One of the things that makes me really homesick is Chinese New Year. This year it falls on February 8,2016. It’s the time of the year when family members gather and reunite..far and near. I love the atmosphere during this time of the year. The decoration, the songs, and everywhere you go, you see people selling food and cookies to greet one of the most important celebration in the Chinese culture. The kids look forward to the “ang bao” (red pocket filled with money) 🙂
Many of the food or decoration used in Chinese New Year (CNY) represents auspicious meaning like prosperity/wealth, good luck, abundance, good fortune, etc. Pineapple (feng li) is one of the food items that I know my parents usually have around during CNY celebration. It represents good fortune. Pineapple cookies or what are often called Kue Nenas/ Kue Nastar in Indonesian language is one of the classic popular Chinese New Year cookies at my hometown, Medan, Indonesia. You will see them everywhere during Chinese New Year.
I remember making huge batches of these cookies at my aunt’s house while I was young few weeks before Chinese New Year approached. It was my favorite thing to do. My aunt is a great baker and I wish I have just a quarter of her baking skill. These pineapple cookies aren’t too complicated to make (I did it!). The pineapple compote is not too complicated to make either, just requires some times to cook into a thick consistency. The rest of the work is pretty basic. I recommend making the pineapple compote a day or few days before and you can keep it in the refrigerator and used it when you are ready to make the cookies.
Chinese new year pineapple cookies (kue nastar) (45-50 cookies)
- 9 oz all-purpose flour (you may need a little more)
- 3 oz corn starch
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz Kerrygold butter (or other good quality butter) - softened
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 oz powdered sugar
- 2 egg yolks (beaten) - for brushing
- Cloves (for decoration) - optional
- About 14-16 oz of Pineapple compote (see recipe link on notes)
Mix all-purpose flour, corn starch, and 1 tsp of salt together. Cream the softened butter, egg yolks, and powdered sugar. Gradually add in the flour mixture. The dough seems dry and doesn't seem to come together at this point, that's okay. Turn off the mixer and use your hand to mix. It will come together after you mix it with your hand. If it's too sticky, add a bit more flour, but be careful not too add too much, just enough for the dough to come together. You should have a smooth dough. Wrap it up and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 45-50 equal size balls, depends on how big you want them. I suggest not too big as they will expand a bit when you bake. Flatten individual ball and fill about 1 tsp of the compote into the middle of the dough and wrap them around
You can shape them however you want them. I made three different style here, one is almost like an oval shape and then I use a fork to make imprints on top. Another one is just a round ball and I inserted a whole clove on top of each of the cookie (just for decoration). The third one is sort of an open-face cookie. You shape the dough into ball, and then make an indentation with your thumb in the middle, scoop some pineapple compote into the middle. Place the shaped cookies back into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. It helps to maintain the shape better. Preheat the oven to 375 F while waiting for the dough to chill
When ready to bake, brush each cookie with the egg yolk wash. Place the cookies inside the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until you have a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes before removing to let them cool down completely on cooling rack. Store on air-tight container
Recipe NotesPineapple compote recipe here: http://whattocooktoday.com/pineapple-compote.html
Okay…I do realize one thing from this photo below…I need to put some lotion on my hands! Thanks to winter !!!