot (I used the fan mode), and the cookies were overly browned even before the baking time was up :'(

I have actually planned to bake them for my friends, luckily it was a test batch!

So, back to the drawing board again...I struggled between going back to the same recipe and the one from My Buttery Fingers. In the end, I decided to try out Wendy's recipe as I don't want to have any left over egg yolk again. With the experience from the first batch of snowballs, I was diligent enough to keep a close guard while the cookies were baking...no more over browning, yeah!


Taste wise, both cookies are almost similar, but since more green tea powder is used in Wendy's recipe, the green tea fragrant is more prominent. The fragrance from the almond powder is another bonus! The chocolate version tastes good too, the extra icing sugar makes them less bitter since I used unsweetened cocoa powder. As for the texture, both doesn't melt in the mouth...rather they are in between crunchy and melt in the mouth. The cookies made with Wendy's recipe are softer, probably because there is no egg white used. If you were to ask me, both are good recipes, but I would stick to Wendy's recipe simply because it calls for less ingredients.


Besides the snowballs cookies, I have also made marbled Melt-in-the mouth German Cookies for my friends...whom I've known for the past 15~19 years.

My cookies were all packed inside these lovely milk cartoon gift boxes which I happened to chance upon them at a neighbourhood gift shop...


Of course, the cookies I made have a very short shelf life...but I believe our friendship does not come with an expiry date. I do hope my friends will like the cookies as much as I enjoy making them, for them :)




Green Tea and Chocolate Snowballs
(抹茶,可可雪球)


Ingredients:
(makes 35)

90g Unsalted butter, cut into cubes, soften at room temperature
a pinch of salt
30g icing sugar
50g ground almonds (almond powder)
100g cake flour
6g green tea/matcha powder
10g cocoa powder (I used unsweetened, Ghirardelli)

extra icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

  1. Toast almond powder at 100 degC for 10 mins. Stirring in between. Let cool completely before using.
  2. Place butter, salt in a mixing bowl. Sift over the icing sugar (do not skip this step, this is to remove any lumps in the icing sugar). With a manual whisk or a wooden spoon (or an electric whisk), beat the butter, salt and icing sugar till the mixture turns pale.
  3. Add almond powder, whisk to combine.
  4. Sift over the cake flour. With a spatula, fold the mixture until just combined.
  5. Divide the dough into two portions (about 125g per portion). Mix green tea powder into one portion, and cocoa powder into the other portion. (Note the dough will be quite soft and sticky.)
  6. Wrap the two doughs separately with cling wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. (Note: if left to chill for a longer time, the dough will turn hard. Leave it at room temperature for about 5~10mins to soften before working on it.)
  7. Working with one portion of the dough at a time, measure 8g of dough and shape into balls. Place shaped doughs evenly spaced on baking tray lined with parchment paper, avoid the edges  of the tray as they tend to brown too quickly. These cookies do not expand much upon baking. (Note: the dough soften easily especially in warm and humid weather, so work as quickly as possible. If there is space available, leave the tray of shaped balls to chill in the fridge before proceeding with the other portion. This is to help prevent the shaped doughs from flattening too much upon baking.)
  8. Repeat the same with the second portion of the dough.
  9. Bake in preheated oven at 170degC for about 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. (Note: all ovens behave differently, do keep a close watch near 15mins of baking time to prevent the cookies from over browning. Turn the tray around half way, when necessary. If your oven only allows baking one tray at a time, leave the other tray of shaped doughs in the fridge, or only start working with the second portion while the first tray is baking in the oven. This is to help prevent the shaped doughs from flattening too much upon baking.)
  10. Remove from oven. Let cool for a couple of minutes in the tray before transferring to a cooling rack. While the cookies are still warm, dust them with icing sugar. When thoroughly cool, dust again with icing sugar. (alternatively, leave the cookies to cool completely, coat the surface with icing sugar.) Store in air tight container.
Recipe Source: My Buttery Fingers

11 comments:

  1. I going to bake German cookies today for my 1st time.hehehe.the packing is very nice, i bet your friends will be happy to receive this lovely gift from you.

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  2. the little boxes are so cute...your friends will definitely very happy when they receive these....

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  3. these boxes r very special and pretty indeed! unlike those common plastic jars that most pple use to store the cookies...
    octopusmum

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  4. Friendship is forever HHB. Happy CNY in advance.

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  5. These are sooo cute and delicious! The boxes are super adorable too!

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  6. Always the perfectionist. How I wish we are neighbours, then you can let me eat your baking experiments..

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  7. Great recipe and this looks like the Asian version to the Mexican cookie.

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  8. They're adorable! great job!

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  9. OMG, the carton boxes are so cute! I envy the recipents of these cookies!

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  10. So cute! I'm definitely trying out this recipe of yours!

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