Malaysian Monday 90: Ghee Biscuits (cookies)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Monday everyone! Pardon the long silence, there were just too many things going on at the Skewer House. In fact, I was almost going to write off today’s Malaysian Monday post until inspiration struck.

To be honest, I struggle a bit to come up with food to feed these posts because many Malaysian dishes either take a long time to prepare or won’t be eaten by the rest of the family. Often, only MC Senior will be game enough to taste the meals, and most times, I end up being the person who has to eat it all. Great for the taste buds, not so great for the health and waistline!

Luckily, today’s treat was very well received and I won’t be bearing the brunt of all the rich ghee (clarified butter) myself :)

I’m not entirely sure whether these biscuits actually originated in Malaysia but since Mum made these almost every year during the Christmas festivities, I’m claiming them as part of the Malaysian Monday repertoire.

The handwritten recipe gave rather alarming quantities of ghee, sugar and flour (2 pounds each of the ghee and sugar, and 11 ‘tins’ of wheat flour), so I had to recalculate to make a more acceptable quantity. Also, I worked on the assumption that a tin had roughly 330ml volume,based on a condensed milk tin which was often used to measure dry ingredients. Using a conversion website, I roughly worked out that the ratios of ghee/sugar to flour was about 1 to 2. After baking, I think I could have reduced the flour a tiny bit, but overall, the taste and texture reminded me of the ghee biscuits of yore.

My mum would sometime decorate these with glace cherries or raisins, or tuck a whole almond in the middle. I kept things simple and just made balls, but added a few cloves for decoration.

The biscuits are actually incredibly simple to throw together and require no special tools, just a bowl and a spoon (or a rubber spatula if preferred). Oh, and a set of scales of course, unless you prefer to use the empty tin method ;).

Thanks for joining me today, may your week be smooth sailing and don’t forget to send any Muhibbah Malaysian Monday entries to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com. Suresh, from 3 Hungry Tummies, will be hosting the next round-up.

Ghee biscuits
(these are rough measurements, you may need to tweak a little to obtain the correct texture).

100g ghee
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
about 200g plain flour

Preheat the oven to about 180˚C. No temperatures were given in the original recipe but I opt for 180 whenever I’m in doubt. Seems to have worked so far.

Line a baking tray/ cookie sheet with baking paper.

Mix the ghee and sugar together until smooth, I just used a metal spoon for this.

Add half the flour and stir well to incorporate, then add the rest in a few batches until you get a sandy sort of dough. May not need to use all the flour. Try not the work the dough too much, I found it handy to use a rubber spatula at this point.

Pinch off bits of dough and roll into balls. Arrange on the tray, spacing the balls evenly. Decorate with glace cherries, raisins or cloves if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes or so until lightly golden.

Cool on the tray then gently remove and store in an airtight container. The texture of the biscuit will be quite fragile, which is part of its charm.


grace said...

what? you didn't want to make 8 pounds of cookies? silly lady. :)

Jennifurla said...

Thos look interesting, the texture looks nice

Jamie said...

These are adorable and look actually quite decadent and addictive. I am always fascinated to discover recipes from other cultures. Sorry I've been away from your blog so long, I love it every time I pop by! xo

Barbara said...

I'd love these with an almond in the middle, Shaz.

shaz said...

Grace - now that you put it that way, what was I thinking?

Jennifurla - the texture is quite powdery but really rich at the same time, a little unusual.

Jamie - no worries honey. I have been so busy, hardly had time to blog hop either!

Anh said...

I can only imagine how lovely and short the texture will be :)

Juliana said...

These cookies look great, light and so delicate. I have yet to bake with ghee. I like that you have cloves on it...extra flavor :-)
Hope you are having a great week Shaz!

Beth said...

Your biscuits look delicious! I know what you mean about bloggers eating a lot of what they make. I try to make things for the whole family, but it doesn't always work out that way!

shaz said...

ooops Barbara-how did I miss you, of course you can have one with an almond!

Anh - the texture is short but also a little crisp in the middle, from all the sugar I think.

Juliana - the clove does add flavour, MC Senior likes to eat the clove too.

Beth - too true!

pierre said...

must be deliciuos not sure i can find gee here in Paris !!pierre

Lisa said...

I love ghee!! I have a German brown butter cookie called Heidesand that I make during the holidays, but I've never actually used ghee in a cookie - I'm assuming it might taste similar barring the toastier taste of the brown butter? They look adorable and delicious! Miss you and hope to see you in the DB challenges again soon!

shaz said...

Pierre - good luck trying to source some ghee

Lisa - ooh that cookie sounds delish! I was late for DB but still made it :)

Guru Uru said...

I love using ghee in baking - its like constantly softened butter :D
These cookies look delish!

Choc Chip Uru