Friday, January 27, 2012

Bitter King

This herb has the most beautiful and gentle looking, tiniest flowers that are white and striped. It has standing seed pods. My grandmother kept them in her garden, drying them to make tea, the most bitter and icky tea ever. It tastes horrible but it's exceedingly good and nutritious.

Here is some info about it:
http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/isabells_blog/isabells-articles/king-of-bitters.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrographis_paniculata










I recently learned the best way to use it. I went to the Chinese medicine shop and bought a small bagful of empty gelatin pill cases, then I blended the dried herbs, making about a hundred encapsulated pills of King Bitter. It's a good way to eat it - hide it in a gelatin cover. Otherwise it would be plain intolerable. It's easy to make your own pills.

I don't necessarily believe in medicine or pills, but I do believe Creation is essentially good, and bitter herbs included.

Bread and Soup

Gravy and toast cannot rival bread and soup! Today, we did many things. We had friends over so they each measured and kneaded two loaves of Country Seed Bread (tutorial and recipe here)

We made Magical Unicorn Bread from the same recipe, only without any seeds. 


Isn't it beautiful! It's a baby unicorn. It's horn is not long yet. It's short and plump and adorable, slathered with chocolate and peanut cream. It's soft, and partly wholemeal which makes it healthy. The Country Seed Bread is good without seeds too, with a delicious crispy crust and soft insides. We made 2 loaves, 2 braided loaves, a round of buns for Sunday, and the Magical Unicorn Bread.

I did not think that I would be baking so soon after Chinese New Year, but hey, we need bread. And it's good to make bread.

We also had warm soup, from a can of Campbell's Mushroom Chicken soup. A little chicken fat fried with pepper, chilli flakes, onions, dill and other Italian herbs, make it richer and tastier. Warm and hearty soup is very good served with fresh bread for dinner.

Today I also made lemongrass/screwpine tea bags. I got the tea bags from Daiso, and dried and blended herbs from the garden. Lemongrass/screwpine is extremely good and healthy, and the tea bag can make many cups. 

This morning, I also fried half a batch of quick English Muffins, adapted from allrecipes.com 

English Muffins 
  • 1/2 cup milk/buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups ground wholewheat flour (atta)
  •   1/2 teaspoon sea salt
 1) Warm the milk (but if buttermilk, do not warm), and stir in the sugar. 
2) In a mug, warm the water slightly and stir in the yeast
3) Mix the sea salt and  flour, then pour in the oil, milk, and water mixtures. 
4) Knead the dough and let it rise for an hour
5) Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into flattish rounds. Do not squeeze the air out of the dough. 
6) Let the rounds of dough rise for half and hour, and fry over low heat about 10 minutes on each side until well browned. Keep the dough light and airy. 


2 Corinthians 1:3-7
3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation."

1) God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort 
2) God comforts us in our suffering, so that we can comfort others who are suffering
3) When we suffer together with Christ, we can be assured that we shall also be comforted
4) When we suffer, others can be comforted
  





Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winning Smoothie Combinations


Yummy, sweet fruit smoothies are great and full of antioxidants.

Today we had frozen blueberries, frozen bananas, cinnamon, and mixed spice. It turned out really juicy with water and coconut oil. It was a berry shade of purple.

Guava and mandarin oranges (easy to get this season), plus yogurt and water and cinnamon and mixed spice, were really fantastic too, but less sweet than the first smoothie. This was lunch.



For some really fantastic, vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, or soy-free recipes, check out the Healthy Blender Recipes. There's soooo much scope for creativity. The recipes sound and look spectacular, the photography is professional, and the sky's the limit.Click on the picture to visit this very informative site. This month, they are hosting a Vitamix giveaway!



Butter Herb Potatoes

Potatoes are one of my favorite foods. I used to love Macdonald's fries, but I believe home-cooked fresh-herb, crispy potatoes are even more delicious and treasured.

Firstly, gathered herbs from your garden. Now I like paprika and dried chilli, as well as thyme and oregano from the pantry, but you must have fresh dill and rosemary or something like that. Black pepper and sea salt are also essential seasonings.  You can use herb butter too.


These potatoes are gorgeous! Splendid! Perfect, and the price was perfect too. 

