February 15, 2014

Love Cookies for Valentine's Day 愛心餅乾

Love Cookies for Valentine's Day 愛心餅乾

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies
By Published: 2014-02-15
Dear readers, it's Valentine's Day and we want to send you a Love Cookie!  We are really excited because this year, for the first time in 19 years, the stars have aligned to make Valentine's Day and the last day of the Chinese New Year Festival, also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, happen on the same day!  On this day the Chinese traditionally celebrated by gazing at the first full moon of the new year, eating Tong Yuan Rice Dumplings, and writing enticing riddle poems on glowing lanterns to attract their secret or not so secret loves.

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies
Chinese Valentine's Day is also known as Lantern Festival Day
Why is that exciting for us, this coincidence of dates, you may ask?  Why because we're going to celebrate Valentine's/Chinese Valentine's Day with both Love Cookies and sexy yummy Tong Yuan, of course!!  What a fantastic excuse for a double yummilicious treat and what a great meeting of East and West, eh?

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies
Love cookies painted by my little girl
As we have already posted about making yummilicious Tong Yuan, today we write about the terrific new recipe we discovered for making our Love Cookies.  Our rolled sugar cookies turned out tender, tasty, flat and just beautiful for painting and decorating.  It was also super easy to roll out and use our heart shaped cookie cutters, something which we had major disaster a lot of trouble with before.  Armed with this recipe I'm pretty sure that we'll be decorating and making these fun cookies much more often which is great because my little girl just loves to paint cookies!

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies

These are our sugar cookies cooling after baking.  See how flat and even they are?  And how they kept their shapes?  Again, great cookie recipe!

chinese, chinese new year, love cookies, chinese valentine's day, valentines's day, cookies, recipe, tong yuan, love cookies

For the royal icing to decorate the cookies we did some research and decided to do a basic icing made with egg whites.  A lot of recipes use something called meringue powder we couldn't find any in the stores.  Anyways it seemed like a very processed sort of food thing which is something I like to stay away from if possible.  So, to get around the problem of using raw egg matter, we decided to use egg whites but to try pasteurizing our own eggs.  (See link here for more info and photos!)  It was easy to do and reassuring to the mind.  We now had pasteurized egg whites to use for our icing!  And then, waste not want not being our motto, we saved up the leftover egg yolks and made a batch of homemade Crushed M&M Vanilla Ice Cream.  Yummm...  But that is a post for another day.

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My little girl's cute gingerbread baby!
I have to confess that I am pretty new to this kind of cookie making.  My 媽媽 never made cookies with us as we were growing up.  I guess it's wasn't a very Chinese mom of that generation kind of thing.  But now that my little girl and I have been doing this decorated cookie thing for a while, I have to confess, that while time consuming (and kinda hard!), I find that more and more I have cookies on the brain.  (I have a big ol' pile of cute cookie cutters now!  老公's rolling his eyes again.) And it's a great kid cookie project!  Just give your kid some small paint brushes and let them dip and paint.  You'll be surprised how great their cookies will look and how proud they'll be at their creations.

Happy Valentine's/Chinese Valentine's Day and lots of delicious food love to all!

Sugar Cookie Recipe
(Adapted from SweetSugarbelle blog here.  If you are at all curious about making these decorated cookies you have to check out her site.  Her cookies are truely amazing!  I'll bet you'll get hooked like I did.)

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (227g)
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour (400g)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Allow butter to soften by leaving out for a couple of hours.  Cream softened butter and sugar together.
Add egg and extract and mix.  Mix flour with baking powder and salt, then add, little by little to the wet mix until incorporated.  The dough should not stick.  If sticky add a bit more flour until just not sticky.  Allow dough to rest 5 minutes.

Flour working surface and roll out to 1/4" thickness.  Cut out cookie shapes and bake at 400F or 204C for 7-8 minutes.  Cookies should not brown.  Allow to cool completely before putting in air tight container.  Wait one day before decorating with icing.

Pasteurized Egg Recipe

Ingredients:

3 medium eggs
3 cups water

Directions:
Allow eggs to come to room temperature by leaving out for 1 hour.  Fill small pot with water and carefully put eggs in.  Cook over medium heat until temperature reached 150F or 65C.  Remove from heat and let eggs sit in pot for 3 minutes.  Remove egg and allow to cool before using.  

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

3 pasteurized egg whites (see recipe above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
food coloring

Directions:
Beat egg whites and vanilla til frothy.  Add the sugar little by little until incorporated and shiny.  Using high speed beat till stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Separate icing to different bowls and add desired food coloring and mix.  To adjust icing, add either more icing sugar (thicker) or very small amounts of water (thinner).  Use thicker icing to pipe outlines or draw in details.  Use thinner icing to 'flood' the cookies within your piped outline.  Tip: We used small squeeze bottles to pipe out the lines and a spatula to smooth out flooded icing.

More Sweet Temptations at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese new year, tong yuan, black sesame, sweet rice dumpling, 黑芝麻湯圓Tong Yuan Rice Dumpling 黑芝麻湯圓

Chocolate Cake Recipe, birthday cake, kid projectChocolate Birthday Cake | Kid Project

strawberry frozen yogurtBlueberry Ice Cream | No Machine Needed
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