Thursday, January 19, 2017

Searching for the best Nyonya Butter Cookies / Biscuit Samprit / Biskut Ceri / Kuih Semperit

"Mum, I love butter cookies especially the melt in the mouth ones."

After hearing what my son said, I know that I have to do more testing testing... Hmmm...

Testing testing??? If you know me or have been reading my blog, you would know that the curious me is always on the run of searching for the BEST recipes. For example... Due to my obsession in pineapple tarts, I have been through substantial amount of research and finally found my best melt-in-the-mouth open faced pineapple tarts recipe at here and my best melt-in-the-mouth nastar pineapple tart recipe at here. Hence, some readers asked me if I have found the best melt-in-the-mouth enclosed pineapple tart recipe. Errr... NOT really yet! Maybe next year because I have been baking too many pineapple tarts already!!! LOL!

Here, I'm doing a testing testing for a different bake! And I'm searching for the best Nyonya butter cookies... an ideal Nyonya butter cookies that is ultimately buttery and melty!!!


nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
More testing testing?
I'm searching for the best melt-in-the-mouth Nyonya Butter Cookies

To find the best butter cookies, I asked myself...

What makes a butter cookie nice, melty and buttery?

Why nyonya butter cookies? What is the difference between regular butter cookies and nyonya butter cookies?

To most Singaporeans and Malaysians, nyonya butter cookies are commonly known as biscuit samprit or biskut ceri or kuih semperit in Malay language. Based on the nyonya butter cookies what I have been baked before at here... Look-wise: nyonya butter cookies are typically piped into flower shapes and decorated with one piece of red glace cherry in the middle. Recipe-wise: Some contains custard powder. Some contains condensed milk or milk powder. Some contains vanilla or rose essence / extract. Most recipes that I have seen contain egg yolks and the cookie dough is usually soft enough to press and can retain the shape of the cookies pretty well even after baking.

How can a soft buttery dough retain the shapes of the cookies after baking?


Based on the copycat Jenny Bakery cookies that I have baked from here, I have learned that the use of 1) canned butter 2) flour with higher protein content and 3) less cornflour / custard powder to increase the overall protein content can help to retain the shapes of the piped cookies better.

So back to my first question... Can the use of 1) canned butter 2) flour with higher protein content and 3) less cornflour / custard powder makes a butter cookie nice, melty and buttery?

1) Canned butter? Margarine? NO!!! I prefer NOT to use canned butter to bake my butter cookies because I reckon that the cookies made with salted canned butter are way too salty for me. I don't like to use margarine because they are usually high in trans fat and lack of real buttery taste and fragrance.

2) flour with higher protein content? Yes that the flour with higher protein content will make the cookies more structurally stable but they will make the cookies less melt-in-the-mouth. What to do? Hence, I'm after an ultimate breaking point... I mean the right amount of protein in the flour that won't make your cookies collapse and still giving you the best melty texture. Hmmm... Very challenging!

3) cornflour or custard powder? Like I have mentioned earlier, the addition of cornflour / custard powder will decrease the overall protein content of the cookies making them more melty... yum yum but too much cornflour or custard powder added will make the cookies collapse... ewww! For this reason, I'm after an optimised composition.

Testing testing... From all the butter cookies that I have baked from here, here and here, I have managed to derive four recipes to test.

Recipe One is like the butter cookies that I baked at here with no eggs and yolks and I have added a small amount of cornflour into this recipe.

Recipe Two is like the Nyonya butter cookies that I baked at here but I have enhanced the recipe by reducing the amount of icing sugar and flour and remove the addition of cornflour to make the dough more easier to pipe... Hoping that the cookies will taste more melty.

Recipe Three is almost the same as Recipe Two but I have replaced custard powder with milk powder.

Recipe Four is almost the same as Recipe Two but I have replaced custard powder with corn flour and replaced the egg yolk with whole egg.


For all the recipes, I have used regular unsalted butter. No canned butter and margarine, of course. To standardize, I also have used all purpose / plain flour with 9.5% protein content and added vanilla paste instead of rose essence or extract.

The results??? Drums rolling...


Recipe One: The Nyonya Butter Cookies with no egg or egg yolks

nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
They look really good and melt in our mouth!
Thumbs up!

Recipe Two: The Nyonya Butter Cookies with egg yolk and custard powder

nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
Look-wise, the addition of egg yolk helps to hold their shapes better after baking.
Taste-wise, they are the MOST melt-in-the-mouth...
So melty and crumbly that the cookies crumbs will stick to your fingers when you hold these cookies.
So buttery and melty!!! Double Thumbs up!!!

Recipe Three: The Nyonya Butter Cookies with egg yolk and milk powder

nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
Like recipe two, the addition of egg yolk helps to hold their shapes really well after baking.
Taste-wise, they are also melt-in-the-mouth...
Just slightly less crumbly than the cookies made with recipe two.

