It is March and I love it. Finally we feel the warmth of the sun, although in an alternate pattern with snow squalls and rain during the days of a week, still the sense of spring is so near that I am thinking of cherry blossoms and daffodils already.
I was reading Terri's Blog over the weekend and saw her post on the tapioca starch cookies, called 'Kuih Bangkit' in Malaysia & Singapore. I have never attempted it before and thought it was a nice idea to mould the often plain white cookie dough into a pink Sakura, the flower of the cherry Blossom tree. I don't remember using Tapioca flour in any of my baking before and love to give it a try. As with most Asian types of cookies, the texture of this cookie is very different from the Western type of cookies. Most have very soft texture but not chewy like American cookies and some have the 'melt in your mouth' effect as this one but not buttery nor crunchy in anyways.
Tapioca flour is used over here mostly in cooking to thicken sauces and to make sweet puddings. Perhaps of its higher starch content, it absorbs the wet ingredients in this recipe quickly and I had to work quite fast with the rolling and moulding of the cookies before the dough becomes brittle. Best thing to do is to work with batches of the dough and cover the bowl containing the dough with a kitchen towel while working on one batch. And when the one that you are working with starts to get dry and brittle, sprinkle drops of the coconut milk to wet it . I find this really works when I had to maintain the malleable texture of the dough when I indented lines on the cut out Sakura flowers and inserted the sugar non-pareils to complete the look.
2 cups Tapioca Flour
2/3 cups Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Butter (Room temperature)
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup And 1/4 cup thick Coconut milk (Separate into 2 bowls)
Pink Gel food color (Wilton)
1)Pan fry the tapioca flour for 12 to 15 mins on medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
2)Beat the butter and the icing sugar till combined. Beat in the egg yolk to combine.
3)Add in 1/3 cup of the coconut milk to the batter and continue to mix.
4)Fold the tapioca flour into the butter mixture. A soft dough will form. If crumble appears, the dough is dry. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk by 1 teaspoon at a time till the right consistency is obtained.
5)Add in the pink gel food color and knead. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300F.
6)Divide the dough into 3 batches. Roll out 1 batch and cover the rest of the dough with a towel. Roll out to 1/3 inch thick and cut out with flower cutter. Arrange the cut outs in the baking pans and make indentations near the petals. Poke in the non pareils into the middle. Continue to work with the rest of the dough.
7)Bake for 15 mins, rotating the pans halfway. Remove and cool before storing.
Yields: 50 to 60 cookies