Valentine's Day Dumpling Cookies

Kawaii dumpling cookies has been on my to-bake list for a while now, and with Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year coming up,  I jumped at the opportunity to finally make them. Paired with cheeky pun cookies, these sugary dumpling treats are sou-per adorable, and will have you wonton more. They are the perfect handmade gift, whether they're for your close friends, or someone you may have some fillings for ;)

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Sugar Cookies

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla bean paste
  •  2.5 cups plain flour 

Directions
1. Mix butter and sugar in a stand mixer until soft and creamy (over whipping could cause the cookies to spread while baking). Add egg and vanilla until just incorporated.

2. Gradually add in flour to the wet mixture. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every once in a while. The dough is ready when it begins to slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl. Shape dough into 2 discs, and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

3. When dough is ready, pre-heat oven to 175 C (fan forced). Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookie dough into desired shapes, and place on lined baking tray. I got my dumpling cookie cutters custom made over at Cookie Cutter Kingdom! Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes before baking.

4. Bake for 12 -15 minutes, or when cookies begin to slightly brown around the edges. The time could be shorter or longer, depending on the size of the cookies.

5. Cool cookies on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack. Cool completely before decorating. 


Royal Icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 TBS meringue powder*
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • Gel food colouring of choice

*If you are based in Australia, you can use Pavlova Magic if you can’t get your hands on meringue powder; which can easily be found at the supermarket. Alternatively, you can replace the powder and water with egg white if preferred. 

Directions
1. Mix sifted icing sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl.

2. Add in warm water and lemon juice (or other flavouring of choice), and mix on low -  medium speed for approximately 5 minutes until white and glossy.

3. Divide and mix in food colouring accordingly. Depending on the icing consistency you are after, more water will be required for a thinner/spreadable icing.

4. Transfer icing into sturdy piping bags - either with fitted tips, or the tip cut off.
 

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Xiao Long Bao
1. Ice the base of the cookie with white icing and leave to dry completely* (or until the surface of the icing has set).
2. Pipe on thin white lines to add a little bit texture.
3. Draw on the face with black royal icing.
4. Add on ‘blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush. 

*Royal icing generally takes at least 6-8 hours to dry completely, though it could take longer in more humid climates. I suggest leaving them to dry overnight for best results.

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Siu Mai
1. Ice the bottom two thirds of the cookie with yellow icing and leave to set.
2. Add on brown icing at the top of the cookie, and leave the base to dry completely.
3. Pipe on a yellow border around the brown icing, then stick on orange sprinkles or small fondant balls with edible adhesive.
4. Add on faces with black icing, and ’blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush.

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Dumpling Style 1
1. Outline the cookie with off white royal icing and leave to set.
2. ‘Flood’ the cookie with the same coloured icing, and leave to dry completely. 
3. Pipe on faces with black royal icing.
4. Add on ’blush’ using red powdered food colouring and a small brush.

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Dumpling Style 2
1. Ice the inner semi circle of the cookie with pale yellow icing and leave to set.
2. Using the same icing, pipe on every second fold of the dumpling and leave to set.
3. Fill in the rest of the folds, then leave to dry completely.
4. Add on faces with black icing, and a stream of tears with blue icing.

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Fondant Hearts
1.
Roll out pink fondant (or any fondant colour of choice).
2. Cut out heart shapes, using the same cutter used for the cookies, and stick onto the cookies with a little bit of water or edible adhesive.
3. Using a cookie stamp, stamp on your favourite quotes or punny pick up lines.
4. Leave to set completely before packaging.

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If you give these a go, be sure to tag me over on Instagram!
 
XOX
Vickie

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

I have teamed up with Roadshow to celebrate the release of The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature which is now in cinemas Australia wide. 

Following the events of the first film, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City's mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park (watch the trailer here!). To join in on the fun, I dreamt up the gang: Surly, Mr. Feng, Precious and Andie, in these adorable and fun cookies for you to try at home. 

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Ingredients

  •  Your favourite sugar cookie recipe
  •  Fondant
  •  Gel food colouring
  •  Royal icing
  •  Edible Markers

Directions
1. Follow instructions to make your favourite cookie dough.
2. Print out templates of the 4 characters (Surly, Mr.Feng, Precious and Andie), and cut them out.
3. Roll out cookie dough, then lay templates on top of the dough. Use a small knife to carefully cut out the characters, then chill in freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
4. Bake cookies, then cool completely before decorating.
5. Dye fondant and royal icing to desired colours. You can also replace the fondant with royal icing if preferred.

