Corner Café

February 5, 2010

Biskut Sarang Semut / Ant Nest Biscuits

Filed under: Biscuits & Slices — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,
Just a note to all the Chinese readers here who use my links to Chinese blogs and websites in the sidebar, I’m moving them to my newly refurbished Kopitiam and will soon delete them here in Corner Café as the sidebar links are getting too long. Therefore in the future, all the links here in the sidebar will only go to English websites only. Happy reading 🙂



Anybody familiar with ant nests? I for one have never seen an ant nest before, although I have seen anthill, is that the same thing? Anyway these are Malay-style cookies called Ant Nest Biscuits. I have never tasted or seen them before, so I would assume the chocolate sprinkles (or chocolate rice) are the ants and the golden cookies are the nests.
From what I could find of the recipes, there are two styles – one which uses more custard powder than plain flour very much comparable to the recipes for Dragon Cookies; the other style more plain flour than custard powder and more reminiscent of recipes for Melting Moments.
I decided to try out the style with more custard powder first. They did taste very similar to Dragon Cookies, but they have a softer crunch and not as crisp, all in all still very delicious. However I would prefer them to be just that bit more lighter in texture and crispier. This is probably due to my drying the custard powder first in the microwave and then sifting the powder, I lost almost 20g in the process and have to add more cake flour at the end to firm up the dough. I think next time I will just reduce the butter to 85g and use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cake flour only (compare my Dragon Cookies recipe) to make these cookies for a lighter and crispier texture.

Makes approx. 50 mini-muffin sized biscuits

170g custard powder
115g butter, softened
70g icing sugar mixture
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
115g cake flour, adjust as necessary

chocolate sprinkles (chocolate rice), for topping
1. Put custard powder on a piece of kitchen paper and put into the microwave. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and transfer the custard powder onto a new piece of kitchen paper. Put back into microwave and cook on HIGH for another minute. Remove the custard powder and sift it into a mixing bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 160°C. Arrange mini-muffin paper cases on baking sheets.
2. In the meantime, cream softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
3. Add sifted custard powder to the creamed mixture. Mix well.
4. Gradually add sifted cake flour until the dough is just firm, and not semi-fluid anymore. The amount of cake flour needed depends on how much moisture is removed from the custard powder; so you may need less cake flour or you may need more.



5. Put some dough into a potato ricer and squeeze out noodle strands onto a plate. Carefully pick up a tiny bundle of noodle strands and place into paper cases. Repeat making noodle strands and fill the cases until all the dough is used up. If you don’t have a potato ricer, use a grater to make strands. Don’t press out the dough into strands all at once as they tend to stick together and you will have difficulty in separating the strands.

Don’t squeeze out all the dough at once and don’t pile it up like what I did, the bottom part all squashed together and I have to re-squeeze the noodle strands again.

6. Scatter a little chocolate sprinkles on top of each cup.


7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes; don’t let the biscuits get too brown, they should still be quite golden in colour. Let cool and store in airtight containers.


Taste: Lightly crunchy, shortbread-like biscuits
Consume: Best within 1-2 weeks
Storage: Store in airtight containers
Recipe Reference(s): ‘Biskut Sarang Semut’ recipe by Malaysian cookery writer Norzailina Nordin


  1. SD, this is so interesting. I want to try it too! Now I wonder whether Singapore has a potator ricer? Do you think they sell it in Perth? A friend of mine is going there in March, just wondering how easily can this be bought?

    I always envy people who can write in Chinese and English. My Chinese has deteriorated to an embarrassing stage.

    Gong Hei Fa Choi in advance.

    Comment by Edith — February 5, 2010 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

    • Hi Edith,
      I’m sure you should be able to buy potato ricer in Singapore (mine is made in China, lol). As for Perth, I’m not familiar with shops there, but I assume any kitchen shops would stock it. If you can’t find it, let me know, I can send one to you.

      Actually using potato ricer to make these cookies is my own idea, all the recipes I got said to grate the dough with a grater 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 7, 2010 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  2. SD,
    Will picking up the strands with fork be helpful? Such an interesting biskut. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Comment by Tuty — February 5, 2010 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

    • Haha, you know what, that never occurred to me, thinking about it, yes, a fork would be easier to pick up the strands. Thanks for the tip 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 7, 2010 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  3. Seadragon, will kopitiam and this blog have the same recipes?

    Comment by VaporChef — February 6, 2010 @ 6:12 am | Reply

  4. Edith
    I’m from Perth. Yes you can get the potato ricer here. Just go to any of this shop, House (, kitchenwarehouse ( and or even myers or davidjones.

    Comment by flower — February 8, 2010 @ 12:55 am | Reply

  5. Edith
    You can ask you friend to find it in Myer n David jones (in the city) or shops like House ( or kitchenwarehouse ( I bought mine in House.

    Comment by flower — February 8, 2010 @ 1:00 am | Reply

  6. Thanks SD, I will try to find it locally and if failed, will ask my friend. Thanks flower for the direction. Let’s hope I don’t have to trouble my friend who is not really into household stuff. hehehe.

    SD, Gong Hei Fai Choy.

    Comment by Edith — February 8, 2010 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  7. I like biskut sarang semut

    Comment by liza — June 13, 2010 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

  8. […] These little cookies are often served around Hari Raya. They are my personal favorite Raya cookie because it is one of the few ones served without flour (I’m gluten-free, in case you were not aware). This recipe comes from Corner Cafe.  […]

    Pingback by “Sedap” – Vagabond Viewfinder — September 21, 2018 @ 12:05 am | Reply

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