November 5, 2012

Eggless Strawberry Melting Moments—melt-in-your mouth sandwich cookies for the holiday season


October whirled by quickly, and can hardly believe it is November. 

Sweet, sweet November with its brisk freshness and excitement of utterly lovely things—cool nights with cozy cashmeres and warm woolen blankets, strong cups of chai in the morning, and many memorable evening with scented candles and the intoxicating fragrance of fresh roses.
Last week was filled with the magic of Eid and still-lingering memories of a lovely escape to this newly renovated resort on an artificial island to the north of Doha. Holidays enveloped in warmth and laughter, food, family, friends, and a few stolen moments watching endlessly blue waters and crashing waves, golden sunset and the enchanting beauty of the early morning sky.
Here are some photos from our Eid trip to Al Ghariya.
Inspired by the chill in the air and the festive cheer, I’ve been busy baking. I did a batch of pink buttery treats spot on time for the holidays, and immediately fell in love with their soft beauty.

Petite, pretty, pink, and showered in confectioners’ sugar, they looked so utterly fascinating, I had to immediately capture them on frame. And within minutes I was positively brimming with energy, styling and photographing them to exhaustion. See the pictures?

If you remember, I shared the recipe for melting moments last summer. It is, without doubt, one of the simplest recipes, and one of my most popular cookie recipes, tried by lovely blogger friends Reshmi, Nandita, Ginza, and my best (non-blogger) friend, Joyce. If you are new to baking this is a good place to start with.

Many of you may be familiar with this shortbread type cookie by a different name. For it is also know as yo-yo, snowball, Mexican wedding cake, Russian tea cake, butter balls, butter cookies—all with slight variations, but three basic ingredients, butter, flour and icing sugar.
This year, quite smitten with the idea of delicate pink cookies, I used strawberry flavored custard powder to make these bite-size, delicate, buttery, crumbly melt-in-your-mouth’s. Then, I sandwiched them with delicious butter cream with a touch of fragrant strawberry essence. So, so easy, and oh so photogenic. Um, don’t they look amazing?

This recipe requires just the basic cookie ingredients — fat, flour, sugar — and what’s more, it requires no eggs! Plus, there’s absolutely no puttering around in the kitchen with your arms in flour. All you need is a bowl, electric mixer, and few minutes of your time to whisk and roll. It’s even faster in the oven, takes about 12 to 15 minutes only!
The only cookie advice is to soften butter at room temperature for a minimum of 1 hour prior to creaming. Hard, cold butter will not mix properly with the sugar. You may also microwave butter for a few seconds to soften it as long as you don’t over soften — dough with over softened butter will be too thin and sticky to roll into balls. Then again, if the dough is difficult to roll, cover and chill in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before handling, or to firm it up as needed.

The basic melting moment cookie dough is like a blank canvas waiting to be painted with delightful colors, flavors, textures and shapes. Use your favorite flavorings—vanilla, lemon, passion fruit, cocoa or cardamom, or any other flavoring ingredient you fancy. Add texture with nuts. For variations in design, spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with 1cm-fluted nozzle, and pipe into star shapes.
Soon it will be time to start thinking about Christmas cookie baking, or why not whip up a batch for Diwali, or thanksgiving, that’s around the corner? And oh don’t forget to include this in your list of pink party ideas served with a shot of strawberry milk by the side—how awesome!

Now, on to the recipe.
Eggless Strawberry Melting Moments

Makes 20 filled cookies
Prep + cooking: 25 min

Ingredients

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened (I used Lurpak)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or use vanilla essence)
½ teaspoon strawberry essence
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (icing), sifted, plus more for dusting
¾ cup plain flour (all-purpose), sifted
¼ cup strawberry custard powder, sifted (I used Foster Clark’s)
Strawberry butter cream filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (icing)
1/8 teaspoon strawberry essence
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
Directions

Preheat oven to 160oC/325oF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter, vanilla extract, strawberry essence and sifted confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.

Sift together the plain flour and strawberry custard powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl.

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls—this gives you perfect sizes for sandwiching cookies. Place on the lined tray about 1" apart—cookies will expand slightly in the oven. Use the end of a fork to press down lightly on top of each ball.

Bake in preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until just set, do not brown. Remove from oven and stand 5 minutes in tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with remaining dough. Dust with extra-sifted confectioners’ sugar before serving cookies without filling, if you like.

