Brown rice cookies

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.

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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.

Ingredients

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fold in sifted flour and brown rice powder, mix until just forms dough.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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10 Responses

  1. hi niceties!!
    it’s so nice to see you posting again!
    oh dear! all the comments i made previously got deleted!
    i wanted to tell u that i got my test results back (http://cantonpixie.blogspot.com/2008/05/food-allergy-attacks.html) – and now i’m so restricted in food choices!
    and, i finally bot a breadmaker and guess what! the link you gave to download the morries manual was so useful cuz my manual was so lousy!! thanks!!

  2. Hi CP, thanks for the impt update. It always feels like a big blow when one learns of even more foods that one is sensitive to :( but at least you are on the path to wellness now!

    Have fun with the breadmaker (mine is on hiatus now – I have a yeast infection!! boo hoo!). I’ve tried some bread maker cookbooks, the recipes don’t seem to work too well for me (not enough liquid, waaay to much yeats) and I end up tweaking a lot. As you said in your recent bread posting, because of our hot weather a lot less yeast is required. if I use wholemeal setting, just 1/2 tsp is enough (recipe says 3/4 tsp, and 1 1/4 if using white bread setting). I used a digital thermometer and unless my ingredients are straight from the fridge, the mixture is btwn 29 to 30 degrees! Above the recommended 21 to 28 degrees.

  3. hi Niceties,
    I’ve had to depend on my mom to help me cook nice & allergy-free meals!

    I read a few of those breadmaker books and don’t quite like them – they have way too much yeast and the bread that comes out (unlike the sponge type and tangzhong type here) doesnt keep well at all and is very dry / cakey by the 2nd day. plus, my breadmaker turns out crusts that are too hard. no matter which setting i choose. when i make sponge breads and let them ferment for long periods – they remain nice and soft for 3 days.

    for a yeast-free recipe -, try this!
    http://roseskitchen.wordpress.com/2007/08/11/hum-cheem-peang/

    u cld also try making sourdoughs…?

    for the time being, i’m just experimenting with chinese dim sum (eg wa ko kueh) etc and just using plain old poh piah skin for mock sandwiches – i figure too much yeast aint good for anyone.

  4. Hi CP, thanks for the bread tips! You are a wealth of info as usual :) and I admire your handmade breads – I feel too lazy to try :P. I freeze my bread as soon as it has cooled (same with all my muffins & cakes). But you are right, the crusts are always hard and it often seems a bit dry and works better as toast or French toast. I used to eat a lot of sprouted grain bread when I was on the anti-candida diet before.

  5. hi niceties,
    thanks! i only handmake breads becuz i’m allergic to so many things out there in the shops – even those simple breads either have egg, milk or even margarine (some brands have lactose) in them. and my fav prata is out – i had to buy frozen from supermarket – cuz frozen ones don’t use ghee.

    would u teach me how to heat up frozen bread? i’ve never tried it before, and wld like to know the consistency.

    ive a suspected yeast infection now too, so that’s out for now. ..

    and, i just had to write and tell u this!! i found stevia at brown rice paradise in tanglin mall!!!

    i am a member of that shop – but they just changed management and will only honor old members till end this year – thereafter, to earn new membership – have to spend $500 in 3 months. so i doubt i’ll go there again. the range is expensive and limited.

    and lastly,I’m thinking of signing up for a artisan bread baking 9 hr workshop (cost $250) in jul – to learn from the professionals so that i cld stop doing all these costly “spelt sourdough” failures on my own – it’s not a sourdough workshop – just doing baguette & ciabatta – what do you think? u think it’s erm..reasonable?

  6. Hi CP,

    Maybe you already know this – one dairy-free, all-natural spread recommended by Sue Dengate/Food Intolerance Network is Nuttelex, which I’ve seen on sale in Cold Storage and other supermarkets. I’m not sure about trans fats in it though! I bet you could make your own prata at home :).

