Learn how to make the best kue bangkit using tapioca flour and coconut cream. I’m sharing all the tips that will for sure yield that melt-in-the-mouth kue bangkit you are longing for!
KUIH BANGKIT (TAPIOCA COCONUT COOKIES)
I was invited to a Chinese New Year Cookie Party organized by Vermilion Roots and so I dared myself to make these kue bangkit or in Indonesian Chinese we call it kue bangkek or in Malay kuih bangkit this year. Some Indonesian Chinese population speaks dialects like Hokkian, Teochew, Hakka, and Cantonese. But mainly Hokkian, Teochew, and Hakka. Bang (or phang) in Hokkian dialect means aromatic/flavorful. Kek means cakes though some use it interchangeably to translate cookies/biscuits. Kue bangkek is named as such because it is a very flavorful cookie. The coconut milk makes the cookies smell super heavenly.
THIS IS THE BEST MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH KUE BANGKIT (NOT JOKING!)
I had made probably at least 8 batches of kue bangkit for the past 2 weeks trying to nail that melt-in-the-mouth texture, which is the most important characteristic of these cookies. My mom handed me my aunt’s best kue bangkit recipe and I still failed to make it right. What do I consider as melt-in-the-mouth? When you pop the cookie inside your mouth without biting, you push the cookie with your tongue and it melts when it comes into contact with your saliva. That’s my definition of melt-in-the-mouth for kue bangkit and that’s exactly what you get with this recipe!
IS TAPIOCA FLOUR AND TAPIOCA STARCH THE SAME?
This is a question that is often asked especially if you are not familiar with Asian ingredients. Flour and starch are used interchangeably here in the U.S. So, the answer is yes, tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing. When you go to Asian store, you will see them labeled as tapioca starch. But American’s company such as Bob’s Red Mill will label theirs as tapioca flour. I have made kue bangkit with both tapioca flour and tapioca starch and they yield the same melt-in-the-mouth texture. Please note that I’ll be using the term flour and starch in this post and they mean the same thing 🙂
WAIT, THEY SAY YOU NEED SAGO FLOUR TO MAKE THE BEST KUE BANGKIT
After making batches and batches of failed kue bangkit and finally some really good ones, I can tell you the answer is NO! You don’t need sago flour to make melt-in-the-mouth kue bangkit. I know..I know…the experts out there say so! But I can tell you again, no, you don’t! Trust me on this one 😉 You also don’t need a combination of sago and tapioca, or sago, tapioca, and rice flour, etc. Just tapioca flour/starch. In Medan, we usually make kue bangkit using tapioca starch. There are some people who make kue bangkit with sago flour too, but it’s rare. Sago flour is not common in Medan where I grew up. My aunt who makes one of the best kue bangkit (which recipe I’m sharing with you here) makes it with tapioca starch/flour and it’s AMAZING!
WHY YOU WILL LIKE THIS KUE BANGKIT RECIPE
1. Tapioca flour is baked in the oven
I make the recipe more convenient and less “scary” as you think. The one thing that I hate the most when it comes to make kue bangkit is stir-frying the flour for one hour. It’s a mess because the flour gets lighter and fly all over when you stir fry them. So, instead I bake the tapioca flour at 300F (150 C) for 2 hours. I set the timer in the oven and when I came back home, it’s done in the oven.
2. No fancy schmancy ingredients
You only need tapioca flour/starch, icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), eggs, and coconut cream. That’s it!
2. Melt-in-the-mouth texture
I think I have mentioned that lots of time, but yes, this recipe really gives you that melt-in-the-mouth texture. Just like the way I remember it when I eat them as a kid!
TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Precooking the flour
Precooking the flour is to remove the moisture from the flour and also to get rid of the raw taste of flour. It also increases kue bangkit’s shelf life
2. The dough consistency
It’s a bit tricky trying to explain what kind of consistency you need to get for the dough. I’ll elaborate later below with images
3. Add the coconut cream a bit by bit (which goes back to the dough consistency)
The amount of coconut cream calls for in the recipe is just an estimate. There’s no way to give you the exact amount because it depends on how dry or wet your tapioca flour/starch is. You need to add it a bit by bit
4. The baking temperature
Kue bangkit needs to bake at low temperature and slow. I’ve made several mistakes baking them at higher temperature and I got crispy cookies outside and wet rubbery texture inside
5. The coconut cream itself
The best creamiest coconut cream will give you that amazing aroma. Hands down!