Mummy and Daddy got me this fantastic GreenPan for Christmas. It is real heavy-weight and of fine quality. It will last a long time and is a real investment. . The grey nonstick coating is really good, and when it wears off it will function as a cast iron pan. I'm saving gas when I use it, because it heats up so fast and is really good for frying.

The seasoned potatoes are as such. 





You can fry them with onions/garlic/shallots in olive oil/vegetable oil/chicken fat/butter depending on what you are eating it with. Fry it in smaller batches, one layer at a time, so that they will brown evenly.



You will want to fry them for quite awhile to get that perfect crisp brown texture.







You must get them crisp and almost burnt, like this:

Again, so that I am very clear :)  this is the perfect surface of a fried potato.


They are best eaten immediately. Once they have cooled, they have lost their premium and will never taste the same again. They must have enough salt. Potatoes absorb salt, so you will need plenty of it for yummy fried potatoes.

I tell you, these are soooooooo good. How do you fry potatoes? next time I will show you how to fry them Spicey Indian style.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Make Salt Dough


Here's one of my latest videos. I really like making salt clay, you probably will tell.

How to Make Salt Dough

Salt Dough is a fun and easy recipe for a flexible playdough that promises lots of frugal fun for your family. Young and old will enjoy letting their creative juices flow with this art medium that you can make in your kitchen with little or no equipment.

As a child, I spent lots of time playing with plasticine and playdough. I would spend hours learning to mold flowers and roses and people and faces. Today these skills have developed a lot, as I keep improving on modeling with my bare fingers.

My mother disliked the oily and smelly plasticines. I enjoyed playdough, but it dried up easily and when dried, was not attractive and could not be kept as a decoration. Playdough and other commercial art mediums for children are so expensive. I would not spend the money on branded clays to spend my leisure time playing on and experimenting on.
This salt dough is both air-drying and oven-drying. It is child-safe, and very much edible, though not tasty. On hot days, I leave it by the windowsill, or on the barbecue grill to dry by itself. Usually with the tiny projects I make, I can put the tray in to bake while the oven cools after making, saving and making the most out of electricity. For large projects like bowls or vases, it will have to be baked at low heat (100-160 Celsius) for many hours.

This salt dough can be colored with food colorings, or painted over when dry. It can be kept in an airtight container, or cling-wrapped, to be played over and over again. Once your creation is completely dried, you will want to varnish it over with inexpensive clear or wood varnish, because I find that weevils love to burrow and eat up my creations. The varnish will also protect your keepsakes from humidity. You can repel insects by mixing in strong-smelling powdered herbs, like rosemary or cinnamon, in the salt dough. These can serve as sweet-smelling ornaments for your home.

You can measure the ingredients in plastic cups and have the kids help out. Make small amounts first, using a dinner spoon to measure the ingredients.

You will need:
1 part water -- plain water will do.
1 part salt -- the finer ground is best. Use the cheapest table salt you can find.
2 parts flour -- this is a rough measurement, so keep extra flour and water handy to get the right consistency because humidity and the age of the flour really can affect its properties. Use the cheapest and unhealthiest white flour you can find. Add in powdered herbs as you want, replacing part of the flour if you want. Using some high-gluten flour like high-protein will make your dough stretchier -- you may need more gluten if you are replacing large amounts of flour with powdered herbs.

Varnish
Equipment:

An aluminum or silicone baking tray (somehow I spoilt some non-stick trays with this dough)
A bowl and spoon for mixing the dough
Play mat -- I use a large flat plastic mat for all rolling, shaping, and cutting. It's food safe, so I use kitchen utensils.
A dough scraper and cutter -- plastic is safest
A rolling pin.
Flour for sprinkling to keep dough from sticking.
A tea infuser works great for sprinkling flour.
Cookie cutters, clay tools, molds, etc. are all optional -- use your creativity here and try experimenting to make different textures.
A toaster oven or hair-dryer. My little toaster oven works great to quickly harden loaves of bread that I want to cut so that it stays in shape, strips of "bone" I want to harden before adding the meat, etc.


One lady called me the "Rose" girl. That's true. I'm a big fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum, and besides that I dream of making clay/fondant/chocolate roses that are unique and perfect. I want each of my roses to have a character uniquely own, yet be unmistakably a rose. I'm a rose-perfectionist and I will squish the clay many, many times because the rose petals are not up to standard. I think I got the trick a little better now, that is, in arranging the petals to gradually lower them as I reach away from the center and not to make center and outer petals equally tall. The clay has to be just the right consistency, because I shape each petal in the palm of my hand. They are so sweet... and they smell sweet because there's cinnamon in the dough. It takes so much time to make one roses, each rose can be cupped in the palm of your hand.

