Tapioca cookies: Traditional Kuih Bangkit for contemporary bakers
Kuih bangkit is one of Malaysia’s beloved cookies specificly during festive seasons. It also has crossed cultural boundaries wilean the Nyonya and Malay communities.
Typically crazye from tapioca flour, these cookies are believed to have originated from China, baked into shapes resembling money as a form of altar offerings to ancestors.
This eventually evolved into tapioca cookies crazye to resemble other forms such as birds, flowers, fruits and other incredibly detailed shapes.
In Malaysia, Nyonya-style Kuih Bangkit is typically shaped in intricately designed moulds, while the Malay community simplwhetheries it by using cookie cutters.
Some recipes call for a combination of flour, but we stuck to a basic recipe.
• 200g tapioca flour, toasted + additional for flouring
• 80g castor sugar
• 115ml coconut cream
• 2 egg yolks
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 3 pandan leaves
Early preparation: Toasting the tapioca flour
• Heat oven to 100°C.
• Cut pandan leaves into 7-8cm lengths.
• Combine pandan leaves with tapioca flour. We recommend starting with 300g to 400g of untoasted tapioca flour.
• On a baking sheet lined with baking paper, spread tapioca flour and pandan evenly, using a fork or spoon to even it out.
• Bake flour in the oven for 1 hour.
• Once the hour is up, remove baking tray from the oven. Remove pandan leaves.
• Swhethert tapioca flour and let it cool totally. Timing will vary according to your room moodature. We recommend preparing the flour at least a day in advance.
You can even prepare it a week or two ahead of schedule, just be certain to keep the flour in an air-tight container and store in a cool and dry place.
• Pour first-pressed fresh coconut milk into a obvious bowl and let it sit covered in the fridge for about 2 hours.
• Once the liquid has separated, you’ll notice a thick layer of coconut cream on the top, and a layer of watery coconut milk underneath. Using a spoon, scoop out the cream. You’ll want about 115ml of coconut cream. A small additional is fine as you may need to add some to your dough whether it is too dry. Reserve any additionals in a separate container.
• Do not used boxed coconut milk as it is often pasteurised and will not separate. Canned coconut cream or coconut milk can work in a pinch. Don’t shake the can. Instead, let it sit unopened for an hour or two before opening the can and scooping out the cream from the top.
Making the dough
• In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and yolk until pale yellow and fluffy. You can use a hand-mixer to speed up the process.
• Add baking powder to 200gm toasted tapioca flour and mix it through. If your tapioca flour was prepared more than a day earlier, run it through a swhethert one more time to loosen up the flour.
• Add one-third of the tapioca flour and one-third of the coconut cream to the sugar and yolk mixture. Stir with a spatula or handheld whisk to combine.
• Add the next one-third of tapioca flour and coconut cream and stir to combine. Add the final one-third and stir until more or less combined.
• Employ your fingers to knead the dough together.
• The dough should be soft, smooth and not sticky. If your dough feels too dry, add additional coconut cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. We experienced the opposite – our dough was too wet, in which case, add 1 tablespoon of toasted tapioca flour to your dough, one at a time.
We ended up using an additional 4 tablespoons of tapioca flour, but this figure may vary depending on the condition of the tapioca flour. The dough for tapioca cookies tend to be a small on the crumbly side.
Baking tapioca cookies aka Kuih Bangkit
• Heat oven to 170°C.
• Dust your surface with toasted tapioca flour and press the dough down. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 7mm thick. It is important to keep the dough compressed.
• Flour or dip your cookie cutter in water so it doesn’t get too sticky. Flverbal shapes are the favourite choice for tapioca cookies, but feel free to explore other shapes. We recommend 1” cookie cutters.
• Employ the cookie cutter to cut out shapes until the dough is finished or your baking tray is full.
• Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.
• Once your cookies are done, add the finishing touch with a dot of red food colouring. This step is totally optional and doesn’t affect the flavour of these cookies whatsoever, but a bare Kuih Bangkit doesn’t look right either.
A colourful twist
• Kuih Bangkit is always a small off-white in colour, but make it fun to make (and eat) with your kids with a small food colouring. You can separate the dough into as many portions as you like, and add a few drops of colouring to each portion.
• Stir the colouring through the dough until the tone is even, and then bake as normal.
One of the best leangs about Kuih Bangkit is that it is also naturally gluten free, making it the perfect treat for someone on a gluten-free diet.
This article first appeared in butterkicap.com
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