To make the filling, beat the butter, icing sugar, strawberry and vanilla essence in a medium bowl with an electric beater until pale and creamy. Spoon into piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe onto the base of a cookie and gently sandwich together with another. Alternatively, use a small spatula to spread the filling.

Dust the top of cookies generously with sifted confectioners’ sugar before serving. Savor with warm tea or a shot of milk.

These cookies are quite delicate, so handle with care. Unfilled cookies will keep in an airtight container layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper for upto two weeks. Filled cookies will keep for a few days in the fridge.
And before I wrap up, I’m so excited to share with you the fall/winter issue my special friend Divya’s online magazine. Ready to be swooned? Then here we go, enjoy!

{ps} thank you so much for all the love and wishes here, x

38 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the magazine sweetie! I owe you one!

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  2. Omg, stunning cuties..Melting moments looks absolutely wonderful and damn attractive.

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  3. Melting moments looks yum, nice clicks on ur trip

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  4. Very very yummy n yummy biscuits... Really a melting moments

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  5. You are terrific! These look so pretty.

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  6. Absolutely lovely pics....confused about which one to pin!

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  7. Lovely pics ...looks so yum

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  8. How sweet!! They look so delicious and simply love the colour!

    Have a great day,

    Chloe & Sarah

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  9. oh my, the pictures are so romantic..! what a welcome change from all things fall and yellow, I love the way you inject those beautiful colours in your baking,.love it!

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  10. This looks really good. You should package it and sell it – I’ll have a couple of cartons, thanks.

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  11. So beautiful!!! And I'll take mine with the cream filling, please :)

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  12. Hi Nashira,
    Whoa, wat an amazing site you have here...coming to think of it, I had been to your site in my early days of blogging and was absolutely in love with it, but back then I din't know who to stay in touch (like Follow through Google or subscribe by email etc) and kinda lost your blog. But now I've done both :-)

    Loved my time here and thank you so much for stopping by, and btw, The cake I made does not have alcohol , I used imitation Rum (so just tastes like Rum , but no alcohol) ;-) Just that if you want to add real rum you can :-)

    WIll be here more often!

    Regards,
    Manju
    http://manjuseatingdelights.blogspot.com/

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  13. I came here through foodgawker.. Don't know how come I have not been to your blog all these days..
    Glad I am here now.. You have an amazing space here. Following you.. :)

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  14. So pretty and delicious looking! I love them.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  15. These are already melting in my mouth just looking at them!

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  16. Wow...You are awesome gal so is ur photography...The cookies look wonderful and as I have loved ur earlier melting moments..I am sure I will love this too...

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  17. Oh my! Stunning pictures! My son was mesmerized !He kept gazing and smiling , I did too:) They are just so very pretty!

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  18. Wowwww. . . ..Nashi superb dear. . . .number blogil engineya post cheyyuka dear. . . ..pls give me ur mail id

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  19. OMG!!!!! lovely and cute looking melting moments... I am wondering, how many snaps would you take for a post dear. So so mouth watering and amazing clicks. And the important thing, amazing props, nice colour combination Nash...

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  20. WOWIE...Stunning!!!! Soft, delicate & pretty cookies..!!!! I just got to make this one really soon!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  21. These look amazing! Such gorgeous clicks too!

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  22. These are awesome! "Taste in Style".
    Hope you will have some specialities for thanksgiving in Nov. Thanks!

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  23. absolutely delicious melting moments....yumm

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  24. I always love your photography. So beautiful! My daughter will adore these!

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  25. Oh nash what wonderful pictures! Doha looks like an exquisite place to spend some time and enjoy a magical holiday. Until now I have only seen the airport, who knows, I might see the rest one day as well.

    Love your cookie colors, the girls here would love it (not that I have kids, I am speaking of the fmaily relations and neighbors ^.^)

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  26. Gorgeous and Delicious are the right words :) Loved going thru all the pictures.

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  27. First of all congrats! beautiful pictures!!! :) ...please could you tell me what kind of camera lenses you used?

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    1. I used canon EOS Rebel XSi with EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens (friends camera)

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  28. Perfect and beautiful holiday cookies. Yum :)

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  29. I saw these on instagram & instantly felll in love with the color..so pretty!! I will be trying out these soon!

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  30. Fabulous cookies! I simply love them and I would make some. Thank you for sharing!

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  31. Loved this recipe and I tried it! Came out perfect! Thank you so much!!

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  32. Sweet and lovely, looks terrific.
    Have a merry Christmas.

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  33. Trying this today. But with vanilla custard powder n strawberry essence.

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi