Chinese New Year Baking Part I

So I started on the cookies for my grandma, LZ’s house, work, my house, and perhaps LZ’s grandma.
Traditionally, my mum prepares 5 different types of cookie each year:
1. Pineapple tarts
2. Cashew nut cookies
3. Oatmeal cookies
4. Cornflake cookies
5. Chocolate chip cookies

Sometimes, sugee (which I love). She has deemed this far too unhealthy to continue preparing though cause it uses ghee.

This weekend, I baked double batches of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies cause she and my dad are happily enjoying themselves on their cruise and the responsibility of churning out this year’s CNY goodies falls upon my shoulders.

It is back breaking work! Baking for that many people. I literally rolled 6 baking sheets full of little oatmeal dough balls,

depressed them all with a little fork and garnished them with chopped glace cherries.

They came out all golden and light and delicious.

And then they kept coming out of the oven. All 6 trays, enough to fill about 8 tupperwares. Gosh. What am I supposed to do with all these oatmeal cookies? I assume this is the volume my mum expected, because she gave me the recipe for a double batch, besides, it calls for 800g of instant oatmeal and if I made a single batch I would have half a bag of oatmeal lying around for an indeterminate amount of time.

Liangze couldn’t help me either because he’s been running a slight fever today – and his fevers are melodramatic (like himself) – they always land spectacularly, with a sore throat, flu, everything.

Here’s the glace cherries I chopped, about 6-8 cherries.

And my trusty hand powered blender that I used to chop up some cashews and almond nibs

Which taste fantastic in oatmeal cookies.

Her recipes are somewhat secret, a result of many years of fine-tuning (imagine them improving every single chinese new year). It’s also the first recipe I’ve encountered in my entire life that calls for both the use of butter AND margarine.

Yesterday I completed the chocolate chip cookies – may do the cornflake cookies tomorrow.
These are better than Famous Amos’ (lighter, less sweet), but not as good as Home-baked Dough’s I think.

After the pineapple tarts, the cashew nut cookies are the most labour intensive – because I have to toast and blend the indian cashews myself (shops here don’t sell ground cashews). As for the pineapple tarts, we always make our own pineapple jam for that so that it is both more fragrant and not too sweet. This involves parking myself in front of the microwave with a huge casserole of blended pineapple and a wooden spoon, stirring and nuking for the better part of the night. And because it’s homemade and devoid of preservatives, our home-made pineapple tarts also do not last for very long and have to be made last (i.e. just before CNY).

Some other cookies I would like to master: kueh bangkit. Also, I would like to learn how to make my own love letters – my grandma used to do this but she has since trashed her little love letter charcoal stove.


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