On a lighter side, pizza! Trying, trying to imitate peperoni pizza. Is it working?



Monday, January 23, 2012

Really Healthy Smoothie... not too bad...

This morning I was inspired by Erin's Super Green Drink Mix  to create a herb mix for my own smoothies.

1) I snipped two tablespoons off a dry wheat plant for wheatgrass
2) A shaking of frozen fennel seed
3) A pinch of lemon grass
4) A shaking of orange peel
5) A pinch each of ginger and cinnamon





It had a strong spice smell to it, I thought, so I'd make a smoothie to taste it out.

1 mandarin orange
1 small carrot
2 green apples
3 tbsp of buttermilk
1 tbsp herb mix


Usually I really hate raw carrot. I don't even taste it now. I have a huge glass to drink up, but this is pretty good for a "green" experiment.



UPDATE: Never let yoru smoothie sit, especially when it has orange it it. It will turn BBITTER

The Game is On!


 For years I have been plagued by dandruff,not that I really cared much. I would try this and that, but nothing seems to work. That's it! I'm going to go on all all-out campaign.

Easy Steps to Hair Health

I'm gong to be determined and consistent. I'm going embark on a project. This is what I am going to do:

30-Day Programs
Each  month I am going to saturate my hair dairy in a herbal remedy, daily.

Month 1 (February)
This month I'm beginning with a more French/Italian Commercial and convenient remedy.

1) Olive oil infused with rosemary in a drip bottle to be massaged into my hair daily for half and hour, after which it is washed off with
20 a Daily/Semi-Daily shampoo with Commercial Shampoo (L'Occitane)


So, I'm going to do this every day until February 23rd. I'll keep you posted on  my progress! The key I believe is consistency,which i do lack. I need a program I can stick to with a goal in sight.

Next month, I'll "fly" over to India (Around the World for Haircare in 365 days) and transition to tea tree oil and reetha for a month, then probably amla/shikakai/hibiscus for a month, then if I can get neem, neem hisbiscus and reetha for a month. Then a month of coconut oil and no-poo baking soda. Then a month of aloe vera and baking soda. Then we'll start all over again.

Day 1: The olive oil is not to strongly infused with rosemary, but the rosemary is fresh. I've got it scrubbed in so now I'm waiting to shampoo.








Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baking Day Recipes

Whew! It's been three days of baking. Each day I am totally wiped out, but wake up (late) the next morning ready to begin all over again. The thing about baking in the holiday seasons is that I don't have to return everything to the pantry cupboard. Everything's sitting out nice and convenient, so it takes me only fifteen minutes to whip up a Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake from the Bread Bible. 

Today I made three kinds of cake. That must be a kind of record for me. I've been so inspired by the Amish people. I bet one Amish baker could whip up six kinds of cake and knock up twenty pies of nine varieties in one afternoon without skipping a beat (I meant "breaking a sweat"). 

I woke up at eleven today. I must have slept at about one last night. I sat down to sew, and did not rise up until I decided I had better get to sleep. I was stitching a kapp for my Amish doll. I already have her Satin green cape dress almost finished - and what a dusky, serviceable shade of green. It's nice. She's a good friend to my Pioneer Doll with a red gingham bonnet and a yellow print dress. 

Quickly I got into a pink dress and a baking apron. Then I made a green chiffon cake. It turned out sufficiently green because I used less water in the making the screwpine (pandan) paste water. That's made from blending long screwpine leaves in water, and draining out the leaves. I put the leafy pulp on a tray on the currently-not-in-use BBQ grill to use and reuse for tea. 

We use that herb water as a cake flavoring. Usually if you order the green pandan chiffon cake in stores, you get a weird shade of green that comes from those little dark bottles of cheap food coloring. No artificial food coloring for me, thank you! And the fragrance was fantastic. 

