Remember the disastrous steamed Chinese brown rice cake? That was an important lesson in not substituting flours across cultures even though the original basic produce may be the same. Fortunately, I found a great recipe in which my organic brown rice flour from the health food shop worked perfectly.
Brown rice cookies packed in E-Z Lock for snack bento
The recipe comes from the bilingual cookbook, Sweet & Simple Cookies 快樂做餅乾 published by the Malaysian food magazine, Famous Cuisine. However, the book, which was published in Dec 2007, seems to be too new and isn’t featured on the website right now.
The recipe calls for 造米粉 / brown rice powder and I’ve often seen brown rice ‘powder’ sold in canisters as a cereal beverage or baby food, so perhaps that is what the author is referring to. Taiwan seems to be particularly good at producing a huge range of powdered grain beverages. I love the wide selection available at Yu Hua Emporium in Chinatown. Read the labels carefully to check for any ingredients you may be sensitive to and for sugar content; there are also some organic and sugar-free varieties.
120g unsalted butter
60g molasses sugar [I used dark brown sugar, reduced to 30g]
2 egg whites
80g plain flour
80g brown rice powder 造米粉
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Earlier, I made notes on the creaming process, and learnt that creaming for biscuits doesn’t need to be as light and foamy as for cakes.
- Add in egg whites, mix well. Another lesson from experience – add the egg in bit by bit to prevent curdling. Many recipes say to add one egg at a time but I beat all the eggs together and then add one tablespoon at a time.
- Fold in sifted flour and brown rice powder, mix until just forms dough.
- The recipe instructions say to ‘roll the dough into ball shapes and press with fork lightly’, however my dough was so soft that I could only spoon it onto the baking tray. I tried to flatten them but the dough was very sticky and wouldn’t leave the spoon/fork cleanly. Fortunately they looked all right in the end.
- Bake in preheated oven at 170℃ for 20 mins. Had a huge problem here. The cookies were great on the outside but certainly not cooked on the inside. Not wanting them to burn, I turned the heat down to 100℃ and ended up baking them for at least an hour more — they just never seemed to get done on the inside! Perhaps they should have been flatter so as to increase the surface area?
Final result: managed to turn out some excellent biscuits after a few almost-disasters ☺. They are firm and crisp while the brown rice flour adds a distinctive, but not unpleasant, gritty texture. My friends loved these cookies and one made a great suggestion to add raisins and macadamia nuts next time. Definitely a recipe worth repeating.