Pearl of the Orient

This blog is inspired by the rich cluture and food found in Penang, an island in Malaysia known as the Pearl of the Orient. The author of this blog is Japanese influenced and she enjoys travelling, cooking and ofcourse, eating.

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Location: Penang, Malaysia

I'm a little plump rabbit who lives in Penang. I hop around with a camera round my neck snapping photos of Penang and foodstuffs. If you meet a rabbit like that in Penang, that should be me ; )

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Joint SHF/IMBB - Virtual Cookie Swap: Gingerbread Teddies on the Loose

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It’s that time of the month again where food bloggers from all over the globe crack their little heads to whip up something special in the kitchen to post it up in blogsphere. In conjunction with the festive season, IMBB and SHF join hands this month to create special food blog event to remember with a theme called Virtual Cookie-Swap!

But that’s not all folks, as I’ve said, this time is extra special! 12 lucky winners will walk away with a cool cookie book called “The Cookie Sutra” (complimentary of the event) – so, you can bet that everybody’s working overtime in their kitchen to win this. A big thanks to the host and hostess, Alberto from Il Forno and Jennifer from Domestic Goddess, for organizing and sponsoring this wonderful event.

My entry for this month is the traditional favourite, Gingerbread Cookies and it was a recipe from my cooking textbook, On Cooking (by Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause). The recipe was rather easy to follow. I didn’t have any trouble mixing the dough but challenge came when I wanted to shape the cookies. Firstly, I didn’t have a bear-shaped cookie cutter and I had to make do with a bear-shaped jelly mould. Secondly, to make matters worse, my cookie dough came out a bit too soft (even after refrigeration) to hold the shape of the bear and it broke into pieces when I wanted to transfer it to the baking tray.

Arghh! I got a bit frustrated with the dough and re-checked the recipe to see if I’ve gone wrong with the ingredients or steps. But as far as I can see, I didn’t make any mistakes and finally decided that most likely fault lies in the molasses. Honestly, I am not too familiar with this ingredient. I bought a couple of pre-packed ones labeled ‘molasses - 120 grams’ (but no with no further info) from a cake supply shop at our local market. I’ve never seen or handled them before in my life… so I guess it could be due to the wrong type of molasses. I don’t know, maybe some expert can impart some knowledge about molasses?

I decided to fold in a bit more flour into the dough to make if firmer. Then, with great care and delicateness I managed to shape the bears and successfully transfer it onto the baking tray. Phew! What a relief, I thought the ordeal was over but to my horror, when the bears came out of the oven, they were glued to the baking sheets! Luckily, I’ve managed to remove them from the baking sheet with a sharp knife. I was extra careful with the next few batches. I’ve made sure to generously grease the baking sheet with butter and dusted it with a bit of flour to keep the cookies from sticking…

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Two little gingerbread bears dressed in their holiday outfit. Oh! They're going on a trip to somewhere special to celebrate Christmas. He is wearing a green and yellow striped polo shirt while she is dressed in a feminine green frock with lovely pink roses and heart shaped buttons...

It was midnight when I finally iced the gingerbread bears with royal icing. I’ve completed my mission around 2:30 am in the morning and went off to work like a zombie the next day. But overall, I would say the hard work was worth it as the bears did turn out great. My siblings and especially my mom really admired them and were rather reluctant to eat them as they were too cute. When they finally did eat them, I had feedback that the taste was really good...

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Another gingerbread couple all ready for party time. He is sporting a formal blue shirt with a yellow tie, while she, an elegant yellow dress with pink ribbons and pearls...

Anyway, if you’re wondering, I decided to make gingerbread bears in couples (instead of the usual gingerbread man) as I thought it would be very symbolic since this is a joint event. I made a boy bear and a girl bear to represent each event. Hope you like the cookies! If you’d like to make them too, here’s the recipe!

Gingerbread Cookies
(Yields approx 1 dozen)

120 g Unsalted butter, softened
120 g Brown sugar
180 g Molasses
1 Egg
360 g All-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Clove

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg and beat to blend well; set aside.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating till just blended. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the gingerbread to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6 millimeters). Cut out the cookies with floured cutter and transfer to greased baking sheets.

Bake at 325°F (160°C) until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges and feel barely firm when touched, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing
(Yields 180 g)

180 g Powdered sugar
1 Egg white
1/4 tsp Lemon juice

Sift the sugar and set aside. Place the egg white and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl. Add 120 grams of sugar and beat with an electric mixer or metal spoon until blended. The mixture should fall from a spoon in heavy globs. If it pours, it is too thin and will need the remaining 60 grams of sugar.

