I have been finding it a little hard to maintain a balance between blogging, baking for profit and of course, work. Because of the upcoming CNY and Valentine’s Day, I have been baking weekends to make enough cookies for giving away to my family, relatives and friends and to fulfill orders. In fact, I think my bout of sore throat and cough was caused by my baking, because I ‘had to’ test try my cookies when they were out of the oven, and the kitchen was super stuffy no thanks to the heat from the oven.
In fact, my sore throat hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will become better anytime soon seeing that I still have two more weekends where I have to bake literally from 8am to 5pm. All this baking has sucked up all my available energy during the weekend and I honestly cannot be bothered to take photos of the cookies I bake, even though I have been baking quite a large variety and number of them. The good thing about giving cookies to family and friends is that they usually act as guinea pigs for my new recipes :]
Because this year is the year of the snake, I decided that I shall make cookies in the shape of snakes. I had tried it last year for ‘dragon’ cookies but they turned out looking like snakes anyway >.< In reality, although most snakes are brownish and not usually green, in my mind, the snake is always green. I guess this stems from a story book I read a long time ago when I was a kid – it was the English translation of this Chinese folk story, Madame White Snake or Legend of the White Snake. I vividly remember that my story book had this woman garbed in ancient chinese wear, with a green and white snake in the background. There are many variations to this story, but a common thread is that the green snake is the ‘bad girl’ in the story.
Separately, I’m quite upset about my recipe box that you see below. I had Kaiyi customize a nice recipe box for me – some of you may recall how it looked like, but when I updated the widget, all the customization disappeared! I’m trying to get help because I’m an IT noob on such things, so hopefully things will become normal and pretty soon. If you are too lazy to check out my notes at the bottom of the recipe or if the line breaks are not obvious, a simple summary is that these green tea snakes are crisp, and definitely fragile – the matcha taste is quite strong, so I would recommend reducing it to 8g if you only want a slight matcha taste.
- 200g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 90g castor or granulated sugar
- 250g all-purpose or plain flour
- 10g matcha or green tea powder
- Optional: red colouring and some water
- Sieve flour with matcha powder in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream butter until it turns pale yellow in colour. Add in sugar and salt, while beating the butter until it turns almost white, and fluffy.
- Add the sieved flour into the butter mixture and combine until no traces or streaks of flour is left. You should continue beating until the mixture becomes a pale green and is quite malleable such that it is easier to pipe.
- To pipe the cookie as snakes, fill your piping bag with an open star tip (I used the Wilton 823 tip, but you can use the 1M or other similar tips for varying snake girths). Pipe out the cookie dough in an S shape, making sure to release on the pressure on the piping bag towards the end.
- In a sauce dish, add a teaspoon of red colouring with a tablespoon of water. Dip one end of a chopstick or a satay stick into the red colouring to create red 'eyes' for your snake.
- Be sure to leave at least a 3-5cm diameter around each snake because the cookies expand slightly after baking.
- Bake at 180°C for 12 -15 minutes each, or until slightly brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for at least 15 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
Texture: The cookies are very fragile, especially so because of their S shape. They are crisp and buttery, and are definitely not the 'sturdier' type of butter cookies.
Storage: These cookies store very well in an airtight container - you can keep them for at least 2-3 weeks, which is just nice if you're baking them now for the Chinese New Year!
Would I make this again?: Definitely! This recipe has been modified countless times for my earl grey sables and vanilla sables, and I definitely have a few more ideas in mind!
The caption “Holy Snakes!” comes to mind when I look at the photo above. That’s the only reason why I’m sharing this photo even though it is out of focus and shows you broken parts of my snake cookies hehe.
So anyway, this year, Valentine’s Day falls very close to the festive CNY period, which is why I am taking the lazy way out and giving out CNY cookies as a substitute for Valentine’s Day as well. If you’re lucky, you might get a nicely iced sugar cookie from me 😉 For the intrepid, if you want to bake something nice for your loved one or other half this Valentine’s Day, why not bake macarons? If you have never tried baking a macaron before, never fear, because I have got a macaron pack from Adriano Zumbo (some might call him the Willy Wonka of Australia) for you to try out! If you don’t know about Zumbo, check out my post on him. His salted caramel macarons, now known as ‘zumborons’ are certainly one of his more normal flavours but one that he does very well!
I was in Australia over the Christmas period and when I was grocery shopping (as usual), this carton caught my eye and I thought, why not buy a pack to giveaway on the blog as macaron premixes are still quite rare in Singapore and for those wanting to try a taste of Zumbo’s macarons but have not had the opportunity yet, well, this is a good (and easy) opportunity for you to do so! Since I only bought one pack, there can only be one winner, but don’t worry – if you are really keen to try out Zumbo’s macarons, you can certainly find recipes online, and on the Masterchef Australia website where he has generously posted his macaron recipes.
So to participate, all you have to do is just to leave me a comment below, with your email address and name. It’s that simple! I’ll be opening this giveaway to readers in Singapore and Malaysia, because the box is quite heavy and I don’t really want to incur costly shipping charges. I’ll close the giveaway on 7 February 2013 at 11.59pm. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted via email the next day. I aim to ship out the item by 8 or 9 February so that you will be able to get the box in time to experiment for Valentine’s Day!
To increase your chances of winning, you can do the following for an extra entry each (please post a new comment for each of the below):
- Like my blog on Facebook and leave an extra comment below. My Facebook link is the first icon in the second box on the right!
- Share this giveaway on Facebook!
- Follow me on Twitter (@unpastiche) and retweet this giveaway on Twitter!
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