Nowadays, I will offer to accompany my mum to the market to purchase groceries and help her out with the food preparation when she cooks. Since she is working during office hours and hardly have time to prepare meals on most days, I would always look forward to her cooking on sundays. Last Sunday was slightly different from norm as I had the rare opportunity to engage in a baking session with my mum. "Let's do cookies together". She took me by surprise when she came to me and suggested that.
When it comes to cooking, I will take on a supporting role and help prepare ingredients such as peeling onions and dicing potatoes. It was a reversal of roles for our baking session. My mum helped out with the preparation of baking ingredients instead - weighing ingredients and sifting the flour, while I did the mixing.
During the baking session, we churned out marble shortbread and fudgy brownies. The marble shortbread caught my attention when I was browsing through one of my recently bought cookie book. Most of the time, we would only think of or come across marble cakes, cheesecakes or brownies. I thought marble cookies were kind of uncommon. Usually it will bull's-eyes cookies or pinwheel cookies instead.
My mum and younger brother enjoyed the cookies. I love the crunchy-crumbly texture but thought that the taste could improve with a bit more vanilla or some orange zests to bring out the contrasts of the slight bitterness of the cocoa. These marble shortbread are quite simple to make and they store really well in my IKEA cookie jar.
I reduced the sugar content in the brownies by a-third and the brownies baked much earlier than I expected, catching me off-guard. I had intended the brownies to be 30-40% fudgy but the batter firmed up and crumbs were almost fully developed when I was aware. Thankfully the brownies did not dry out and were still moist even though they were hardly fudgy anymore, probably 5% fudgy at most was too well done for me. This recipe is definitely a keeper as the unsweetened chocolate (vs semisweet/bittersweet chocolates) gave the brownies an intense chocolatey flavour.
Marble Shortbread ( recipe adapted from 三步骤成功做饼干 by 郭士弘)
Serving size: 20 - 25 cookies
Taste and texture: Crunchy-crumbly.
Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater or wooden spoon
2) Flour sieve
3) Measuring spoon set
5) Mixing bowls
6) Wire rack
7) Baking trays/ cookie sheets
8) Baking / parchment paper
150g unsalted butter
85g icing sugar
220g cake flour
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract/ essence
10g cocoa powder
Making the Cookies:
Cream butter: Beat the butter and icing sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes until butter mixture is fluffy. The butter need not be as well-creamed as that for making cakes.
Making the cookie dough: Sift in cake flour and beat on low speed to combine butter mixture and flour briefly. Stop once the dough starts to comes together. Scrape and fold in any stray flour with a spratula.
Divide the dough into two portions, one portion slightly bigger than the other. Combine the cocoa powder with the smaller dough and add the vanilla to the larger dough.
Shaping dough: Combine the plain dough and the chocolate dough. Give it some twists and turns in a irregular fashion to give it a marlbing effect. Do not overmix.
Place dough onto baking/parchment paper and roll the dough into a 1 inch (2.5cm) round log. Refrigerate or freeze until log is firm. Slice the log into rounds of about 1 cm thickness.
Baking the cookies: Place rounds onto baking trays lined with baking/parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 15 - 22 minutes. Once done, the cookies should be firm to the touch and will firm up further upon cooling. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in air-tight containers.
1) If cookies do not firm up well after cooling. It means they are underbaked. Fret not. Simply return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, then allow to cool.
2) When cookies are cooled, pressing into the cookies will not yield any dents/ imprints.
3) Using vanilla essence might be a better choice here. I think most of my vanilla extract evaporated while baking, hence I could'nt quite taste the vanilla flavour.