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Lemon/Orange Glow Chiffon Cake in the Cake Bible was my base. All I did was to replace all the water and lemon juice with fragrant pandan juice and omit the zest altogether. She uses 7 egg yolks and 10 egg whites, the disparity making the cake extra fluffy and light without compromising lightness. Perfect! Most recipes use the same amount of egg whites and yolks, but Rose Levy Beranbaum's addition of extra egg whites is a groundbreaking innovation, which is really elementary in actual fact. It just takes someone who thinks outside of the box. 

Once the pandan cake was in the oven, I washed up and postponed lunch so that I could whip up my brownie cake recipe, which was so yummy, because I used some coffee chocolate chips alongside the usual kind, because I was out of the usual kind. Now, I always add 1/2 tbsp of baking powder to the brownie cake and mix it as per the Cake Bible. It's my favorite, most moist chocolate cake. After three years of wild experimenting, I think I have my recipe right where I want it.

Beka's Latest Brownie Cake: 

Ingredients

    • 230g cooking chocolate
    • 236g (1cup) water
    • 227g salted butter
    • 6 large eggs
    • 100g castor sugar
    • 280g all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 340g chocolate chips

Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Place rack in such a way that the brownies will be baked in the centre of the oven on top of an oven stone, if you have one.
    2. Grease the cake pans. I used shortening today because it's so effective, but it also "poisonous".  It is necessary to flour the pans when baking with chocolate. Put some flour in the cake pan, then tap and shake until the insides are completely coated. Tap out excess flour into next pan, repeat, and discard the rest of the flour.
    3. Measure out ingredients in bowls. Sift the flour into a bowl over the weighing machine.
    4. Pour water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then remove from fire and add in the cooking chocolate. Once the chocolate is added, put the saucepan on the stove and allow the mixture to boil. Then let it simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the water has mostly evaporated and mixture is very much thickened. Use the wooden spoon to scoop and drop back a little chocolate. It will form a pattern on the surface of the chocolate and dissolve in a little while. 
    5.Break the eggs, and whisk them a little. Then add in the warm chocolate mixture a little at a time, so that it does not get  "scrambled". This is the liquid mixture.
    6.In the Cake Mixer bowl, mix all the dry ingredients - the flour and the baking powder.
    7. Add all the butter and half the liquid mixture to the flour mixer. Beat until incorporated, then beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes to strengthen the cake. It will not turn out hard, don't worry.
    8.Add in the rest of the liquid mixture in two batches, beating 20 seconds after each time.
    9.Fold in the chocolate chips.
    10. Pour the brownie cake batter into a nine-inch round bundt pan.  Bake the brownies for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
     


    You can follow the instructions in my link above to the original recipe if you want to decorate the cake with a water ganache. 


    __________________________________________________________


    Then I had a pot of stew and rice seasoned heavily with pepper and painful bird's eye chilli sauce, together with The Story Girl on my PC. The Story Girl series is my favorite of L. M. Montgomery's works. I love the comradeship and characterization, as well as her beautiful, humorous descriptions. It's wholesome and fun to read, full of stories and portraits of life. 



    Finally, I baked the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake and cleaned the entire kitchen. 



    So here in the house now (don't think of  stealing) we have 1.6 kg of melting moments, 8 tubs of chocolate chip cookies (baked last night), a Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake, a gobsmacking, sweet, rich, goeey, Brownie Cake, and a fragrant, sweet, and airy Chiffon Cake. 


    Tis' the season to eat mandarin oranges!


    Shalom.



How to Clean Up Sticky Soupy Spills

Tong sui means "sugar water" in Chinese. We have that a lot of the time in our meetings. There's almost always a big, steel, pot full of azuki beans and sago, appropriately sweet. Tong sui is delicious hot, cold, or frozen, and it is always ladled out for the children in colorful IKEA plastic cups. It is a sweet bean-soup dessert.

Tong sui has many different ingredients, such as coconut milk, sago, corn, and barley; however it always has one characteristic - it is sticky. With it spilling so many times, on the serving table, on the floor, or just dripping when the children carry their cups around, I have learned an easy way to efficiently remove any sticky, soupy, remains, and I have learned it the hard way.

Well, I'm usually on kitchen duty.

So what happens if there's a mess of spilled oatmeal, stew, pudding, custard, chocolate sauce, or apple pie? Don't panic.

