Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dove and Poinsettia Melt-In-Your-Mouth Butter Cookies (high butter content)

I have a request for extra buttery Christmas themed butter cookies as gifts so I did a search and found a simple recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover for Chinese New Year cookies that is simple and requires few ingredients. Although the recipe calls for piping the soft dough into simple swirls or simply dropping a scoop of dough on baking sheet to bake, I took up the challenge of shaping the dough into poinsettias and doves!

This recipe is really simple but shaping it using cookie cutters requires some speed, working with small batches of frozen dough and constantly wetting/washing the cookie cutter. Due to the high butter content (1:1 ratio for butter:flour, as compared to 2:3 for shortbread) of the cookie dough, it tends so spread a little during baking even though I freeze/ chill the piped/cut-out cookies prior to baking. So something simple became a challenging bake :p.

I tweaked the original recipe a bit to accomodate the different way of handling the dough (lower corn flour content). I lowered the oven temperature to prevent the coloured cookies from turning brown. You may choose to bake at 180°C instead as the original recipe suggests if your cookies are not coloured.

Ingredients (makes about 50 doves OR 30-35 poinsettas, depending on size of flowers):
225g butter (I just used one block of SCS unsalted butter)
60g icing sugar
200 plain flour
25g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional but I added)

Red yeast powder
Gel food colouring
Cocoa powder
Chocolate sprinkles

1. Beat butter, sugar and salt until creamy.

2. Sift in the flours. Mix well to form a soft dough.

3. If you are making cookie cutter cut-out cookies, divide the dough into small batches and roll between two baking sheets until about 5-6mm thick. The dough should be about the size of your hand when rolled out. Freeze the dough until firm.

If you are making piped cookies, transfer the batter into piping bag fitted with a star tip or any tip you like.  If you don't have special tips for piping, check out this link for how to pipe flowers/ leaves using ziplock bag cut into specific shapes with scissors, which I did :). Divide the dough and colour with red yeast powder and/or gel food colouring if you are making the poinsettias. Ratio of red:green:yellow is approximately 6:3:1.

4. Cut out frozen dough with cookie cutter that is wet with iced water. Place the cut-outs on baking tray lined with baking sheet. Once the dough becomes soft and sticky, it is time to stop working on it and roll it out again and freeze. Add chocolate sprinkle for the eye of the dove.

Nice well-defined outlines!

5. Freeze the tray of cookies before baking in pre-heated oven at 160°C for 11-15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Keep an eye on them as every oven is different and your baking time may vary. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Freshly baked. Not so well-defined outlines. 

If your cookies seem a bit less well-defined as you would like them to be, you can pipe the outline or draw in some features to rectify this. I piped chocolate paste made from cocoa powder dissolved in some water.

Looking slightly better!

6. If you are making poinsettias, you may wish to prepare a template to place under the baking sheet to help you with the piping but that is optional. Use a leaf tip to pipe out the leaves, followed by the six petals. Finally, pipe yellow dots in the center. Try not to make the flowers too big as they will tend to break more easily. About 3-3.5cm would be good.

Piped poinsettias! Looking pretty!

7. Freeze the tray of piped flowers while preheating the oven. Bake at 160°C for 13-17minutes. These are harder to tell if they are done due to the colouring. Safer to underbake first then send them back into the oven again to bake for another 3-4 minutes before checking again.

Not so well defined after baking! The super-big flower broke while being handled.

After the cookies have cooled, pack them in airtight containers. I packed them in glass jars decorated with glitzy christmasy tape.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. I wish I am the lucky one to receive such pretty cookies packed in a christmasy jar! I can see that making such cookies requires a lot of skills and patience and you are really good at it. :)

    1. Thanks Miss B! I would be more confident making one of these for you now after my first attempt :)