Monday, October 19, 2009

Cashew Cookie - A Malay Treat

cashew cookie recipe

In my head, I always want to do more than I have time for. When I was preparing for the our party, I saw the dishes my mum prepared for that special day to celebrate Hari Raya - sambal goreng pengantin, sayur lodeh, ayam masak merah, rendang and ketupat. S, ever the practical one, talks through my ideas and plans with me, and gently nudges when he sees my ambition getting ahead of me. This is a common occurrence — me, having wild ideas, and him, reining me back to reality. But sometimes, I manage to slip a couple of unplanned missions pass him.

Like two Saturdays ago.

We were preparing for our lunch party. S was doing some cleaning and clearing the house to make space for our guests. I had just finished labeling the serving plates. Five pounds of shrimps were waiting to be peeled and de-veined. I decided to mince dried shrimps and anchovies first. While my hands were busy, I was thinking that we didn't have enough sweets. One fruit cake and three kek lapis (I was testing recipes) were well and good, but I needed a cookie. I mean a cookie for the party, not for myself. Well, for myself too — just a few.

But which one? My mind mentally flipped through the ubiquitous cookies that make their appearances during Hari Raya and settled on the simplest one - the cashew cookie. Hands washed (and I mean really washed to remove the pungent scent of dried shrimps), I started scooping out the flour. I had butter, sugar, cashew and the remaining ingredients. No need to tell S, I thought. He'd just put the brakes on my batter. Our good friend L, came by with her 2½ year old daughter A, while I was measuring ingredients. So I enlisted A's help and she made her own cookies. She did very well — L just had to make sure that the cookies were about the same shape so they would bake evenly. I wish I have photos to share. I really need to step it up when it comes to photography.

Yes, making the cookies put me behind schedule and I had to stay up a little later than planned, but I am glad I did it. It was fun being able to introduce another Malay recipe to our friends. I also shared how I used to eat the cookie — I would peel the egg wash and enjoy that first because I thought it was the best part of the cookie!

cashew fruitWhen you see the pictures of the cookies I've made, you'll ask, why do they look like apples? In fact, I asked my mum that very question when she used to make them. See the picture on the left? That's the cashew fruit. The cashew nut that is jutting out of the fruit is really a seed. So the cookie is shaped to look just like the fruit! Clever, no? I've always wondered who was the first person who thought of it. With the addition of the cashew meal to the flour, it is also the perfect recipe to substitute some white whole meal flour. I used only ¾ cup substitution, but I will try more in the future. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, so feel free to halve it. The cookies are baked at a lower temperature so as not to burn the cashew nuts. They are so simple to make; I can easily see them being served during other festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

cashew cookie 2

cashew cookie 3

Cashew Cookie (Kuih Gajus)

5½ oz roasted cashew
5½ oz castor sugar
11 oz all-purpose flour
3 oz white whole wheat flour
1 ts baking powder
8 0z butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1 ts vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
about 70-80 roasted and unsalted cashew nuts, each split in 2 halves

1. Run the cashew pieces through the food processor with 3 tablespoons of castor sugar. Mix with the flours and baking powder.

2. Beat the butter with the remaining castor sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Pre-heat oven to 300°F. Line a baking tray with silicone mat or parchment paper.

3. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl with a fork. Shape each piece of dough, about 1.5 inches, into a ball. Take one half of a cashew and gently push into the dough. When you have made enough for one baking tray, use a small pastry brush or your index finger to brush the egg wash over each cookie. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until the egg wash turns golden.

Makes 120-140 cookies.


Not Hannah said...

These look delicious!!! I'm definitely adding this one to the "to try" list!

Anonymous said...

These are just SO cute! Sounds like a delicious recipe, too.

snottynose's mom said...

Hooray! It's finally here. I have been waiting for this! A enjoyed making these...and they are tasty. How long and how should I store these when I am done? Would like to bring a batch for D's thanksgiving meal but will have to make them 5 days ahead of time.

high over happy said...

I hope you guys try theses - they are a fun treat and especially great to make and bake with kids.

sn's mom - These cookies will last at least a month - that's how long we used to keep them for Hari Raya!

Lily said...

How interesting - the cookies look yummy too. I'll try making these with my son.

Mansi said...

I love the recipe, but I love your presentation even more!:) the cookies look so cute:)

btw, they'd be perfect for my sweet celebration contest I'd be glad if you could send them in for my blog event!

high over happy said...

Thanks Mansi - I will!

Trissa said...

I learn something new everyday! My first time to see a cashew fruit - and I love how the cookie looks like the fruit. Very cute!

snottynose's mom said...

finally going to try to make this sometime this week. will let you know how it turns out!

high over happy said...

yes! I'm sure A will show you how to make it properly :)

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