Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cookies by request!

I was asked last night to share cookie recipes, so here is one of my favourites [Pictures will be added at a later time]

Shortbread Cookies

4c flour
2c icing sugar
1lb butter [softened]
1T Vanilla 

Cream together butter and icing sugar and vanilla. Fold in flour one cup at a time until you get a stiff dough. Turn out dough into a cookie tray and flatten using your hands to a sheet of dough.

You are looking for 1/2 inch thickness for a crisp cookie, or 1inch for a soft dense cookie.

Bake it at 350deg until the edges start to brown lightly.

Cut the cookies after allowing the tray to cool.

They can be placed in the freezer for later snacking! [That is if you dont eat it all up!]

Next time...

Crackle Top PB Cookies....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chinese New Year 2

To continue into my lunar new year celebrations I want to share with you my recipe for Xiaolongbao or in English Soup Dumplings, more specifically Shanghai style.

I found this one on the net and it was my first time making them, of course making my own adjustments to my tastes. It was easy and the results were pure delish.

This is a heavy recipe as it takes up to two days to complete with each of the three components, Soup jelly, ground mixture and dough. But don't be daunted! There are a few short cuts for these and I will share them for the starter cook!

This is a freezable recipe! When made you can freeze it off on a cookie tray, and cook right from frozen.

Soup Dumplings, Shanghai Style [Xiaolongbao]

Soup Jelly
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, bruised
  • 2 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 4 scallions, knotted
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 L cold water
  • 5 lbs chicken bones, necks, and feet if available
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 package (1 T) gelatin, softened in 2 T cold water
  • 1L Chicken broth [reduced sodium]
  • 1 can beef brovil [reduced sodium]
  • Green onions
  • shrimp shells
  • Ginger, bruised
  • Garlic cloves, bruised [skins and all] 
  • 1 pkg Gelatin softened in 2 T cold water 


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 8 - 10 oz shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 slices ginger, minced [I grated the ginger in, about 1T, but do it to taste]
  • 1½ t sesame oil
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1 T rice wine [Reg white wine is fine too]
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 t cornstarch
  • ¼ t pepper

  •  2½ c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ c flour mixed with ½ c boiling water
  • Cornstarch, for dusting
[note that with the dough, you may need more water or more flour based on how it feels as you mix it, use your instinct]

  • eggroll wrappers [small square size, cut into circles]
  • flour paste to help glue together [1T flour mixed with 2T warm water]

Bring the seasonings, the water, and the chicken parts to a boil. Skim the surface as the stock simmers and cook the stock for 4 to 5 hours (there should be 1 to 2 cups of very rich chicken stock when done). Adjust the seasoning for salt. Bring 1 c of the stock to a boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat, and add the softened gelatin, while stirring. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then pour the gelatin stock into a small square baking pan to chill. (The solidified gelatin will be cut into ¼-inch cubes.)

For the simplified version, brown off the shrimp casings and add in the seasonings and stocks. Bring it all to a boil and let simmer for 2 or so hours or until reduced to about 2c of liquid. Strain the stock and bring 1c to a boil. In a side dish dust the gelatin over cold water as per package instructions and add to boiling stock off the burner. Wisk together and pour into a baking pan [metal works best for cooling over glass ones, I used a cookie try for the Jelly]. Let cool to room temp before placing in fridge for solidifying [to do so beforehand risks spoiling of both the stock and other food in your fridge].

Combine all of the filling ingredients and mix well. Cut the gelatinized chicken stock into ¼-inch [6-mm] cubes. Stir the filling mixture and gently mix in the chicken stock cubes, quickly to prevent the gelatinized chicken stock from liquefying. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Make a well in the center, add the flour mixed with boiling water, and stir well to combine [at this time you might need more liquid of hot water or more flour, use your best judgement]. Knead the sticky dough into a smooth, elastic mass, dusting the work surface with flour as needed. Once the dough has become smooth, continue kneading for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic film and allow it to rest for 1 to 2 hours, refrigerated.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each into a 10-inch cylinder, then divide each cylinder into 16 equal portions. Using a rolling pin, roll each of the 16 pieces into a 3-inch circle. If the dough starts to stick, dust the work surface with cornstarch as the dough is worked. Cover the circles as they are formed [note: do not fret, you don’t need a measuring tape out, the dough balls should be no bigger than the width of a loonie [or American half dollar] and when rolled out it shouldn’t be too much wider than that of your index finger, and not too thin for risk of tearing]

To form soup buns, fill the circles by placing 1½ T [or heaping dessert spoon] of the filling into the center of each round. Pleat the edges in a circular fashion and gather all the edges in the center, forming a purse. Leave a small hole in the center of the crimped pleats to allow steam to escape while cooking. Continue until all are filled, always keeping the dough and the finished dumplings covered with plastic film.

This is perhaps the scariest part when making the dumplings/buns. How I fold is this, holding the wrapper in your left hand place the filling in the centre [you want a rounded dessert spoon]. Fold up the cardinal directions and then pinch these. With the little open pockets pinch and twist them together and you get a pretty blossom twisted together. You want to have a good seal to prevent the soup part to spill out and over.

Note: If at anytime the jelly starts to loosen or melt just toss the mixture into the fridge, cover your wraps and let it chill for a half hour to an hour and go back at it. It is a pretty forgiving mix.

Line a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves or oiled parchment paper, place the buns or the dumplings in it, and steam for 12 minutes.

Serve 4 dumplings per person, directly from the steamer, in small bowls. Top with minced scallion. (A dipping sauce should not be needed, but if one is preferred, I would suggest using some teriyaki sauce mixed with some grated ginger.) Alternatively, 1 T of chicken stock may be ladled over the dumplings.