Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Tonkatsu Oatmeal Walnut Cinnamon Cookies (Refined sugar-free!)

For hubby's birthday bake this year, I decided to make something healthier and snackable so that it is a cute and special but also practical bake. I decided to make some yummy but healthy oatmeal cookies in the form of one of hubby's favourite characters - - Tonkatsu! 

Photo composition is inspired by wanwantea (Instagram account). I remembered being really tickled when I saw her Tonkatsu macarons in a frying pan some time back. 

How yummy can an oatmeal cookie be you may ask, especially one that is refined sugar-free? It is by making use of a variety of ingredients that add texture and flavour to the bake! Maple syrup is used as the sweetener for this cookie. You may replace with coconut sugar syrup. Both choices are much lower in GI than white sugar and impart a lovely flavour and aroma too! Apart from having a wonderful aroma, maple syrup is a good source of manganese and zinc. I added some walnuts in the cookie to give it an extra crunch as oatmeal cookies can tend to be on the chewy side. Cinnamon adds a lovely aroma. Both walnuts and cinnamon are great health foods as well. You can google for the health benefits of these. Not forgetting the main star of the cookies, rolled oats, is good for your health too! 

This recipe contains wheat flour so it isn't gluten-free. You may replace with alternative flours like coconut flour or almond flour but I like to stick with wheat flour as it gives the best texture in my opinion. 

I took pains to eliminate or reduce the use of refined sugar in this bake, including the decorative details. The nose and eyes of Tonkatsu are made out of cookie too! I will share the technique of doing so. No royal icing is used for these parts! I also took pains to use natural food colouring as far as possible. 

Recipe for oatmeal walnut cinnamon cookies
Ingredients (makes about 20 Tonkatsu cookies) :
85g unsalted butter, softened 
120g maple syrup (or coconut syrup) 
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
90g plain flour, sifted (I replaced half with cake flour for a more delicate bite) 
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cocoa powder (optional, for a bit of added flavour and tonkatsu colour) 
1/16 tsp turmeric powder (optional, for added tonkatsu colour) 
110g rolled oats
40g finely chopped walnuts 

Note: make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before beginning, with the exception of butter which should be softened but still cool (about 20C) 

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking tray with parchment paper. 

2. Beat butter until light and fluffy using electric mixer. 

3. Gradually add maple syrup and beat until combined after each addition. 

4. Gradually add egg and beat until smooth and combined. 

5. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined. 

6. In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, cocoa powder and turmeric powder. 

7. Sift the flour mix into the butter mixture. Fold in with spatula until no trace of flour is seen. 

8. Fold in chopped walnuts and rolled oats. 

9. Scoop a slightly heaped tablespoon (measuring spoon) of batter and drop it onto the lined baking tray. Use 2 metal teaspoons to carefully shape it into Tonkatsu shape, flattening the top until batter is about 1cm thick. Make sure there is a spacing of at least 2cm between drops of batter. 

Main body of Tonkatsu before baking. 

10. Chill the leftover batter in mixing bowl in fridge. Bake the tray of cookies for 12 minutes. Leave it to cool on tray. If you like soft chewy oatmeal cookies and gladly like to skip the decorative parts, you can stop here and store in airtight container. But I like my cookies crisp/crunchy too. If so, continue baking until really dry and firm at 140C for another 15 to 20 min after the first 12 minutes at 180C or proceed with step 11 if you are making Tonkatsu. Do not bake the extra 15 to 20 min at 140C if you are making Tonkatsu. 

11. Line a small tray with parchment paper. Quickly shape the leftover batter into small balls on the lined tray and freeze it. Return the leftover batter into fridge to chill if it turns too soft and sticky to handle. It is messy but don't worry, you don't have to be super neat because it is Tonkatsu afterall🤣. 

Balls of batter for arms and legs of Tonkatsu

Shortbread cookie parts
10g icing sugar
20g unsalted butter, softened 
28g cake flour or plain flour
2g cornflour (may replace with plain flour) 
A pinch of salt 
2-3 drops of strawberry emulco
1/16-1/8 tsp charcoal powder
1/2-3/4 tsp cocoa powder
Some water

Note: you won't need all of it to decorate Tonkatsu. You may chill excess dough and bake another day, or just shape cookies out of leftover dough and bake until slightly browned at the bottom at 160-170C.

Steps :
1.  Preheat oven to 150C.

2. Mix unsalted butter, salt and icing sugar together. You don't have to cream it until light and fluffy. 

3. Add strawberry emulco a bit at a time until a desired shade of pink is reached. 

4. Add sifted flours and fold it in until a dough is formed. 

5. Portion out about 1/2 tbs of dough and add cocoa powder, charcoal powder into it. Add water 1/8 tsp at a time into this mixture until a pipeable consistency is reached. Transfer this black/ dark brown batter into piping bag with a small hole cut. 

6. Shape the pink dough into Tonkatsu's nose shape and gently but firmly place it on the main body. 

7. Pipe the eyes. 

Adding Tonkatsu's nose and eyes. 

8. Carefully place the frozen arms and feet made from the oatmeal batter onto the main body. 

9. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 140C and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cookie is nice and crisp. Cool completely before storing in airtight container. 

 Bon appetit! 

With lots of love, 

Phay Shing

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