    Two ways I heat up frozen bread: (a) in microwave on medium-hi for about 20sec or so, same way I do with muffins/cakes etc. wrap in paper towel to absorb any liquid so it doesn’t get soggy.
    (b) put frozen bread directly in toaster, toast till desired crispness.
    Or (c), wrap frozen bread in a towel to absorb melting ice crystals and leave on kitchen counter for a couple of hours until defrosted. However I notice bread done like this seems to be a bit dry by the time it’s defrosted.

    Thanks for the Stevia tip off! I haven’t been to new BRP yet and I didn’t realise I wld still hv member benefits under the new management at all. Will try to max out the benefits while I can, don’t think I can spend $500 in 3 mths there either…

    As for the baking workshop, I’ve never done any cooking/baking lessons myself but I can imagine there are many things you can only learn through hands on, not from books. What’s the instructor-student ratio and how much hands on wld you get? That might help you decide whether it’s worth it. I’ve heard of people paying $50 for a one-session demonstration only (no hands on at all), and I saw a 3hr organic cooking workshop priced at about $80…. but those Holland Village/Portsdown-type places are pitched at a very different market from community centres!

  7. hallo niceties!
    thanks for telling me about nuttelex!! i’ll go check it out the next time i go.

    the dairy free margarine spreads in NTUC all have transfats even tho they say it’s transfat free (ie the saturated fats, unsaturated fats don’t add up to the ‘total’ fats on the label – so the remainder is always trans fats)

    i’ll take note of your reheating instructions on bread the next time i make some!

    about BRP – i think $500 is exhorbitant. not to mention many of their proudcts are overpriced and would be cheaper either in cold storage/marketplpace/other organic shops.

    .. about the baking workshop, the website is this:

    http://www.cerealtech.com, the ratio is about 1 to 12, and we are expected to turn up for 3 hrs for theory/formulas/etc on a friday pm, make the starter, and then spend 9-4pm on a saturday making the bread itself. it’s a hands on totally, working with 1 batch of small dough (500g) and a large dough that’s like a few kg.

    the instructor is an angmoh who has been doing this for years (and i imagine would give me much more value than those at the CC) – and i could get the chance to ask him all about sourdoughs. (p/s he sent me a detailed brochure via email, if u r keen, perhaps i could forward u … i do need some comments from friends before committing..u have my email…just email me :))

    i think those demo ones are crap – have attended phoon huat demos – and even the recipes they distributed were rather crap and in broken english. and i find the holland v ones just not worth it – demos for $80 or more per session cooking exotic things i dont have time to whip up at home anyway !

  8. Hi CP,

    Thanks for the info about CerealTech – wah, looks really professional!!

    Sounds like BRP is just like those overpriced Dempsey organic shops where the same products that are sold in NTUC cost 20% more :P.

    Yes, ‘no trans fats’ on the label doesn’t necessarily no trans fats at all, simply that one serving has less than the mandatory minimum required for the item to be declared on the nutritional label.

  9. oh yah, have u tried Zen Xin? i think website is http://www.zenxin.com.my (or .sg , i can’t remember). they are the only place i know that sells wholemeal BREAD flour (i couldn’t find the waitrose ones at cold storage / marketplace), and their range is limited, but some of their jams/flour/brown rice powder is really cheap, amongst all the organic shops.

    and, (i know you dont need this), i found my organic shortening (transfat free) from supernature – that’s the only thing i’d buy from there too.

    i’ve resorted to buying different items at different shops cuz i realise the prices vary quite a bit. some shops stock some items cheap and stock others very exp, and this happens for every shop!

  10. Hi CP, thanks for the Zenxin link. I’ve heard of them before re: organic veg but I didn’t know they produce flour too.

    Yah, prices can vary a lot, as well as the items available. You are really good at shopping around! It’s really great that there are increasingly more organic shops across the island to widen the range of what’s available.

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