Monday, April 18, 2016

Best Copycat Jenny Bakery Butter Cookies

Hi! I'm back! ... Back from our Singapore plus Hong Kong holidays and my most recent Mediacorp channel 8 filming adventure. Will share more about my trip later...

As usual, I'm always enthusiastic to bake and so let's talk about baking first!

I must confess that I have not taste the real Jenny Bakery cookies before. And all that I know about Jenny Bakery cookies is what I have heard from my blogging friends...

According to Jenny Bakery, their home-grown butter cookies has been a phenomenon in Hong Kong. Opened in Stanley in 2005, Jenny Bakery has been selling their highly successful cookies for years. So successful that they had to say this in their website...

"We're not trying to be cool but store may close earlier if goods are sold out."


Geez! In actual fact, the bakery is so truly successful that I have seen many generic Jenny cookies selling everywhere in Hong Kong. So successful that Jenny Bakery has opened a branch in Singapore and is equally popular too. Knowing that it is going to consume a lot of our travelling time queuing for the real Jenny Bakery cookies at both Hong Kong and Singapore, I told myself that I will not queue hours and hours for Jenny Bakery Cookies. Well, you can say that I'm Ya Ya papaya (meaning arrogant in Singlish)... LOL! as I believe it won't be that difficult to bake cookies that are as good as Jenny's.

Surely, there must be a copycat recipe!!! And I'm totally right. My Google search for "Jenny cookies recipe" has lead me to heaps of recipes like this, this, this, this, this, this, this and many more... Geez! Can someone tell me which recipe is the best? Or which recipe makes the most Jenny's like cookies?

Looking at the recipes closely, I found something!!!

Although this, this, this, this and this copycat Jenny's cookie recipe look kind of different, they are actually the same!!! I have noticed that these recipes are typically made of 1:1 butter:flour ratio like this:

200g butter and it has to be Golden Churn canned butter
50g icing sugar
150g wheat flour
50g non-wheat flour like cornflour and rice flour, can be partially replaced with wheat flour to increase the gluten content of the cookies

Then I noticed that even my favourite melt-in-your-mouth Viennese Biscuits recipe at here is also the same being 1:1 in its butter:flour ratio. From this observation, I can tell that all of these butter cookies have been optimally packed with butter but the different flour and non-wheat flour used will ultimately create a difference in the cookie texture. So t
his is why some recipes claim that they are the best or more or less Jenny-like than others. So which is really the best??? Let's find out...

best jenny bakery butter cookies
Can someone tell me which is the Best Copycat Jenny Bakery Butter Cookies?

One, The most important Jenny-like Cookies ingredient: The Flour

I strongly believe that the type of flour used can affect the overall texture of the cookies a lot!!! And I would suggest you to consider these factors before choosing the right flour to bake your most favourite Jenny's like cookies:

1. What is the gluten (protein) content of the flour?
2. Are the flour finely milled?
3. Is the addition of non-wheat flour with low protein content make a nicer cookie? What is the optimal amount to add? Should I use cornflour or rice flour?

Obviously, the use of flour with higher protein content will create a cookie with more mouthful structure... meaning more to munch and easier to handle. On the other hand, the cookies made with less protein content will melt more in your mouth but will be difficult to handle.

What is the idea amount or combination to use?

All recipes except The Yummy Journey have not mention the percentage of protein in the flour that they used as all that they mentioned are all purpose, plain, top, wheat, strong, bread flour and etc.

All recipes except The Yummy Journey use 3:1 ratio of wheat:non-wheat flour. Instead of using a typical ratio, Gingy (from The Yummy Journey) calculates the amount of cornflour that she needs to use based on the protein content of the flour that she used which I think it is a brilliant idea!

What should I do???

Instead of "blindly" testing many different combinations of flour, I like to compare just two flour combinations:

(1) all purpose finely milled unbleached "OO" flour with 9.5% protein with extra fine cornflour mixed in a typical 3:1 wheat:non-wheat flour ratio.

(2) a combination based on what The Yummy Journey has mentioned. She used 147g flour with 11% protein out of the total 150g flour that she used has to be 11% protein to mix with 150g butter. Based on this recipe, I have worked out a recipe that contains the same amount protein in her recipe and see if the significantly higher amount of gluten can make better cookies.


This is the finely milled all purpose Italian OO flour (with 9.5% protein) that I used.
And I have mixed the all purpose flour with this cornflour in 3:1 ratio.

Two, The next most important Jenny-like Cookies ingredient: The Butter

I was told that I MUST USE Golden Churn Tin Butter.

