Happy Dragon New Year! May the New Year bring you prosperity, good health and joy. This year, the only CNY cookie I made is my long-time favourite, Kuih Momo (also known as Kuih Makmur). This crumbly, butter-scented cookie was only available during Chinese New Year and came in recycled Milo tins. My siblings and I used to ration this out precisely, and woe betide anyone who took more than their share! Even now, when I see a re-used tin, I fully expect to see cookies inside.
The recipe comes from Sunflower’s Recipe blog, which was recommended by Mum. The cookies are very moreish, but take small bites and be ready for crumbs. It is not advisable to put the whole cookie in your mouth, as the dry, crumbly texture have caused more than a few gasps for water.
Ingredients (makes about 50):
250g plain flour, dry roasted
40g icing sugar
75g full cream milk powder
150g ghee (clarified butter)*
¼ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
¼ cup sifted icing sugar, to coat the kuih
*If you don’t have ghee, you make clarified butter from ~200g unsalted butter
To clarify butter, heat butter over low heat until the creamy butterfat separates and floats on top. Skim off the butterfat, and continue to skim for several minutes, until the butter oil looks clear. Cool to room temperature. Store in fridge for up to 1 month. I’ve read that the butterfat can be used to flavour popcorn, but haven’t tried this.
To dry roast the flour, fry over medium heat for 7 minutes until it smells nutty. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Grind the salt with a tablespoon of the roasted flour using a mortar and pestle. Sift the icing sugar and milk powder, and grind any lumps to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture. Sieve the dry ingredients twice.
If using ghee or clarified butter, which has been refrigerated, microwave on high for about 30 seconds until melted. Beat an egg yolk into the ghee.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Add the ghee mixture to the dry mixture, and mix with a fork. When mixture is well combined, use your fingers to rub until it is evenly mixed. Squeeze handfuls of dough, and break off small pieces into small lumps. Using your palms, gently squeeze the small lumps, then with the lightest of pressure, roll into small balls.
Place the balls on a tray lined with baking paper. When the tray goes into the oven , turn the temperature down to 150°C. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cooked.
Cool for ~15 minutes, then roll in icing sugar. Store in airtight container.