PREPARE THE TAPIOCA STARCH
It is important to precook the tapioca starch before it can be used for kue bangkit. The traditional way of doing this is to stir-fry the starch on a dry wok for 1 hour until the starch is light because most moisture has been removed. The precooked starch is cooled down and can only be used the next day. BUT WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS THE EASY YET EFFECTIVE WAY! NO STIR-FRYING AND MESSY HOUSE LOOKING LIKE SNOW STORM HAS JUST PASSED THROUGH!
Put the tapioca starch along with pandan leaves in a large roasting pan or any pan deep enough so you can layer the tapioca starch as thinly as you can.Bake at 300 F for 2 hours and you don’t need to stir it. Once it has cooled down, it can be used on the same day. I actually recommend not keeping the flour more than 1 day as moisture from your surrounding (especially if it’s humid where you are) might get absorbed by the flour again
HOW TO GET THE CREAMIEST COCONUT CREAM
If you want to freshly squeeze your own coconut milk and cream, be my guest. It’s hard to be consistent when it comes to that and I don’t want to mess with that. I prefer to use canned coconut cream. I suggest getting the Asian brands canned coconut cream like Chaokoh or Aroy-D (or other brands you know). And again, you need to get COCONUT CREAM and NOT
Here’s what you need to do:
1. DO NOT SHAKE THE CANNED COCONUT CREAM
The creamiest part usually float on the top and bottom is more of the watery coconut milk
2. SCOOP THE CREAM OUT
Use a spoon to gently scoop the cream out as much as you can until you start to see some liquid at the bottom. Stop right there. Save the watery coconut milk for other use. The cream is what you need to make kue bangkit with an amazing aroma
THE RIGHT KUE BANGKIT DOUGH CONSISTENCY FOR THAT MELT-IN-THE-MOUTH TEXTURE (GUARANTEED!)
I can tell you that many of my failed batches of kue bangkit were caused by this point right here! the wrong consistency for the dough. Many recipes out there do not really tell you how the dough suppose to be like. Some even say that the dough needs to be smooth. NO! The dough cannot be smooth and shiny. When you have a smooth shiny dough, you might as well toss that dough in the trash! I’m not kidding! The last two recipes I tried with smooth shiny dough gives me rubbery wet kue bangkit! HORRIBLE! That means you’ve added way too much coconut cream!
So, tell me woman, how is it supposed to be like!! Here, let me show you:
This is after I mix the flour, eggs, and icing sugar and then add the coconut cream a bit by bit. The amount of the coconut cream in the recipe is just to give you an idea how much you may need. You may not even need all of them or you may need to add more. You should continue to knead the dough while adding coconut cream a bit by a bit until when you press the dough with your palm, it stays, but if you push the dough with your fingers, it crumbles! When you have the urge to add a bit more of coconut cream so that it comes together easier, DON’T! That’s exactly where you should stop. The dough is on the dry side for sure! But can come together when you press it into the mould! Get it?
You can pinch the dough to press into the mould, but as you can see, the big dough doesn’t stay in one round piece, there are little crumbles as you pinch the dough.
So, the dough consistency is basically exactly like how the melt-in-the-mouth texture is inside your mouth. If you have this, you’ve nailed it!
EGGS IN KUE BANGKIT RECIPE
My aunt’s recipe only calls for egg yolks. I’ve tried several recipes that used both egg yolks and whole eggs (both whites and yolks) and while both gives that melt-in-the-mouth texture. Here’s what I found:
Use only egg yolks: It’s much softer and literally melt-in-the-mouth when you pop the kue bangkit in and push it with your tongue slightly and gradually melt when it comes in contact with your saliva! T
Use both egg yolks and whole eggs: It requires several pushes with your tongue before it started to melt in the mouth
In conclusion: the one uses only egg yolks definitely wins when it comes to melt-in-the-mouth category
KUE BANGKIT MOULD
I love the traditional wooden kue bangkit mould. I don’t have one! (but I will soon when mom’s here 🙂 ). I bought this super over-priced plastic mould from Amazon two years ago (shipped from Malaysia!) out of desperation! Oh well! BUT, the good thing about plastic mould is, I actually don’t have to dust the mould as much compare to wooden mould, which I heard can be pretty sticky and more difficult to work with. But wooden mould has a much prettier prints and shapes 🙂
CAN I USE COOKIE CUTTER TO SHAPE KUE BANGKIT?
