Thursday, 12 February 2009

Tender little things - custard cashew bites

I have been meaning to share these tender little treats with you for a while now. Last week S, my sister-in-law , told me she would like to make some butter cookies - the really short and crumbly sort. Although the ones she helped Mum make for Chinese New Year tasted good, she was a little disappointed with the texture as they turned out slightly crunchier than expected.

The texture of biscuits all come down to the golden ratio of fat : sugar : flour. By altering these quantities, different textural outcomes can be achieved. Depending on my mood, sometimes I crave the crunchy and nutty. at times. the chewy or crisp and the other times, the sandy and crumbly. The size and texture of these cashew biscuits make them a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea.

These cashew biscuits are extremely easy to make and if you don't have a piping bag and a star-nozzle, you can easily shape them into balls 2cm in diameter and press a cashew down the middle to flatten slightly.

The biscuits below were ones I made with S when I was in Kuala Lumpur over Chinese New Year. They were made using a rather old-fashion contraption we found in Mum's drawer - an Italian biscuit press. We used several different discs but agreed these designs looked the best. Also, we found it was quite alright to substitute the custard powder with the same amount of cornflour without unduly affecting the texture or flavour of the biscuit.

custard cashew bites
250g butter
120g pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
270g plain flour
60g custard powder
(makes 3 dozen)
preheat oven to 160C
beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and well combined
sift flour and custard powder into butter mixture
mix until dough just comes together
shape using a biscuit press or a piping bag fitted with a 2cm star nozzle (alternatively, just roll teaspoonful of dough into balls and press down lightly with a cashew)
bake for 14 minutes turning tray around after the first 7 minutes to ensure the biscuits cook evenly
remove from baking tray and allow to cool on a rack

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