Why can't I use regular unsalted butter?

It is almost impossible to buy golden churn butter in Australia and I had to buy mine via online from New Zealand. Just a small can (340g) of butter costs me about AUD$20 with shipping!!! So expensive! And so I called the distributor and found that Golden Churn butter is actually available as Red Feather butter in Australia. Eventually, I managed to buy each can (454g) for AUD$8 but they are available in a very few fine food shops in Melbourne suburbs! Can you imagine there is no shops in the Melbourne city that want to sell this butter?!!!

Why is the canned butter so special? I examine both butter very closely and see that both the canned butter and all the regular butter that we buy in the supermarkets are almost the SAME!!! The only difference is that the canned butter is heavily preserved with added salt and this is why golden churn / red father butter are very salty!

What should I do???

Yes that I'm going to use golden churn / red father butter to bake the cookies but will like to know if I can use regular unsalted butter to bake these cookies too. Hence, I'm testing another combination (3) which contains all purpose finely milled unbleached "OO" flour with 9.5% protein with extra fine cornflour mixed in a typical 3:1 wheat:non-wheat flour ratio, all mixed with the regular unsalted butter plus salt.

These Golden Churn / Red Feather New Zealand canned butter are from the same supplier (see the red arrow).
Both are exactly the same in their nutritional contents.
They are almost the same like the regular butter!
The only difference is that the canned butter contains 720mg sodium in every 100g and the unsalted butter has 0g in every 100g!!!

To summarise, I'm testing 3 recipes:

(1) all purpose finely milled unbleached "OO" flour with 9.5% protein + extra fine cornflour in a typical 3:1 wheat:non-wheat flour ratio + Golden Churn canned butter

(2) a combination based on what The Yummy Journey has mentioned - flour with the same amount of protein in 147g flour with 11% protein out of the total 150g flour used + Golden Churn canned butter

(3) same as (1) but use regular unsalted butter, soften at room temperature plus the addition of salt

First I did this.
Do not beat the butter excessively! Over mixing can make the cookies spread too much during baking.
Mix until the flour is just combined.
Do not over mix as over-mixing will toughen the cookies.

Baking the cookies with recipe (1): all purpose finely milled unbleached "OO" flour with 9.5% protein + extra fine cornflour in a typical 3:1 wheat:non-wheat flour ratio + Golden Churn canned butter...

They look good!

Baking the cookies with recipe (2): a combination based on what The Yummy Journey has mentioned - flour with the same amount of protein in 147g flour with 11% protein out of the total 150g flour used + Golden Churn canned butter...

These cookies are more stable in their structures and shapes.
Despite that they contain slightly lesser icing sugar, they brown so much better.

Baking the cookies with recipe (3): same as (1) but use regular unsalted butter, soften at room temperature...

OMG! The cookies look ghastly!!!
Now clearly...

Don't ask me why... but clearly, the use of canned Golden Churn butter to bake this recipe is totally essential especially if you are baking the cookies with all purpose flour (with 9.5% protein) + cornflour in a typical 3:1 wheat:non-wheat flour ratio. If you are not adding cornflour into your recipe, it is totally ok to use regular unsalted butter, softened at room temperature - See this recipe!

So which is better? The cookies with low protein content or high protein content? I asked my husband and son the same question by feeding them these cookies...

"Why are the cookies so salty??? Can't taste any differences leh!!!" My husband didn't like the excessive salty taste in these cookies. He felt that the salty taste is too overpowering and has made both cookies taste equally bad!

"This is like eating flour mix with butter..." My son said the cookies made with low protein flour is too melty for his taste. "Mum, confirm that this one is better!" said my confident son, pointing to the cookies with high protein content.

You know what? I agree with them too.

Due to the fact that I have not taste the real Jenny Bakery cookies before, I can't say which recipe can make cookies that taste more or less like Jenny Bakery cookies. All I can conclude is I would strongly recommend baking butter cookies with this recipe (a well tried and tested butter cookies recipe that you can use all purpose flour and regular unsalted butter for baking) or the recipe that The Yummy Journey has recommended.

best jenny bakery butter cookies
Our winner: The cookies with higher amount of protein content.
best jenny bakery butter cookies
Or if you like something that is extra melty, you would prefer the other low protein flour recipe.

Once again, I like emphasize that I still prefer baking butter cookies with this recipe using the usual unsalted butter for baking.

Nevertheless... Whether Jenny's like or not, I believe that everyone can bake nice butter cookies at home. Oh yeah... definitely! And I will not queue to buy butter cookies... LOL!

