These are one of the biscuits or cookies I grew up eating every Chinese New Year. I wonder if they are still popular in Sarawak nowadays during festive seasons because strangely enough, I cannot find a single recipe or even an image/photo online! Maybe they have been replaced by the milky Kuih Momo…
Yes, there are a lot of coconut biscuits/cookies online, but they are all the flattened types, you know, very western-style rolled out or cookie-cutter ones. I have not expected that the recipes for these little round ones with a hole punched on top (they look like the ancient Chinese copper coins, round with a square hole!) are so elusive in this digital age. I remembered fondly they were the most crumbly little buggers because the outside coconut coating would inevitably fall off easily and the base of the compartmental tray for serving these cookies would be full of dried coconut when it was empty!
Last weekend, I was clearing my refrigerator and found a half package of desiccated coconut. Thinking of using it up, I remembered these cookies from my childhood. So I went online and search for the recipe. Hmmm, after half an hour of googling, including Malay terms and image searches, not a single result appeared for these round cookies! Very unusual indeed! Normally a few minutes of quick searches online would turn up quite a few results for what I was searching for…
Feeling nostalgic for them, I did what I could and compared a few recipes for the flat coconut biscuits/cookies, then adapted them for these round coconut biscuits/cookies. Back then, I remembered plain flour would be used to make most festive biscuits/cookies, and they would either be sunned for a day, or dry-fried in a wok until light and dry to give the biscuits/cookies a lighter texture, and presumably also to keep longer. Here, to save time, I could not be bothered with the extra work, and chose to use cake flour instead. Luckily they came up triumph and brought me back to all those childhood years of eating them! To give them a fresh new look, apart from the normal version with the hole on top, I did another version with a chopped red glacé cherry on top for a more festive look. And a Happy, Prosperous, Healthy, Golden Year of the Dragon to all my Chinese readers!
Makes approx. 50 small cookies
125g butter, softened
70g icing mixture (confectioners’ sugar)
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon rum essence, or vanilla extract
70g desiccated coconut
225g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
extra desiccated coconut, and/or red glacé cherries
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line baking sheets with baking paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside. If using glacé cherries, cut each cherry into 8 pieces.
2. Cream softened butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and essence.
3. Fold in desiccated coconut and sifted flour mixture.
4. Divide dough into 10g marble-size pieces and round into balls.
5. To finish, either top each ball with a small piece of cherry, or roll the balls in extra desiccated coconut then punch a hole halfway down each ball with the thicker square end of a chopstick.
6. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until just lightly golden.
Taste: Short textured butter cookies
Consume: Best within 1-2 week
Storage: Store in airtight containers
Recipe Reference(s): -