Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Piped Butter Cookies Recipe

Piped Butter Cookies
One of my favourite cookie books is ‘Cookies Galore’ by Betty Saw. This book was a gift from my neighbour. Today, I’m going to try one of Ms Betty’s recipes – Butter Cookies. These are piped cookies. I tried making piped cookies a long time ago, but they didn’t turn out well because they lost their piped shapes during baking.
Icing sugar: A particular ingredient that is almost always used in piped cookies is icing sugar (instead of caster sugar). This is because icing sugar helps to prevent the cookies from losing their shape during baking. Icing sugar is also known as powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar. It is almost pure white in colour and has a soft texture like flour.
Baking powder: Ms Betty uses baking powder in her Butter cookie recipe. However, I am going to omit this ingredient because whenever possible, I try to avoid using chemicals. The purpose of using baking powder is to help the cookies rise during baking. But I don’t want the cookies to rise here. I want them to keep their original shapes as much as possible.

Butter: I am using Anchor unsalted butter today. This butter contains 82.9% fat, so it’s very buttery – perfect for these butter cookies!

Ghirardelli chocolate chips
Filling: I’m going to use my leftover pineapple filling (from making pineapple tarts). Ms Betty’s recipe says to fill the centres of the raw cookies with strawberry jam or any flavoured jam, then send them to be baked in the oven. I’m just wondering, wouldn’t the heat boil the jam and cause it to expand, liquefy and possibly overflow? I don’t have any jam in my fridge at the moment, so I can’t test that out. But I’ve some Ghirardelli chocolate chips around, so I’m going to melt them and pipe into the hollows of the baked cookies. This chocolate will solidify after about an hour at room temperature, so that means I won’t have problems stacking them one on top of the other in containers. These Ghirardelli chocolate chips are 60% cocoa, so they have an intense chocolate flavour – great for chocolate lovers!

Blue clip from Ikea
I must mention these clips that I bought from Ikea. They are so handy - no need for rubber bands anymore!

How to pipe cookies: If you own a cookie press, go ahead and use it. A cookie press is a small cylindrical device that allows you to put some dough in it, then press the attached lever to create cookie shapes. It’s quite a neat device and you’ll be impressed with the results! I have a cookie press but it’s spoilt and I don’t know how to repair it. Anyway, I’m going to use my trusty plastic piping bag and piping tube. The piping bag that I use is the disposable type and it’s triangular in shape. Just slide the piping tube into the bag, push it to the corner and snip off that end to allow the tube to push through. Then fill with dough till half-full and twist the top of the bag to prevent the dough from spilling out while piping. Do not fill the bag all the way to the top with dough, for the dough will surely spill all over the place when piping!

Piped Butter Cookies (adapted from Betty Saw’s Cookies Galore cookbook)
240g butter, cut into cubes
90g icing sugar
270g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
2 tsp vanilla essence
Optional: pineapple filling, chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Cream butter in mixer till fluffy. Sift icing sugar over butter, followed by flour. Mix. Add vanilla essence and mix till combined.
3. Pipe circular shapes onto baking trays. Optional: Place pineapple filling in the middle of the shapes.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes till cookies are light golden brown. Allow cookies to cool.
5. Optional: Pipe melted chocolate into the middle of the baked cookies.
Recipe Notes:
Upon preparation, the dough must be piped immediately and then baked without delay. I noticed that my first lot of cookies retained their shapes better than subsequent batches. I think it’s because the dough was starting to ‘melt’ due to our warm climate. So if you are making a lot of dough, keep half of it in the fridge while you are working with the other half. This ensures that the dough is still firm when piped and baked. If you intend to put filling in the middle of these cookie shapes, pipe the cookies in such a way that the hole in the middle is very small. If not, the filling will fall through and out of the cookies!

