Sunday, 14 February 2010

New Year Goodies

As I said, I have been busy in the kitchen leading up to New Year.  I've decided I want to give new year food gifts to family and it's been a challenge to find the time after work.  Nevertheless, I have made peanut cookies, pineapple tarts and steamed radish cakes for my new year goody bag.  I am adding tangerines, japanese pears and some lai-see sweets to complete the ensemble.  I had wanted to present the gifts in a round basket but had trouble sourcing these.  Besides, I think it would have to be a large one too!  All I can come up with is a large gift bag.

Here's what I've made:

Peanut Cookies

They were shaped using a measuring spoon so each one is the same size.  They are quite simple to make once you've got everything prepared.  The time consuming bit is the peanut preparation.  It's well worth the effort as the result is a light and crispy, crumbly cookie with an aromatic roasted peanut aroma.  Very popular with my family!

The recipe is not mine but from another food blogger. 
Here is the link to her blog Chinese Peanut Cookies

Here is the peanut preparation. 
I roasted the peanuts in the oven til they were brown and fragrant.  You can do this in a dry wok/frying pan but have to be careful to toss peanuts constantly otherwise you will scorch the peanuts!  I often do that so I find the oven easier - the peanuts roast more uniformly too which makes skin-shelling easier. 
When peanuts are cool enough to handle, you just rub the skins off with your fingers.  My mum does this in handfuls.  When this is all done, she tosses the peanuts gently over the empty sink and blows on them simultaneously.  The papery skins fly off into the sink which you can clear up later.  This I find too messy, so I have the laborious task of rubbing each peanut in my fingers and putting the skins in a separate bag for disposal later.
I used my hand blender attachment to grind the peanuts.  I can't get it to a fine powder but my family like the course grainy texture of the peanuts.

The next bit is easy as you just mix the ground peanuts with flour and sugar and add some oil.  It comes out looking like wet sand but it's not a problem.

When you squeeze the sandy mix together it stays clumped.  So I used a measuring spoon to get my little cookie shapes.  I then placed these on a baking tray (no greasing required) to bake.  You can glaze with egg-wash.  I forgot.

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