Once the consistency is correct, continue beating for 3 - 4 minutes. The icing should be white, smooth and thick enough to hold a stiff peak. Food colouring paste can be added at this time if desired. Cover the icing with a damp towel and plastic wrap to prevent it from hardening.

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Blogger boo_licious said...

Awwww, they are so adorable! Yes, they look too cute to be eaten. Great work, Rabbit!

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger Nic said...

What great photos! I particularly like the IMBB/SHF bear.

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Anonymous swee said...

wow !!! CUTE !!!!
yes, they look too cute to be eaten

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

wow! u r getting better and better and working towards ur professional cooking career!.

Good for ya and keep up the good work

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger Tibbar de Gniw said...

I don't agree on the too cute to be eaten part. I think they look too yummy to be spared!

When all the toilet renovations in my house are finished ad the kitchen usable again, I'm going to make gingerbread rabbits!!

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger myCoffee said...

This is my first time visiting your blog and I am very impressed with your baking skills! What a great inspiration for someone like me who's still learning how to bake. The teddies are really cute too!

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger Jellyfish said...

coundn't agree more with foodcrazee.

u r so good in making foodstuffs

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those gingerbread bears are real cute and your blog is very interesting for somebody like me who loves anything related to Southeast Asia. Keep up with the good work!!!

Sunday, 27 November, 2005  
Anonymous Alice said...

Those are very, very cute! I love the bright colors you chose for the clothes!

Monday, 28 November, 2005  
Blogger rokh said...

really creative and good idea on gingerbread-couple! ;)

Monday, 28 November, 2005  
Blogger babe_kl said...

rabbit, they looked so awesome, can send some down for my boiboi?? hehehe so pretty and handsome bears you got there. so festive!

keep it up rabbit, u got potential to realise yr dream!!!

Monday, 28 November, 2005  
Blogger day-dreamer said...

Why didn't you make gingerbread rabbit? It suits you soooo well!

By the way, your gingerbread bears look terrific! Any left for me?

Tuesday, 29 November, 2005  
Blogger glutton rabbit said...

Thank you all for your kind compliments and encouragements!

I really like them too. I wish I could do something to preserve and keep them ; )...

I like this photo a lot too. We started eating the IMBB/SHF bear first. It was quite tasty. Haha...

Thanks. Your cookies are cute too! Maybe next time I'll try your pretzel recipe. That's a really nice recipe you got there!

Wow so much praises from the guru. But I am still not good enough. I want to be a professional cook like you!

Good idea, gingerbread rabbit! Oh please do make it and share the pic with us! Will love to see it!

I'm so glad you drop by. Yes, I'm still learning, trial and error. If I'm lucky, I come up with something cute like this. If not, the whole thing end up in the bin ;p

Thank you. You are so good at taking photographs! Wish can borrow you cameralah ;p...

Thanks for visiting my site! I'm glad you like it. I like your page too and I will link to it soon!

Thanks Alice. I really like your caroler cookies too. My mom thinks your's are really nice too!

Thank you. I'm glad you like them. Maybe next time can make gingerbread dog, cat or rabbit. Haha...

Thanks! Aiya, why never tell earlier? Gingerbread end up in my tummy liao... sorry boiboi...

Don't have the mould for rabbits. Maybe next timelah. Shall I also make gingerbread dreamer ah?

Tuesday, 29 November, 2005  
Blogger chronicler said...

Really cute gingerbread! I am in the mood for gingerbread this year!

Wednesday, 30 November, 2005  
Blogger day-dreamer said...

Rabbit, if you can find a Dreamer mould, by all means, go ahead!

But don't forget to send me some! After all, I'm the one who inspired you... Ha ha!

Wednesday, 30 November, 2005  
Blogger dilek said...

Hi glutton rabbit,
thank you visiting my site! You have bake so nice teddys my son would love them! There are so wonderfull!!!

Thursday, 01 December, 2005  
Blogger Chen said...

YOur ginger bread man, oops.. ginger bread bear to be exact is super duper cute :D I will be reluctant to eat them as well, they are just too cute & too beautiful to be eaten :P

Thursday, 01 December, 2005  
Anonymous Rorie said...

Your darling cookies look very delicious! How fun these must be to create!

Tuesday, 06 December, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here is for ones who want to decorate their gingerbread cookie, but have no time to bake it:
Now it's virtual! :-)
Also check the recipe at the end of it. It's a pretty old one.

Monday, 12 December, 2005  

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