Video: Piping Cookies (by Oi Lin)

Piped raw cookie dough

Piped raw cookie dough with pineapple filling

Baked Piped Cookies with Pineapple Filling

Baked Piped Cookie with Chocolate Centre

Plain Piped Cookies

Verdict: Although the cookies expanded during baking, they managed to keep their piped shapes. They tasted quite ‘crunchy’ and yet melted in the mouth. They’re buttery and not too sweet. I’ll definitely make these again because they’re so quick and easy to prepare. I never did much piping in the past, but I’m starting to like it very much. It’s fun!

For information on where to buy the book ‘Cookies Galore’, email or visit

Question and answer segment:
Question: Bought your book and tried your kueh bangkit. Pretty successful I must say. Some recipes do not require the coconut milk to be cooked. What is the purpose of cooking it? Is it ok not to? Also, does kneading the dough more or less times make any difference to the cookies? I like the cookies really crisp and melt in the mouth. Thanks for your help.
Answer: The purpose of cooking fresh coconut milk (the kind that is obtained from squeezing freshly grated coconut) is to remove its slightly 'sourish' taste. Freshly squeezed coconut milk is superior in taste to the commercially packaged ones. However, there are ways to intensify the coconut flavour in commercially packaged ones. I understand that most bakers today may not have the time to go to the wet market to buy freshly grated coconut, then go home and squeeze the milk out. Commercially prepared ones are so much more convenient. However, they do lack the intensity of coconut flavour. That is why in my kueh bangkit recipe, I cooked the commercially packaged coconut cream so as to thicken it and intensify its coconut flavour.
Kneading the dough more or less times probably does not make the cookies more crisp and melt in the mouth. As with any dough, it is best not to overknead it. Knead it till just enough. To make crisp and melt-in-the- mouth kueh bangkit, it is important to roll the dough as thinly as you can. If the dough is thick, after baking you will find that the outside is crisp while the inside is still 'doughy'.
Also, it is important to bake them long enough so that the moisture is gone from the cookies. However, do not overbake them or they will become so brittle that they break apart in your hand before reaching the mouth!
Regards,Oi Lin


Anonymous said...

Can i know where did you get the ghirarddelli Chocolate chips in Singapore. Was searching online or a while but dont seem to be able to find that. thanks.

Oi Lin said...

Hi, I bought the Ghirardelli chocolate chips from Fairprice Finest at the Bukit Timah Plaza.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. shall go there to get that for my chocolate chips cookie! thanks!

Anonymous said...

is your latest cookbook/DVD already available ?


Oi Lin said...

Dear Jen, the next cookbook to be published by Boostprints is Anna Chan's Gorgeous Cupcakes for the Homebaker. It will be available for sale at around the last week of April. As for my DVD, it has to take a back seat for the moment because I am swamped with cookbook publishing projects and cakebox designing work. Thank you for your interest in my books!!
Regards, Oi Lin.

cookie said...

Hi Oi Lin, I tried out the cookie... like you said... so nice! I bought them to office and it was finished in no time!

Just like to share with you: the first I bake, I used Lurpak butter that spread quite a lot during baking that the piping is not very distinct.
The 2nd time, I used crisco instead of butter. It has a higher melting point and that helped to keep the shape nice and pretty.

I bought crisco from NTUC at Vista Point (woodlands, next to american school).


Sophie said...

Your cookies look so pretty! What a nice job!

fionaying said...

Dear Oi Lin:
I bought 2 of your books and I hope they are on their way. But I tried your piped butter cookies tonight. I followed everything on your recipe except I used organic raw cane sugar (my boyfriend refused me to use any powdered sugar). Everything worked out perfect until I bake it. I put in the oven on 350 degree F for about 10 minutes. THE MANY awesome looking cookies MELTED to one piece of flat burned thing! Do you know what I did wrong? I lived in USA and here is very dry and cold, today is about 50 degree F.
PLease tell me what had happened???
Thank You

Oi Lin said...

Dear Fiona,
Thank you for your order. When I last checked, the cookbooks have been mailed out and you should be receiving them soon. With regards to the Piped Butter cookies, it is essential to use icing sugar because that's the secret ingredient to helping the cookies keep their shape during baking.
Regards, Oi Lin