Chinese New Year's Cookies

Chinese New Years is this coming Monday, so I decided to make some sugar cookies with Chinese New Years royal icing designs. They were very fun to make! I tried piping dragons for 2012, but they looked silly.

The sugar cookie recipe is delicious! I loved the taste and texture. With 2 1/2 cups of butter, it better be delicious! I found the recipe from sweetopia.

For the designs, I piped them on parchment paper. I placed the paper over a printout and traced the outline. I let them dry overnight before putting them on my cookies.


2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing:
6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25 lbs of powdered sugar
*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.
In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Banh Cam | Vietnamese Sesame Seed Balls

So...these are deep fried. I'm not a fan of deep fried foods, but I was craving one of these sesame seed balls for weeks. I had to give in.

Basically, if you had mochi before, the texture is chewy. However these banh cam are also slightly crispy. "Banh Cam" in vietnamese is 'Orange Pastry'. Although I don't know why it is called that, I assume it's because it's fried into a golden orange hue?

They have a mung bean filling inside, which I love. When frying these, please be careful. They have a tendency to explode open and splash hot oil on your hands. This can be prevented by adding some instant mashed potato flakes to the dough. I made small golf ball sized ones, which makes about 50 balls with this recipe. 25 if you make tennis ball size, which are the traditional size.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.


16 oz Glutinous Rice Flour
1 Cup Rice Flour
2 1/2 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Tbs baking powder
2/3 Cups of Mashed Potato Flakes (Instant)

8 oz of Peeled Mung Beans
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (Optional)

Sesame Seeds

1. Soak the mung beans in warm water over night. If in a hurry, soak for at least 3 hours.
2. Place the soaked mung beans in a steamer, and steam for roughly 20 minutes. The beans should be soft and easily smashed between fingers.
3. Immediately place mung beans in a bowl and mash. Add the sugar and coconut and combine.
4. Shape into small balls. This filling ball determines the size of the actual pastry. 
5. Set aside in refrigerator, covered.

6. Warm the water and dissolve the sugar in a bowl. Add the mash potato flakes and mix until dissolve.
7. Add the baking powder, followed by both rice flours.
8. Knead for 5 minutes until a dough like play-doh consistency is made.
9. Gather small amounts of dough and shape into balls. Smash each ball into pancake-shapes.
10. Place filling inside, and wrap to seal off filling.
11. Place in a bowl filled with sesame seeds.
12. Using clean hands, roll the ball in the seeds and on your hand to press the seeds into the ball.
13. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling. Allow the balls to rest for at least 1 hour.

14. Heat oil to 325 F. Use enough oil to completely submerge the balls. Place the balls into the oil and fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown.
15. Enjoy warm.

Agar Gelatin Dessert

So I found this cute heart shaped mold lying around my home. I decided to buy an agar gelatin mix and filled in the mold with nice colors to produce a pretty dessert.

Jello could also be put in the mold, but jello is transparent, so I don't think it would work so well. I thought I'd share it with you. There's no recipe though. I used an almond flavor agar mix found in an asian super market and dyed it with food coloring.

Aren't the bunnies cute?

Fondant Roses Tutorial

So I got an Ultimate decorating kit for Christmas, and I started playing with the rose making tools for fondant. I made an easy tutorial so you can make beautiful roses with fondant too! I made a New Years cake with the beautiful roses.

First off, you need fondant. You can by some from Michaels or make your own. I made a marshmallow fondant that can be found here.

The only special tools you need are (picture below):
thin foam
2 cutters
and a ball tool

I read online that you need wires for the roses to dry on, but I just used toothpicks and a styrofoam block.

So lets begin making roses! They are quite simple. 

1. Make small tear drop shapes fondant pieces and stick them on the toothpicks. Allow them to dry for an hour before moving on to step two.

2. Roll out the fondant as thin as you can. The thinner it is, the more realistic the flower looks. The fondant should almost be transparent. Cut out several pieces using the rose cutter.

3. Make five 1/4 inch long cuts in the rose at each petal. Place one of the pieces on the thin foam. Using the balling tool, with half the ball on the fondant and half on the foam, gently roll the edges of each piece so that it thins out the rose petals.

4. Poke the center of the rose piece with one of the toothpicks. Then wrap one of the petals around the teardrop. 

5. Alternating between the petals, wrap the rest of the petals around the tear drop. Brush on a little water to help make it stick.

6. To make a bigger rose, add a second layer of rose petals to the rose bud just like above. Remember to use the ball tool again. Alternate between petals again.

7. To make a full bloom rose, add another layer, for a total of three layers. 

8. Roll out some green fondant and use the second cutter. Using the balling tool with thin foam, roll from the edge to the center of each piece.

9. Hold the flower upside down, push the green piece through the center on to the toothpick. Slide it all the way down to the flower, apply some water to attach.

These are what a rose bud, rose, and full bloom rose looks like:

I hope this tutorial helps you make beautiful roses too!

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