1) Run for the toilet paper. Don't use tissue paper or kitchen towels, simply because they're expensive. Basically - immediately go for toilet paper as the first attack on the Sticky Spill. Get the perpetrator to help get the toilet and absorb as much as you can of the sticky mess. You want to quickly "sop up"  and dispose of the mess. For example, if you're having red bean soup, wipe up all the red beans, pieces of sago, and everything red or purple from that area! The toilet paper attack works so well, because if you have bits of things hanging around (for example oatmeal), you're going to have a hard time cleaning those things off your mop/rag.

 Don't use a rag or a sponge; you will have trouble in the sink later if you use those for the first attack. Imagine trying to mop of a spilled jar of honey; it doesn't work. You'll be left with a bigger, stickier mess, plus a mop you'll have to scrub. Go with the disposable.

 However, even if it is quickly wiped away, there will be that icky sticky stain - so here's what you do.

2) Get a sponge from the kitchen, preferably a nice nylon one with a stiff scrubbing side. Make sure it's wet and foamy. Get one for the little perpetrator too. They should always help clean up spills; make it fun and help them take responsibility for their actions in a way that is redeeming and not condemning. Sponge up the floor, chair, table, or whatever that was affected. Make sure it's all soapy and damp, but not super-wet, of course.

Liquid dish detergent works really well. Baking soda is good, but takes awhile to wash off. You may like vinegar. If the stain is bad, keep scrubbing. You can use a spray bottle if you have one, but for me the soapy sponge does the trick. If it's a major floor spill, you can get a mop and bucket, but I don't like to fill the whole mop bucket just for a small spill.

3)  Get a damp rag, maybe two. Just wipe of the soapy water, getting rid of the soap completely. You don't want soap residue over the floor; it can cause accidents. It can also damage surfaces. The damp rags should handle everything, but if it's a Category 3 floor spill, a big dry floorcloth is good too.

Category 1: Anything from drops of sticky mess on the vinyl table, to spills no large than 5 square inches on 1 surface area. Contains sticky solids
Category 2: Multiple surface areas, such as a spill from the counter to the chair to the floor and a dog licking up the mess down before. Includes spills on human beings with clothes damage. No large than 1 square foot.
Category 3: The whole kitchen floor is covered with honey! 

(note: super sticky things like honey and glucose are a whole different ball game than oatmeal, for example. Use HOT to make it more workable, and use stiffer kitchen towels. You may even want to scrape the mess into the dustbin and forgo the toilet paper altogether. )

So, does anyone have bad experiences with sticky spills?










Thursday, January 19, 2012

Herbs for Cooking: Dill

Dill
From the Garden to the Kitchen to the Pot of Stew

Middle: Dill looks like fir
I love the tall stalks of Indian dill that grows in my garden. They stand really tall and grow like weeds. Here in my country, it’s a weed. People say they block mosquitoes, and grow them in large amounts by fences as a mosquito barrier.

Dill grows so well during the rainy season. I stuck the sticks of dill from a friend into my garden, and they began to grow. In fact, my dill plant began to grow later than my rosemary plant, but the rosemary is tiny and precious whereas the dill is taller than me now.

Imagine my glee last year, when my dill plant was merely sprouting, when I visited my grandparents to find a lot of dill growing wild over their cemented garden. I mean – a lot of dill, growing like weeds. I stuffed plastic-bags full of them in excitement and lugged them home. I spent an entire afternoon stripped the fragrant, wispy leaves off the stems. Soon I had a roasting-pan full, which dried into two tubs, which I kept on top of the oven and used whenever I could.

Season roast chicken with some dill?
Mmm… I added ground dill to roast chicken, to chicken stew, to grilled fish, to soup, to tea, to pasta, to frying onions, to potatoes, to grilled vegetables, to eggplants, to soup; it’s one of my favorite herbs because it blends so well with other ingredients. The Indians believe that it has anti-gas properties, as do most herb websites. I use it as a seasoning for lots of things. It’s so useful, and so easy to get! Plus it’s a natural seasoning so beneficial to our health. I always say that what God created is good for us, whereas what man invents is bad.

Dill in my herb-garlic-butter toasted bread... delicious and fragrant, not too much or it'll be overwhelming
My maternal grandparents were amazed that this wild plant that pervaded their garden can be used to eat. I wouldn’t have known either, save for my great aunty-friends who know all these things. I cooked for my grandparents several times using this herb, making grilled Cajun fish and pasta.

