Christmas has gone and very soon we'll be welcoming 2009! Not long after comes along cny, not to mentione, collecting ang baos! hehe. To get myself geared up for cny baking as well as re-start my baking engine, I decided to give this popular cny goodie a try.
Last chinese new year, while i still wasn't crazily involved in baking, I tried baking pineapple tarts and little did i know how much fun it could be. I regretted not starting earlier as my uncles and aunties really liked them and said that they'd wanna order some from me the next yr (which is 2009).I'm not too sure about baking cny goodies for sale, but i sure do not mind making them and giving it away =)
It was then, that i slowly increased my baking frequencies and started trying out more crazy stuff. well, i did start a while back but not THAT involved. At one point of time, i really wanted to slow down my baking stints as i was facing failures after failures. First it was the macarons, then i switched to doing swiss rolls. the macarons cracked, got burnt etc. I finally got decent looking ones but with airholes! sigh. my swiss rolls cracked, one after another. I finally managed to roll nice ones but it's still rather unpredictable. I had a little more success with macarons, but now i realised it was a little more like a meringue rather than a macaron.
ok, so before i bore anyone to death, i made some green tea swiss rolls sometime back. No one in my family fancies green tea so i decided to give some to my sec sch friend. Turns out, her mum asked if i knew how to make pineapple tarts so she could buy some from me during cny! Wow! happy, shocked, surprised, scared!
Now that i'm back from my holiday, christmas is over and cny jus coming right up, i decided i should venture out more into other kinds of cny goodies and try more stuff! so here..presenting my first try on kueh bangkit.
i've been asked last yr by several friends if i bake kueh bangkit (when i offered them my pineapple tarts). sadly, I jus had to turn them down and say no. Personally, i don't fancy this cny snack. Many LOVE it for its melt-in-the-mouth texture, which i prefer to describe it as "like eating chalk", which is, precisely why i don't like it! hahaa.
So this year, if there was any other cny snacks i'd try out would be KUEH BANGKIT. One of my friends got sooo excited upon hearing that i was gonna attempt it that he kept urging me to try it and let him sample.
Now, back to the attempt itself. Do a quick search on google and you'd find endless recipes for kueh bangkit. Now, which is the best? I really have no idea. From my very short brief research, there are some basic things i learnt about baking good kueh bangkits.
- tapioca flour/tapioca starch is one of the main ingredient and is required to be roasted to remove any moisture present in the flour
- thick coconot milk/coconut cream is what gives this sinful snack its wonderful smell and aroma + texture
- some recipes required a small amount of butter/margarine
- some recipes uses pandan leaves to enhance the smell/frangrance of the snack
- as usual, different recipes call for different oven temps and different baking time
Somehow, i gather that, this being one of the "olden" day snacks, people might not have used ovens. instead, charcoal and tins were probably used and doneness was judged upon years of experience. the thickness of the dough and size of the moulds were usually not specified probably also because people of the past just passed the recipe down generations after generations.
So how would i rate my first try? It definitely smelled like kueh bangkit, it's aroma alone could generate the cny festive feeling. It LOOKS like kueh bangkit, nice and white and not burnt. phew! it TASTES...well..that's where i guess i gotta improve. it tastes kinda crispy/hard on the outside but as you sink your teeth in, the insides gives way and melts (like chalk ha!) in your mouth. I probably like it a little better this way hehe. But not many others out there.
And so...more experiments coming my way! For now, I'm satisfied. For those interested to give it a shot this chinese new year, this is the recipe i used after mixing and matching a combination of various recipes.
Kueh Bangkit makes approx 85
- 6 pandan leaves
- 500g tapioca flour/tapioca starch
- 200ml coconut cream (packaged)
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- Wash, dry and cut 5 pandan leaves to about 5-7cm lengths.