So the crumbs won't stick to your fingers when you hold the cookies.
Easier to handle and stack in cookie jar.
So buttery and melty!!! And less fragile to handle!!! Triple Thumbs up!!!

Recipe Four: The Nyonya Butter Cookies with whole egg and cornflour

These cookies made with whole egg are very stable and so much easy to handle.
... but taste-wise, they are NOT nice!!!
These cookies are not melty not crispy... just soft and cake-like.
With the same amount of butter added, they are surprisingly so bland with the least buttery taste!!!

In summary...

We can't say that which cookie is the best but we can confidently say that the cookies made from recipe one, two and three are ALL NICE in their different ways. And they are easier to pipe and taste more melty than the Nyonya butter cookies that I baked at here.

Bake recipe one, two and three if you like melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies.
Bake recipe one if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be eggless.
Bake recipe two if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be ultimate melty but please be aware that the cookies can be fragile to handle.
Bake recipe three if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be melty and also easy to handle.

The cookies baked by recipe two and three can retain their shapes pretty well after baking.
Do not bake recipe four and so recipe four is not included in this post :)

nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
Bake these, recipe one if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be eggless.
nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
Bake these, recipe two if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be the MOST ultimate melty
... but please be aware that these cookies can be fragile to handle.
nyonya butter cookies biscuit samprit biskut ceri
Bake these, recipe three if you prefer your melt-in-the-mouth butter cookies to be melty.
These cookies are less fragile and easier to stack and handle.
Lesson learnt: Do not use whole egg to bake butter cookies!
It won't make your cookies crispy or any better!

These cookies are very easy to bake... for your family and Chinese New Year. Here's a video showing how I baked one of the recipes.


Here's another video showing how I baked all 4 recipes to compare them.


Here are the recipes that evolve and optimise from here, here and here.
Makes about 18 to 25 with each recipe, depending on the shape and sizes of the cookies

Recipe One, with no egg / egg yolk:
125g butter, soften at room temperature
25g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
110g all-purpose / plain flour with 10% protein
20g cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder

Recipe Two, with egg yolk and custard powder:
125g butter, soften at room temperature
25g icing sugar, sifted
15g egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
150g all-purpose / plain flour with 10% protein
20g custard flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder

Recipe Three, with egg yolk and milk powder:
125g butter, soften at room temperature
25g icing sugar, sifted
15g egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
150g all-purpose flour / plain flour with 10% protein
20g milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder

No Recipe Four, with whole egg because we reckon that the cookies are not good enough! Lesson learnt: Do not use whole egg to bake butter cookies.

glazed cherries, roughly chopped to decorate

Preheat oven at 325ºF or 170ºC or 150ºC fan forced. Line baking trays with baking papers.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment or a wooden spoon, cream butter and icing sugar for about 1 min or until creamy. Beat in egg yolk or none and vanilla and beat until just combined. Do not over-beat the mixture. Sift in the dry ingredients and use your hand or spoon to combine all into a soft dough. Do not knead the dough.

Spoon dough into a piping bag or cookie press fitted with a star nozzle. All dough should be soft enough to pipe even the dough made from recipe three is the firmest to pipe. If your cookie press can't press the dough by its dispensing mechanism, you might wish to push the dough out manually.

Pipe the dough into whirls or flower shapes, spaced well apart onto the prepared trays. Place a small piece of the cherry in the center of the piped out dough, pressing it lightly or do the same to the rest of the piped dough. Bake for 12-15 mins until pale golden brown. Allow the biscuits to cool slightly for about 10 mins on the trays and then transfer them onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Happy Baking
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7 comments:

  1. I totally love how you give us three options that you loved and ask us to choose one we feel will be fine for our taste buds... :) These cookies do look like they would melt in the mouth, except the last one, of course...

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  2. Thank you for the recipe �� my family loves them . I did no. 1 .no eggs

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  3. Hi Zoe, may I know if I can use a piping bag to pipe out the dough? I tried another recipe and my piping bag burst. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce,

      If your butter is well softened, you should be able to use a tough piping bag to pipe the cookie dough made by recipe one and two. The dough made by recipe three is slightly firmer than the other. Happy Baking!

      Zoe

      Delete
  4. oooh I have to give these a try, looks pretty good

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  5. That's my favorite biscuit. I eat almost day as snack. Even I understood to see from your post. If anybody want,then that's possible to bring variation of yummy biscuit This is really tasty and I like it. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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  6. Gorgeous! I've used your viennese cookie recipe a couple times and made them with glazed cherries and also dipped them in melted chocolate and my family and friends have loved it! Wanted to make a batch this new year but didn't get around to it! Really like how the recipes for this type of cookie is so simple and straightforward, now to go and stock up on piping bags!

    ReplyDelete