Cookies and Snacks of CNY

I’m still in the CNY mood though we officially started work on Monday.

What would CNY be like without mandarin oranges?
What would CNY be like without mandarin oranges?

I still have lots of CNY cookies so I decided a little pictorial glimpse of what’s sitting on my kitchen counter would be good.
This year, I didn’t manage to get a jar of my aunt’s famous pineapple tarts. I dare say that Mrs Wong’s jam tarts are the most looked forward to item in my repertoire of edibles and munchies. This year though what with me running around doing this and that, we placed our orders too late (gah!) and didn’t manage to get any. Hmmm….I must remind myself to get my orders in earlier NEXT year. Even clients love these tarts.
They’re bigger than the usual supermarket variety with a beautiful melt-in-the-mouth buttery goodness. As the pastry dissolves, the sweet pineapple jam oozes out! It is that delightful! I call them artisanal tarts because they’re all made by hand.
Anyway, my sis made me some jam tarts so here’s how her’s look like. Mrs Wong’s are similar – they’re actually in a roll form.
My sis made these jam tarts
My sis made these jam tarts

This year too I ordered some lovely mini popiah from Cecilia. They’re little deep-fried spring rolls with pork floss. They’re highly addictive and make good munchies for TV time. Fortunately, I managed to order two jars from her. She usually makes these for her family and they’re really not for sale. What I especially like is the fact that the pork floss is also made in her kitchen! These days, people normally take the easy way out and buy ready-made pork floss. (I used to help my Grandma make pork floss and it is such back-breaking and hot work! Sitting for an hour or so in front of a charcoal stove and stirring the pork meat in a wok is no fun. And after all that hard work, all you ended up with was a small clump of pork floss!). Cecilia’s mini popiah is crunchy and tasty and best of all, not at all oily (as one would expect from deep-fried snacks).
As you can see, most of the mini popiah is gone....down our tummies!
As you can see, most of the mini popiah is gone....down our tummies!

I also ordered ‘ngar ku’ chips from Cecilia. Made from arrowhead bulbs (a clear sign that CNY is coming), ‘ngar ku’ chips beats potato chips any day, hands down. Expert technique is much in need because the thinly sliced arrowhead must be deep-fried in hot oil just so. Any longer in hot oil and the edges singe, giving off a bitter and unpalatable taste. Now Cecilia and her family again are maestros at this. Her ‘ngar ku’ chips are a shade of lovely gold and not over-fried at all.
"Ngar ku" chips are better than potato chips
Another favourite cookie for CNY is definitely the ubiquitious butter cookie. Now everyone has their own butter cookie recipe. And it all boils down to using the best butter you can find, according to the people I’ve spoken to. Of course butter is mighty expensive these days so a good butter cookie must be fragrant like butter with a totally melt-in-the-mouth quality. Some people prefer a crunchier butter cookie; others like a butter cookie which melts as soon as it hits your tongue. This year, I ordered butter cookies from my cousin and Mrs Hor, my neighbour plus my sis made some for me too. See, I’m very blessed!
Simple traditional favourite - butter cookies
Simple traditional favourite - butter cookies

My sis made me some Almond London (or are they called London Almond?) cookies. They were amazingly in vogue some years ago but now almost everyone knows how to make them. Essentially it is a whole almond encased in a light biscuit-like crust; the entire almond-biscuit is dipped in melted chocolate. I believe these are popular among the Malays for Hari Raya celebrations and somehow, we’ve managed to ‘borrow’ them for CNY.
Almond London - always a hit with choc fans
Almond London - always a hit with choc fans

I also ordered cheese cookies from Mrs Hor. I love anything and everything cheesy so these were perfect for guests (and me). It makes a good complementary cookie because its savoury taste is much welcome after so much sweetness! Her cheese cookies are pretty heart shape cookies and full of parmesan yumminess. Oh and a jar of her much-loved cranberry oat cookies. Chewy and healthy, they go best with a cup of hot Ceylon tea!
Savoury cheese cookies
Savoury cheese cookies

Cranberry oat cookies - chewy and healthy!
Cranberry oat cookies - chewy and healthy!

Finally, seaweed snacks. This is all the rage (and perhaps is still all the rage) due to its addictiveness. It is also easy to make. Like all deep-fried snacks, go easy on this. My aunt gave me a jar of this and I am keeping this for times when I really need to snack.
Deep-fried seaweed snacks
Deep-fried seaweed snacks

I had wanted to make some buttercrunch since all my cookies are ordered from other folks. In the end, I didn’t make any because I ran out of brown sugar and Tesco ran out of their brown sugar supply the week before CNY. I was raring to try this buttercrunch recipe from my bread sifu. Hopefully I’ll get around to this before Chap Goh Meh!
In case you’ve wondered why all the cookies in my kitchen are ordered or gifted, truth be told is I’ve never had much patience or inclination to make cookies. I’m just not that kind of cook. I love cakes though but even so, I don’t bake that much. Isn’t it great that I’m surrounded by family and friends who bake yummy cookies?
If you’re salivating…..now it’s time to tell me, what’s your favourite CNY snack or cookie? (Speaking of snacks, there’s a whole different ballgame going on for Kuchingites and their snacks.)
Not so shameless plug for the bakers mentioned above:
My sister, Mei, takes cookie orders all year round. Please note she lives in Banting, Selangor. Her email is alyagoon [at] yahoo.com (Here’s one post where you can see how she looks like.)
Mrs Hor also takes orders for cookies – she lives here in Penang.