Sunday, 14 November 2021

Pandan and Strawberry Christmas Butter Cookies

Our church is doing a Christmas bake giveaway and it is our joy to share the love of Jesus with others! As it is a collective effort amongst the members of Culinary Arts Ministry, I have decided to share a cookie bake that is Christmasy yet simple and suitable for us busy people who are preparing the cookies. Presenting my swirly pandan and strawberry butter cookies! 

I was really impressed with Phoon Huat's super biscuit premix when I tried it out. See this blog post for my review on their National Day cookie kit. I am usually skeptical of any premix but this is an exception. All you need is butter:biscuit premix in the ratio of 1:2 to make cookies that taste pretty close to Kjeldsens butter cookies! 

The recipe I am sharing is for 1 batch of cookies. Each packet of 500g biscuit premix can make about 2 batches. Sorry about that little bit of leftover premix... I prefer working with whole numbers😂. 

If you are unable to get a hold of the premix, you may use my shortbread cookie recipe to make swirl cookies too using the same method. Just prepare the same weight of dough and follow the assembly instructions. 

Pandan and strawberry swirl butter cookies
Ingredients (Makes about 15-18 red and 15-18 green swirl cookies) :

Plain dough 
120g super biscuit premix
60g unsalted butter (use a good brand!) 

Red strawberry dough
60g super biscuit premix
30g unsalted butter 
1/4-1/2 tsp strawberry emulco (I used 1/3 tsp) 

Green pandan dough
60g super biscuit premix
30g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp pandan paste

1. Weigh out cold butter into mixing bowls for respective colours of dough and let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature (about 27-30C in Singapore's home kitchen ). Add strawberry and pandan flavouring to respective bowls. 

2. Mix the flavouring into butter and beat it briefly with spatula. Beat the plain butter briefly as well to loosen it up. 

3. Add premix into respective bowls. You don't have to sift it. 

4. Mix the flour premix and butter until a ball of dough forms. Do not overwork the dough. Once it comes together, you can stop. Divide the plain dough into 90g each. 

5. Cut out 4 sheets of parchment paper, about A4 size each. Fold into half with the shorter edges aligned with each other. Fold the left and right sides in as shown below, with 15cm in length between the left and right flaps. 

6. Place a ball of dough inside the pocket you just folded out of parchment. Roll it to 4mm thickness. It helps to have rolling pin with guides like mine when you need to roll the dough to specific thickness. 

Let me open out the pocket to show you what the rolled dough looks like... 

If you don't have 4mm guides on your rolling pin, fold the A4 parchment paper into a rectangle with a pocket/cavity measuring 12x15cm. Roll the dough to fill up the rectangular cavity and you should get a rectangular sheet of dough with thickness about 4mm.

Remember to place the folded flaps facing down so that you can easily roll the dough to fill up all the corners of the rectangle. 

Opening up the 12x15cm pocket to show the rolled dough. 

7. Refrigerate all 4 sheets of rolled dough for about 10-15min or until firm enough for you to handle with your hands without it being too soft, but not so hard that it is completely not pliable. 

8. Take a sheet of coloured dough and lightly brush the top surface with a little water. Take a sheet of plain dough and carefully stack it on top of the coloured dough. The water is to help the different colours stick together better. 

9. Brush a little water on top of the plain dough. Carefully roll the dough from the straight edge that is measured 15cm long. 

Don't worry if the dough starts breaking as you roll. Simply pinch the cracks close with damp fingers and continue rolling. Try to shape the log such that it remains 15cm long and the diameter is more or less even along the length. 

10. Roll the parchment paper around the log. This next part is optional but helps to retain a little curvature as you chill the whole log of dough. Cut the center of paper towel core lengthwise into half. Place a log of dough in the cradle of the paper towel core as shown below. You may want to shape the paper towel core a little so it hugs the dough snugly. Alternatively, you can rest the rolled dough in a tray of uncooked rice with a little trough made for the log to sit in. Freeze the log for 1-1.5h or refrigerate overnight. 

This log of dough can be made in advance and stored in freezer for a month. If you are doing so, clingwrap the log of dough before freezing and defrost overnight in fridge. Frozen rock hard logs are brittle and shatter easily when you try to cut. 

11. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 160C fan forced (170C top and bottom heat only) and set oven rack to middle position. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or in my case, I used a perforated mat. 

12. Mark out 8-10mm lines on your log to mark out positions for where you are going to cut out the cookies. 

I used a letter "I" cookie cutter to mark this out really quickly. Alternatively, you may cut a 8-10mm strip of plastic or parchment paper to mark out the intervals to make the markings. 

13. Use a knife to cut the log as marked by the position markers and lay the cutouts on the baking tray at least 2cm apart. The cookies don't expand sideways by too much. 

A few notes on this cutting step. Make sure your knife blade is pointing vertical downwards when you make the cut. Don't worry if the cutout is no longer circular after cutting. You may reshape it to be more circular after it has softened a little on the baking tray.

14. Bake for 15-17 min or until the base of the cookie is slightly browned as shown below. 

It is actually a little more browned than this but I can't quite capture it on my phone camera. Left piece shows the underside of a baked cookie and right piece shows the top side of a baked cookie. 

Do note that each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly. You do want some slight browning especially at the base, to get that browned butter aroma. 

15. Cool completely on cooking rack before storing in airtight container. 

Some of you may want to try other swirl flavours so I have prepared a chocolate version as well. 

Brown chocolate dough
60g minus 1.5 tsp super biscuit premix
1.5 tsp cocoa powder 
30g unsalted butter

Same as above but sift the premix and cocoa powder together before adding to the butter. 

Chocolate swirl! My elder kid went straight for these so I didn't have many to take photos with😂.  I made these earlier by rolling each sheet of dough to 6mm thickness so the swirls are slightly less compact. 

Happy baking! 

With lots of love, 

Phay Shing 

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