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Surly
1.
Cover cookie with purple fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Using the template, cut out white fondant for the belly and face.
3. Add on white eye base, and make a little acorn out of brown fondant. For the hatch details of the acorn, score in lines with a small sharp knife.
4. Add on purple fondant arms around the acorn, and add final details with black royal icing and purple edible marker. 

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Mr. Feng
1.
Cover cookie with white fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Use pink royal icing to add on details for the ears, nose, and paws. 
3. Pipe on facial and body details with light grey icing. Leave to set. 
4.
Add final eye details with royal icing, then lightly trace over the dried grey icing with a black edible marker. 

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Precious
1.
Cover cookie with tan coloured fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Cut out ears, eyes and nose segments from dark brown fondant, and attach onto the cookies.
3. Cut two small red strips for the collar, and pipe on the eyes, nose and mouth with royal icing. Leave to set.
4. Using brown edible marker, draw in the paws, legs, collar and wrinkle details. Attach a small piece of red fondant for the tongue.

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Andie
1.
Cover cookie with orange fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Using the template, cut out white fondant for the belly and face.
3. Cut out arms with the orange fondant, and attach onto cookie to appear as though they are crossing over one another. 
4. Add one final details with black royal icing and orange edible marker.

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Go nuts and let me know which character is your favourite!

Christmas Animal Donuts

Christmas is less than a week away, so I thought I would share some festive dessert decorating ideas with you guys - starting with these animal donuts!

Inspired by a white Christmas (which unfortunately I have never experienced as I live in Australia), I dreamt up some adorable donuts which would cheer anyone up. Because it’s the hole-yday season, you don’t even have to feel guilty about consuming one (or two, or three) too many of these donuts… that’s if you can bear to eat them! Diet starts in the new year, right? ;)

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Ingredients

  • Donuts! (store bought or homemade)
  • Compound chocolate (milk and white)
  • Oil based food dye: black
  • Marshmallows
  • Red M&M’s
  • Almonds/Pistachios
  • Sprinkles: white non pareils + holly
  • Royal icing: black + orange
  • Fondant: red, white + black
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Polar Bear
1.  Dip one end of the pistachios into melted chocolate, then stick into the donuts for the ears. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted white chocolate.  
2. Place a marshmallow into the donut hole and leave to dry.
3. Pipe on eyes with black royal icing, and stick on a small nose made from fondant. Roll out some white fondant and cut into thin strips to make the scarf. Stick on the donut with melted chocolate. 
4. Combine red gel food colouring and vegetable oil in a small bowl to make red edible paint. Paint stripes onto the fondant scarf.

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Penguin
1.
Dip the thicker end of the almonds into melted chocolate, then stick into the sides of the donuts for the wings. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted grey chocolate.
2. Places pre-made white chocolate circle in the centre of the donut as the *penguin bellies.
3. Pipe on the eyes with black royal icing, and the beak and feet with orange royal icing.
4. Using melted chocolate, add holly sprinkles onto the penguin’s belly. Lastly, stick the pre-made *santa hat into the top of the donut. 

*Penguin bellies: Melt white compound chocolate in the microwave or with a double boiler. Pour chocolate onto a lined baking tray, and spread thin and evenly. Tap the tray lightly on a kitchen bench to smooth out the chocolate, leaving to set until firm, but not completely hard. Use a small circle cookie cutter to carefully cut out the chocolate circles.

*Santa hats: Roll red fondant into a small cone shape. With water, attach a strip of white fondant around the bottom edge of the cone, and a small white fondant ball at the tip of the cone. When dry, dip the white sections into melted chocolate, followed by a coating of white non pareil sprinkles. Leaven to harden.

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Rudolph
1.
  Dip one end of the pistachios into melted chocolate, then stick them into the donuts for the ears. Attach a marshmallow into the donut hole.
2. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted milk chocolate. Add a red M&M in the middle of the donut for the nose, and holly sprinkles to represent a bow tie. 
3. Dip the bottom of the pre-made *chocolate antlers into melted chocolate, then stick into the top of the donut. 
4. Use black royal icing to pipe on the eyes.

Chocolate antlers: Melt dark compound chocolate in the microwave or with a double boiler. Alternatively, you can use milk chocolate with added black oil based colouring to create a dark brown. Transfer chocolate into a piping bag or bottle, then pipe out antlers onto a lined baking tray. Leave to harden completely before use.

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Have a tree-mendous holiday season!

XOX
Vickie

Black Sesame Yuzu Wagon Wheels

I've teamed up with SBS Food to re-create a couple of my childhood favourites, with a multicultural twist. An Instagram competition #BringBackTheClassic is running over the month of November. Head on over here for more details!