My paternal grandmother has amazing green fingers. She used to grow dill too, as the “mosquito plant”. It was very profuse, but she ended up throwing a lot of it away, because there was so much and it grew so quickly. I can’t think of how many people don’t know what a delicious herb they are growing in their garden, useful for so many more things than repelling mosquitoes.

Don’t get me wrong. Mosquitoes are one of my biggest problems. They are such a pest and plague. It’s just that dill has so much more potential than what people realize.

I mean, it’s used as a vegetable in India, as well as an herb in European, Middle Eastern, and Swedish cooking.

Maybe I should launch a campaign titled “Save Our Dill – Use It”! 

Here's how to use it
1) Grow dill in your garden, somewhere near a fence. If you have an outdoor kitchen, plant dill all around it.
Cut stalks of dill
Dry it like that
2) Use the leaves freshly plucked, or harvest and dry them. How to harvest? Trim off long stalks of dill, and pluck the leaves off the stem - it comes off quickly and easily in a sweeping motion. Replant the cut the stalk. Then, collect all the leaves in a baking tray/pan, leaving it near a window, or outdoors on a BBQ grill, to dry. When it is completely dry, you can use it as-is or blend the dry leaves fine and put it in a spice bottle. 








Melting Moments


January 20th

Dear readers, please check out the beautiful and fantastic JOY OF BAKING website, which is the most reliable and beautiful baking website I know, with all sorts of tried and tested baking recipes, concise videos, and fantastic photography. If you want to learn to bake, or want to find reliable recipes: USE THEIR SITE! 

joyofbaking.com

Well, today I made 8 rounds of pressed butter cookies, also known as “Melting Moments”. This is a fantastically simply recipe that I adapted to make in super-large batches. The only variation to Joy of Baking’s recipe I made is to use salted butter, and not to chill the dough because if you want to press the dough, chilling makes it lumpy (bad!).


So, firstly I measured 2 batches of four rounds each of the recipe, making 8 rounds in all. Chinese New Year is coming up and we like to make cookies to share around. These are pretty, delicious, and fantastic.

Last Night's Work


Daddy took me to the local Indian sundry shop to buy two  bags of cornstarch, because I was out and I figured not to take a risk with rice flour, though I know rice flour is a good replacement.

Of course, you can pipe the cookies in swirls too, like i did before

The dough is made by simply creaming the butter and powdered sugar. I use $10 worth of Indian butter, and ground my own powdered sugar because it’s much cheaper. If you have a bullet blender, it’s easy enough to make your own powdered sugar.

I only buy white sugar for fancy baked goods, for a treat, because it’s not healthy. Don’t bother with brown sugar. There’s a bottle of molasses in my pantry, so I make my own brown sugar by mixing a teeny bit of molasses into the white sugar. That is basically what brown sugar is; it’s not any healthier than white sugar it’s just white sugar with a bit of molasses. With just grainy white sugar, you can have brown sugar, powdered sugar, and caramel sugar, which I also made.

Moving on, just sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt into a huge tub and put the fluffy, pale, creamed butter and sugar in that. For the record, I used the Kenwood. Creaming butter and sugar is tough work, especially if the butter is hard.
8 batches of cookies, 2kg of butter, or more?
Finally, I filled the cookie press and began pressing and baking, pressing and baking, etc. These cookies must not be badly browned. They have such high butter content, that they only must be delicately browned. 



Mammoth size batch of cookie dough
Oh, and for filling the cookie press, which can be a messy and sticky job, I fill a plastic bag with the dough, and cut a hole, squeezing the cookie dough into the cookie press tube so the cookie press stays clean! That was the great idea, only these bags I used were cheap and easy to tear so by the end of the night I was on my third bag. If you use a piping bag, it would work well.

Mummy wrapped them in used cookie tubs. They’re pretty standard around here. I collect them, sometimes I buy new ones but for our own use, I use reuse decent-looking ones. They look good with some red tape, an “auspicious” color for this holiday season.

This recipe, with only five common ingredients, is very simple to make in large batches and absolutely rich and addictive. It is lower in sugar than many recipes I know, producing such buttery, fragile little cookies. In the Amish/Pioneer culture of baking, giving, and sharing, these may make great Christmas cookies too, or snacks during a large event. 

Previous Chinese New Year gifts