Before proceeding to the recipes, I would like to mention a few things...

First, I like to thank Joyce from Joy `N' Escapade and all the participants for taking part the Little Thumb Up (Honey) event. We have a total of 104 entries linking with us. Thanks Joyce! You are an awesome hostess!!! 

Next, I like to broadcast that I'm going to be on TV!!! So Exciting!!!

This is Vivian Lai, me and Ben Yeo (from left to right) at Mediacorp studio filming an episode of channel 8 TV cooking show, 弹指间的料理 screening on every Wednesday, 8 to 8.30pm.

Touch-Screen Cuisine 弹指间的料理 is a brand new variety show, started on 6 April, every Wednesday on Singapore mainstream TV Channel 8! On every episode, one Mediacorp celebrity will be invited to cook with one featured cooking blogger to see if the celebrity can cook the same food using the recipe that is published by the blogger.

Vivian Lai, me and Ben (left to right) at Mediacorp studio
This is me again doing a profile filming for the same show, 弹指间的料理 at my brother's place.

Hope to have your support and please stay tune for my appearance in this show.


Here's the recipes that are mostly adapted from Miss Tam Chiak and The Yummy Journey

Makes 25-30, depending on the shapes that you pipe the cookies

One: The low protein flour recipe
200g butter, preferably the canned kind
(Please DO NOT USE our everyday butter! It won't work!)
50g icing sugar
150g all purpose flour, finely milled unbleached Italian OO with 9.5% protein
50g corn flour

Two: The high protein flour and less sugar recipe
200g butter, preferably the canned kind
30g icing sugar
170g bread flour, unbleached with 12.5% protein
30g corn flour
This combination yields about the same % protein used in The Yummy Journey

If you don't want to use canned butter for your baking, you can try this recipe:
200g unsalted butter, very softened - very important!!!
40g icing sugar
1/6 tsp baking powder
200g all purpose flour, 
with 9.5% protein
1/3 tsp vanilla paste or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
I can tell you... this recipe can make butter cookies that are so much nicer!!!

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and icing sugar until smooth and just combined. Note: Creaming mixture excessively can make the cookies spread even more during baking.

Combine flour and corn flour and sift mixture twice.

Add flour mixture into the butter mixture and use a spatula or a wooden spoon to mix until all are well incorporated. Do not use an electric mixer to mix at this stage as over mixing will make the cookies to be tough.

Transfer dough into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe the cookies onto the prepared tray with about  1 cm in between cookies for them to expand during baking.

Bake for 12-15 mins or until the cookies are light golden brown. Please note that the cookies made with recipe two will brown better than the cookies made with recipe one. Leave them to cool slightly on the baking tray for about 10 mins and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in airtight container in room temperature for about 1 week.

Happy Baking
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33 comments:

  1. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks for the detail analysis of the the cookies. I've tried the original and tried baking some myself too. I also find there's nothing really fantastic about the HK cookies, I think our cookies don't differ much too! I'll be watching out for you in our tv show! Congrats for being featured!

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  2. Hi Zoe,
    Yes, we all can bake nice butter cookies at home!
    I'm excited you are going on TV! Will definitely watch out for your episode :D

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  3. You look so sweet there Zoe! Oh yes, I recognize Ben.. Butter cookies, yay! Am bookmarking this.. Yummmzz, can see they melt in the mouth..

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  4. Thanks for sharing...cookies look very yummy...I would love to give a try.. Just a quick question I would like to confirm...I m not sure if I m recall correctly. I remember back then more than 10 years ago when I was in college, I took nutrition class and taugh calculate % of protein on each label of each packages...
    Protein%= protein/ serving= (9,5 g x 100 %)/ 125 g ( serving size) = 7,6%. I don't know the different of % here would make any other different... Sorry...just want to share...please correct me if I m wrong. That is the way I calculate % on label . I hope you don't mind i share here...thanks.

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    1. Hi Jp,

      I don't have to consider the serving size (in the food label) into my calculation because this is not the amount that I used eventually. If you look at the label, it says that the amount of protein is 9.5g in 100g, it means that every 100g of flour contains 9.5g of protein. Not so complicated like what you think :p

      Zoe

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    2. Thanks for getting back.

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  5. congrats for being featured in TV show!
    isn't really taste that salty on the cookies?

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    1. Hi Thea, The cookies are pretty salty as compared with the usual ones that I baked :p

      Zoe

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  6. The cookies looks lovely though, I am not sure if I would like the less sugary more salty taste... :) Congrats on your TV appearance, it must be a proud moment...

