Orange Butter Cookies (kue semperit). Photo: Sari Dewi Wangsawijaya
By Sari Dewi Wangsawijaya
Chap Goh Meh (15th night) marks the end of Chinese Lunar New Year. This year, it falls on 2 March. Traditionally, Chinese lovebirds would throw oranges into the river in the hope of finding their love match. Instead, present your beau with a box of freshly baked orange-flavoured butter cookies, also known as Kue Semperit in Indonesia.
Total time: 50 minutes
Yields: 100 pieces
A: Cookie Batter
200 g margarine or butter
100 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 large orange, zest only
B: Dry Ingredients
55 g custard powder
100 g cornstarch/cornflour
170 g plain flour
10 red maraschino glazed cherries, cut into small pieces
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients under B: custard powder, cornstarch and flour. Sieve the mixure and set it aside.
2. Combine margarine or butter, icing sugar, egg yolk and orange zest in another mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until ingredients are just combined.
3. Fold in dry ingredients gently with a spatula. Mix until it’s well incorporated.
4. Preheat oven to 150°C. Line 4 baking trays with baking paper or silicon mat.
5. Prepare a piping bag and attach a nozzle with a 1-cm tip of a floral ‘daisy’ pattern. Fill bag with some biscuit mixture. Pipe dough onto prepared baking pans.
5. Garnish each cookie with a piece of chopped cherry. Bake 30 minutes until light golden. Do not overbake cookies (see tip).
7. Cool cookies completely before storing in air-tight tins
TIP: For cookies with a light and melt-in-the-mouth texture, time the baking so that cookies are pale golden when cooked. Pick up 1 piece and check if its base has turned brown. If so, cookies are cooked. Handle them gently as cookies are extremely fragile whilst warm. They will firm up after cooling down.
Sari D. Wangsawijaya owns a bakery in central Java.
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