- Measure out tapioca flour. Place a paper towel/kitchen towel over a large microwave safe bowl. Depending on how big your bowl is, put about 1/3 to 1/2 of the amount of flour onto the paper towel in the bowl, making sure the flour is quite spread out. [you'd want to remove as much moisture as possible in the flour] using about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cut pandan leaves (depending on the portion of flour you used), place them in the bowl of flour, well dispersed in the flour. [you'd want the frangrance of the pandan leaves to be absorbed by the flour]
- Place the bowl in the microwave, microwave the bowl on HIGH for 1 min, take the bowl out and stir to ensure even "drying". Repeat 5 times (i.e. totaly of 5 mins). Change the paper towels as you'd realised the moisture of the flour is being absorbed by the paper towels. Change it about once every 1 or 2 mins.
- Repeat the process for the remaing portion of flour. Leave it to cool completely, preferably overnight.
- Heat the coconut cream with 1 pandan leaf in a pot over LOW heat for about 5 mins. Stir and allow it to cool.
- Measure out icing sugar, sift. Measure out 120ml of cooled coconut cream, add icing sugar, followed by egg yolk. mix to combine, making sure mixture is well combined and smooth.
- Sift the cooled tapioca flour. Add about 350g of sifted tapioca flour to the coconut mixture and knead to form a soft, pliable dough. [do not add all the tapioca flour all at once]
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- sprinkle some tapioca flour on a clean surface as well as your rolling pin. the dough should be soft and pliable and should not look "shiny" or "spread". Should it "spread" or feels wet, add more tapioca flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until it feels dry enough.
- Roll the dough to a thickness of ~4-5mm. Dip a cookie cutter (i used a flower shaped one about 5-6cm in diameter) into a bowl of tapioca flour and cut out shapes from the rolled dough.
- Use a scraper to help transfer the cut out dough onto the baking tray. Use a crimper to make patterns on the cut out dough. You can also leave it plain.
- Preheat oven to 140C.
- Bake for about 25 mins (depending on the thickness of your cookie). A thicker cookie would require a longer time to bake and vice versa.
- Cookies should NOT brown.
- it is good to have spare trays available as the dough dries out pretty quickly. So, work quickly, cut out all the dough.
- I read somewhere that adding too much coconut milk would yield hard,dry cookies. Also, make sure your coconut cream is THICK and DO NOT add water.
- A possible way to prevent the dough from drying out too quickly would be to cover the balance dough place in a bowl with a slightly damp cloth. (i personally haven't tried that out yet)
- do not add the flour too quickly or too slowly. too quickly and the dough might become dry and hard. too slowly and it might be too wet. you can always adjust the texture by adding more coconut cream/tapioca flour. having said that, as mentioned above, addtion of too much coconut milk yields hard,dry cookies.
- if you don't like to use a microwave/don't have one, you can "dry" the flour by either frying the flour with the cut pandan leaves over low heat for 20-30 mins and cool overnight OR spread the flour evenly on a large baking tray and bake it at 160C for 25 min and cool overnight (i haven't tried this. I opted the microwave option as it was faster and easier)
- The cookie might spread and puff up during baking. The thicker the cookie, the puffier it would be.
- [update]: The dough remaining from the cut out can be combined and rolled out again to cut more cookies. Just keep repeating untill all the dough is used up. If the remaining is too small to cut out, just pinch into small balls and bake them too! No waste!
- [update]: The recipe only uses 350g flour in total. 500g of flour is prepared as the excess 150g can be used to flour the work surface and rolling pin. It also can be used when combining the dough to a right texture. i.e. if too much coconut milk was added and the dough becomes too wet, more flour can be added. Likewise, 120ml of coconut milk is a rough guide. More or less can be added according to the texture of your dough. add in tablespoons until the right texture is achieved.
special thanks to Aimei from Baking Cottage for pointing out certain steps which i did not make myself clear in. *read update*adapted from:
1. Delicious Asian Sweet Treats by Oi Lin (book available in some major bookstores in singapore or order online at http://pineapple-tarts.blogspot.com/)
2. Lily's Wai Sek Hong
3. Little corner of Mine
4. aunty yochana
Final verdict, the cookies i made are light and crispy on the outside and melts in the mouth thereafter (i.e. chalky!)
I hope to be able to post a video soon, as soon as i manage to get it right =) so..stay tuned!