Monday, March 1, 2010

Kuih Makmur

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These are the prettiest kuih bangkit (left) that I've ever seen. I just can't imagine making each one of them so perfectly, with overlapping crimped petals. Each one is smaller than my upper thumb. I find kuih bangkit too dry although I love their coconut flavor. But kuih makmur are full of butter, so full that they can hardly hold their shape and need to be protected by paper cases.

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Nee's kuih lapis look machine-made because the layers are evenly thick, parallel and straight. But more than that, they taste absolutely divine.

Nee's husband Greg brought me two jars of her kuih momo (that's what they call kuih makmur in Sarawak apparently) and kuih bangkit and two large slabs of lapis (layer) cake, in sanja flavor and mocha flavor, when he was here on business just before CNY. The kuih makmur (prosperity cookies in Malay) and bangkit have long dissipated into my cells but I still have the kuih lapis for special occasions.

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Last Sat, CL brought some excellent Italian prosciutto and smoked Dutch cheese from Brisbane, Phyllis brought the French wine and I contributed Nee's Sarawak lapis cake, sparingly.

Although I followed Nee's recipe for the kuih momo, my momo cookies somehow didn't taste as good as Nee's. It could be the butter or the fact that I couldn't shape them as round or as small as Nee. You do need to make them small because the high amount of butter can be a bit much. But friends who ate my kuih makmur and not Nee's couldn't compare them and they loved my kuih makmur, some asking if I could sell them a few jars of the kuih. It's quite a bit of work shaping the kuih and putting them in their little cases so I prefer that you make your own, and here's the recipe.

Making the kuih makmur dough is easy and I love this recipe because I've always disliked how kuih makmur are so delicate and crack up even at the slightest touch. They make me feel like a klutz and I don't like having to pick them up tenderly and how they break up the second I pop them into my mouth. I always think when I eat too-delicate kuih makmur that it's like eating powder. All that delicateness is exactly why kuih makmur is loved by their lovers so I'm the odd one out. Nee's kuih makmur have just the right level of delicateness--they don't break up at the slightest touch. They last until you put them in your mouth and a teeny bit of pressure will break them up. The secret to the delicateness is in 1) the amount of butter to flour used, and Nee's recipe has less butter to flour than most recipes 2) baking the cookies a little bit longer or shorter. Undercooking the cookies would make them lighter in color and very delicate and slightly over baking them gives a better flavor and firmer texture. However, I burnt a batch of cookies so do be careful. But the best thing about Nee's kuih makmur is that they are full of buttery flavor and the level of sweetness is just right. She used glucose for the coating, which gives a delightful coolness to the mouth. I used a combination of both glucose and icing sugar because I had both in the fridge and also because I wanted the traditional thick white snowy look.

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Nee's momo cookie on the left. My first batch of cookies (on the right) were twice as big as Nee's and very uneven. The second batch (middle) yielded smaller cookies but still uneven rather than round. Ah well.

If you've never eaten kuih makmur before, I highly recommend that you make a batch today. This recipe only calls for 3 ingredients. No eggs, no milk powder, no sugar other than that for coating. Bookmark this, print this, make this.

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Nee's Kuih Makmur (60 to 80 kuih)

250 g good quality butter*, melted (I used unsalted Anchor butter)
350 g plain flour**
glucose or icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) or mixture to coat

small paper cases

* I read in Nee's blog that ghee is commonly used instead of melted butter. In a recent issue of Saveur, I read that ghee is clarified butter or brown butter. That is good news because I made brown butter for making financiers and I love the intense nutty buttery taste. So if you have ghee, do use that.

**replace about 50-80 g with milk powder if you want the milk powder flavor.

1. Over medium heat, stir fry flour without any oil until fragrant and you can see a light tint of brown, about 6 min or 10 min under low heat. Set aside to cool. Sift into a bowl.

2. Melt butter and slowly pour into the centre of the flour. Mix and knead well.

3. Shape into tiny round balls (Nee's were about 2 cm in diameter, a bit too small for KK standards (we have bigger mouths?) so I think 2.2 cm diameter is just right), put on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 - 30 min (depending on the size of the kuih and your oven heat, bake until the balls are cooked through and the bottom very slightly light brown) at 160-170 C.

4. Cool slightly and coat (drop them into the sugar in batches) with the icing sugar or glucose. Place each kuih into a small paper case and when cool, store in a jar.

14 comments:

Anncoo said...

These so beautiful and perfect. I'll bookmark it ~ Thanks for sharing.

zurin said...

will do ..i love kuih makmur but to rich to make it too often or even 'occasionally'....will bookmark def.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

I like the short time of frying flour unlike kuih bangkit which requires an hour or more to keep stir fry it. I will bookmark this and try later.

Big Boys Oven said...

was away busy doing a cooking show, back now!;)

this is awesome, delicious cake and cookies! yummy!

Lily Anette said...

Those flower bangkit are lovely. Wouldn't it be nice if I make a pink cherry blossom one! Maybe :)
Thanks for the makmur's recipe .

Greg Wee said...

Hi A. Terri, I think us calling it Kuih Momo in Sarawak is just a case of 'depleting' language, Makmur mispronounced as Momo by aunties from olden days.

NEE said...

hi A Terri....i am very slow to react to praises and you have a WHOLE post of kind words...it took me two whole days to digest. hehehe....still feel my face burning when looking at this post. TQVM.

you make the cakes and cookies look really nice in your photos. thanks. n your kuih makmur looks cute. who cares about size really. as long as they look good. will try your coating next round.

anyway i m really happy u like them all. nothing satisfies the people making more than seeing/knowing ppl eating are enjoying.

terri@adailyobsession said...

anncoo: make sure you make them n tell me if you like them

zurin: yes, they are too rich aren't they.was thinking that the makmur pastry'll make a good pastry for sweet desserts like little fruit pies.

sonai: an hour of frying! i'd rather buy them kuih bangkit...

bbo: way to go boys! where do i catch the show?? you really are making waves in kl!

lily: wah, pink makmur ccokies like nee's would be SOOO pretty! you can make them very well i'm sure of tt.

greg: sarawak aunties have fewer teeth greg.

nee: you are my baking/cooking mentor :))

Tigg3r said...

Agree that Anchor butter is the best for kuih makmur.. I also uses this brand and the aroma is just great!!!!!

Shelby said...

wow... it looks so delicious... yum yum... God... by looking at them I felt hungry ^^

terri@adailyobsession said...

tiggr3: high 5 :)

shelby: u like kuih makmur? i'll make some just for u ok

Local Stories said...

Question, when i use ghee, should i be melting it or does it go straight into the flour? Which would you recommend? Anchor or ghee?

terri@adailyobsession said...

localstories: i've only ever used anchor. u r concerned about the halalness of anchor? then use other butter? i've never tried ghee but since it's brown clarified butter, i think it shd work wonderfully. make a small batch? tell me if it's good!

Lina M.H said...

Hi, I made this for the first time using your recipe!It was a success. My kuih cooked faster for about 6-8mins on 150degree celcius, I guess you are right that every oven need different adjustment with cooking time and temperature. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I'm glad I found your recipe that uses butter instead of ghee.

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