The first time I tasted Yuzu was only a couple years back, in the form of a fragrant dessert. It has now become a flavour which I adore, whether found in an aromatic dipping sauce, a mouth watering tart, or even a ramen broth. Black sesame, on the other hand, is more of a familiar flavour to me. Growing up, it was quite common in my household kitchen; and is often my go to flavour in asian desserts. I decided to pair the two together to put a fun asian inspired spin on the classic Australian Wagon Wheel. Two black sesame cookies, sandwiching a vanilla marshmallow and a layer of yuzu jam, all covered in black sesame white chocolate.

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Ingredients
Black Sesame Cookies

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  •  1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup black sesame powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Assembling

  •  Homemade or store bought marshmallows
  • Yuzu Jam

Black Sesame White Chocolate

  • 600g white compound chocolate
  • 6 TBSP black sesame powder
  •  2-3 TBSP coconut oil


Directions
1. To make Black Sesame Cookies: Sift flour and black sesame powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until just combined.

2. Gradually add in the sifted dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide into two discs and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3. Make your favourite vanilla marshmallow recipe, and spread onto baking trays to just over 1cm in thickness. Leave to set for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can use store bought marshmallows. Just add them onto half of the cookies for the last 4-5 minutes of baking time, allowing them to melt and stick slightly on top of the cookies.

4. When dough is ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 180˚C. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, to no more than 1/2cm in thickness. Using a round cookie cutter 5-6cm in diameter, cut out circles and transfer onto a lined tray. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or when edges begin to brown. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

5. To assemble: When the cookies have cooled for approximately 15 minutes, but are still slightly warm, cut out marshmallows with the same circle cookie cutter, and place on half of the cookies. Add a generous amount of yuzu jam onto the marshmallows, then sandwich the leftover cookies on top. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up before dipping.

6. Melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Add in black sesame powder, then coconut oil to thin out the chocolate. Dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate with two forks, and tap off the excess chocolate. Place on lined baking tray to set.

7. OPTIONAL: Koala Design
Before chilling the Wagon Wheels, stick one half of a mini Oreo into the marshmallows for each of the ears. Chill, and then dip as above. Be careful as the ears may be a little fragile. When the chocolate has dried, pipe on the face with black royal icing, the middle of the ears with white royal icing, and create little leaves with green fondant for extra detailing.

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If you're a black sesame and yuzu lover, but sure to give these a go!

XOX
Vickie

Matcha Red Bean Tim Tams

I've teamed up with SBS Food to re-create a couple of my childhood favourites, with a multicultural twist. An Instagram competition #BringBackTheClassic is running over the month of November. Head on over here for more details!

Growing up in an Asian household in Australia, Tim Tams were one of my favourite snacks; while asian flavours such as matcha and red bean were prominent in my most loved desserts. Therefore, I couldn’t resist combining two slices of my childhood to create these matcha and red bean Tim Tams. The cookies having a strong matcha taste, but is mellowed out with the sweet buttercream and chocolate coating. Be warned - these are incredibly moreish and a matcha made in heaven!
 

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Ingredients
Matcha Cookie

  •  130g butter (room temperature)
  •  3 TBSP caster sugar
  •  1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 TBSP matcha powder (to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Red Bean (Adzuki Bean) Buttercream

  • 50 grams butter
  • 40 grams icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup red bean paste

Matcha White Chocolate

  • 300g white compound chocolate
  • 2 TBSP matcha powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil

Directions
1. To make Matcha Cookies: Sift flour and matcha powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until just combined.

2. Gradually add in the sifted dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide into two discs and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. When dough is ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 180˚C. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, to no more than 1/2cm in thickness. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut into rectangles roughly 3cm x 5cm in size. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 12-14 minutes; or when edges being to brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

4. To make Red Bean Buttercream: Mix together butter, icing sugar and red bean paste until creamy and combined. Transfer into a piping bag and cut the tip off.

5. To assemble: Pipe buttercream on half of the matcha cookies, then sandwich the other half on top. Place in freezer for at least 10 minutes to chill.

6. While the cookies are chilling, melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Add in sifted matcha powder, then coconut oil to thin out the chocolate. Dip the chilled cookies into the chocolate with a fork, and tap off the excess chocolate. Place on lined baking tray to set.

7. OPTIONAL: Cat design
Before chilling the cookie sandwiches, stick pumpkin seeds into the buttercream for the cat ears. Chill and dip as above, then after the chocolate has set - dip small sections of the Tim Tam into white chocolate. Lastly, pipe on final details with black royal icing. 

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If you give these a go, be sure to tell me what ya think!

XOX
Vickie