I won’t say it’s impossible, but it will be pretty tough to roll out the cookie dough because of its crumbly nature. Of course you can make the dough more smooth and moist so you can roll it out, but get ready to say bye-bye to that melt-in-the-mouth texture! I won’t recommend doing that! My suggestion is if you don’t have kue bangkit mould, you can just shape the cookie into ball and gently press it down with the palm of your hand. There will be not much shape, but they will still be good kue bangkit that melts in your mouth
DECORATE WITH RED DOTS
Traditionally, the kue bangkit is dotted with red food coloring. The kue bangkit are pale and white in color and so the red dot adds a nice contrast and besides, the Chinese loves red color when it comes to celebrating Chinese New Year 🙂
All you need is a toothpick and a red food coloring (not gel) and use the tip of the toothpick to dot
This is a keeper recipe for real. Thanks to my aunt again for giving me this recipe. Definitely will make them again EVERY year 😉
*Recipe was originally published in 2016 and now has been updated with new photos, lots of details and pointers to make sure you can achieve the same result* Please read my post above before attempting to make kue bangkit. It will give you a better understanding how to get that melt-in-the-mouth texture!
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
Get the coconut cream:
- I used 1 can of coconut cream, about 560 ml. It's important not to shake the canned coconut cream. I scoop up the cream on top, which I get about 200-300 ml of cream. The watery bottom can be saved for other use in other recipe
Cook the tapioca flour (you can prepare one day ahead):
- If you want to use stir-fry method: Stir fry the flour with pandan leaves over low-medium heat on a dry wok without oil for about 1 hour. The flour will get lighter and lighter as you cook them. Remove the pandan leaves. Shake off any excess that clings on the leaves. Let them cool down completely and then store in an air-tight container until the next day if not using on the same day
- Baking method (highly recommend): place the flour in a large deep pan along with pandan leaves. Bake at 300 F for 2 hours. If your oven has the ability to set cook time, do it! You can be away from the house and when you are back it's done!
Making the dough (Very important part, please read my post above too!):
- Once the tapioca flour has cooled down completely, sift the cooked tapioca flour on the scale to give you 500 gr. Keep the rest for dusting the cookie mould later.
- Place the eggs yolks and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer at medium high speed (I used speed 6 on kitchen aid) until the mixture is creamy and turns slightly pale yellow in color, about 3 minutes
- Add in the tapioca flour into the egg yolks mixture. Use a rubber spatula to roughly mix it. It won't come together yet. Add about 100 ml of the coconut cream first and then knead the dough with your clean hand. Most likely it will still be too dry to come together, add a bit more, tablespoon by tablespoon and continue to knead. Do this until you come to the point when you can press the dough together into a mass, but it's not smooth and still crumbly when you press the dough with your fingers. Basically it's still a bit at the dry side, but it will hold when you press the dough together. I use about 200-250 ml of coconut cream total (but please don't add all at one go)
- Preheat oven at 250F (120 C). Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. You need to bake in batches if not using a convection oven. Dust the cookie mould with the extra cooked tapioca flour you made earlier. Shake off excess flour. Pinch off one dough and press it firmly into the mould. Keeping the rest of the dough covered. Use a sharp paring knife to trim off excess dough on the top. I found that I don't need to dust the mould much because mine is made of plastic. Flip the mould over and firmly tap the mould to release the shaped dough. You shouldn't have difficulty if the mould is nicely coated with flour. Place them on the baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. The cookies do not expand much at all. Repeat with the rest of the dough
- If the dough gets dry as you are working on shaping the cookies, you can add a bit of the extra coconut cream you have earlier and mix it again to make the dough less dry, but I don't have to do this
- Place them inside the oven 3rd rack from the top for a regular oven (mine is regular oven) or use 2nd and 4th racks for a convection oven and bake for 25 minutes (for 6 gr cookies). You may only need 15-20 minutes with convection oven. If your cookies are bigger, they may take a bit longer. Every oven may vary. You may not need that long. I recommend checking at 15 minutes point. The bottom of my cookies are still wet at 15 minutes and perfect at 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, get one cookie out and have a taste to find out the texture. If it tastes right, meaning: melt-in-the-mouth and the cookies are not wet inside, it's done
- Let them cool down on the pan for 10 minutes (this will help to dry some of the slightly wet bottome too) and then transfer to a cooling rack to let them cool down completely
Dot with red food coloring (optional):
- Use a toothpick and dot the tip of the toothpick on red food coloring and dot on top of the cookie. This is totally optional
- Store in an air-tight container once they've cooled down completely and they will last for 2 months at room temperature
- You may not need all of the coconut cream. It really depends on the tapioca starch you are using. The amount is just to let you know how much to have on hand
- Do not shake the can before opening because we want to scoop the cream that rises on top of the can. The water is beneath the cream, so we don't want to get the water. Scoop the cream out with spoon as much as you can and try not to get any of the water