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  7. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks for sharing your recipes. Congrats on your appearance on Mediacorp :)
    Will definitely watch that episode.

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  8. Zoe, I am surprised that Golden Churn butter is not available in Australia. I thought it is made in Australia? Anyway, I love this butter but it is very pricey over here. I do hope you get to taste the Jenny Bakery butter cookies to confirm what the hype is all about.

    Hey, wish I could see you in action on TV!

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  9. Your butter cookies are so elegant.
    Have a nice week

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  10. Hello Zoe, would love to watch you in action, but I don't think that's possible as I am not in Singapore. Love your analysis on the famous cookies, in fact I am baking a tiny batch now!Anyway, congrats and all the best!

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  11. Hi Zoe,
    You looked great and so beautiful! Guess I have to catch up via Toggle as working late on most weekdays.
    Back to the butter cookies ... I've tasted some bought from HK by my niece. Very fragrance but not my type cos too buttery for me. Thanks for sharing and I'll hope to bake some as giveaways gifts during festive season.

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  12. ooooooh, you are going to be celebrity? congrats!!! yey!!!. love these cute cookies.

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  13. Hi, the cookies look lovely!!
    Just wonder why not use cake flour?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jengshing,

      Yes you can use cake flour but please be aware that the low protein content might cause the cookies to be extremely brittle. So I would strongly suggest that you should check first before using it. If the protein content is too low, you might have to replace the addition of cornflour with cake flour. Hope that you will have fun baking your Jenny's cookies :)

      Zoe

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  14. Hi Zoe thanks so much for the detailed analysis of the butte cookies. They look so yummy! By the way I bought canned Golden Churn butter from KFL Supermarket in Springvale before. There is a new KFL in Doncaster but I am not sure if they have it there.

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  15. Thank for trying out my recipe Zoe, your post is very comprehensive! Looking forward to see you on the TV =D

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  16. Hi HappyKids mum,

    Love, love your blog. Never tried Jenny's cookie either but something tells me they use more than just butter to achieve that addictive butter fragrance and texture. HK chefs and patissiers are old school in that way-- relying on hydrogenated fats and chemical stuff to produce that addictive taste we can't resist.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkDR034qlS0

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    1. Hi Thanks for showing me this informative video. Totally agree that there must something more than just butter that the HK chefs that used to make their cookies so addictive. Saw the video that you attached and saw the addition of oil and water! into the cookie dough and really curious to know if these additions will make butter cookies extra special. As it is now, I'm happy to stick to my fav butter cookies at http://www.bakeforhappykids.com/2015/04/melt-in-your-mouth-viennese-biscuits.html and will love to explore the recipe that you mentioned in the near future :)

      Zoe

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  17. I hope you had a great time!
    These cookies look perfectly buttery!

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  18. Congrats on your TV appearance, Zoe! Truly excited for you. May you be blessed with many more. ^.^

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  19. Hi, may I know, is your 3rd recipe n the Vietnamese butter cookie the same? Thank!!

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      The 3rd recipe is the same as the 1st recipe but I have used regular butter instead of the canned one. If you prefer to use regular butter (not the canned butter to bake your cookies), I would strongly recommend using the Viennese Biscuits recipe (not Vietnamese lah!!! :p) at http://www.bakeforhappykids.com/2015/04/melt-in-your-mouth-viennese-biscuits.html Cheers!

      Zoe

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    2. The canned butter is very salty is it?

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    3. Yes. The canned butter tastes salty.

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  20. Hi Zoe, is this recipe possible using cookies cutters? Wanna bake some for Christmas!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jesmine,

      The cookie dough made with these recipes is too soft to roll and cut and I don't advise you to do that.

      Zoe

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    2. HI ZOE
      can I use cookie press (gun) for this recipe. Thanks

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  21. Hi Zoe! Just tried out this recipe but it turns out quite salty. Can I increase the sugar levels? And my cookies turns out rather flat than keeping its shape. Something I did wrongly?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jesmine,

      The use of golden churn salted butter will make the cookies rather salty and if you think that your cookies are too salty, you should use regular unsalted butter and use the recipe that uses regular unsalted butter. I don't think you should increase the addition of sugar as it will make cookies less melty in texture.

      If your cookies turns out to be flat, it could be that 1) you didn't weigh the ingredients accordingly 2) the flour that you used is too low in its protein content 3) the cookie dough is not thoroughly mixed and the part with more butter turns to melt more and fell apart.

      Hope that you will succeed baking these cookies. Happy Baking!

      Zoe

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