Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year, and 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is the tradition that on the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year(Gong Hay Fat Choi), and receive money in red paper envelopes like those from the picture below (yeah, I know, these are not red. They are more modernized designs and the Chinese believe that gold is another lucky color besides red).
Another tradition on the first day of Chinese New Year is that the families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents and so forth (pretty much like Thanksgiving in the U.S.) Along with our visits, we always bring some delicious treats. And butter cookie has been a popular item that people would bring as a treat. However, I think the popularity of the butter cookie treat is totally influenced by the British culture. This is because Hong Kong was a British Colony from 1841 until 1997, when China regained sovereignty. Nevertheless, these butter cookies are delicious treats, addictively delicious treats! They are buttery and got the melt-in-your mouth texture. I made a batch 2 days ago and they were all gone in a few hours. So, I made 2 more batches yesterday just to make sure I have enough to share with my parents and brothers. (I better wrap them up before they all migrate to my stomach before the new year!)
Since butter is the star ingredient in this recipe, I used the best I could find, Pure Irish Butter! The cookies came out richer and creamier than those with just regular butter. Since one of the Chinese New Year tradition is to go all out to celebrate, it is time to bring out the good stuffs! :) And, how can I resist from adding a chocolate chip on top of each cookie!? I used bitter-sweet chocolate chips, a nice match with these butter cookies since they are not overly sweet. Oh my, I can’t find words to describe their deliciousness any more, they are out of this world yummmmy!
Although I may not be able to visit all of you to deliver a Gong Hay Fat Choi and a basket of butter cookies in person, I want to share this recipe with you and hope you’ll make some at home to enjoy with your family. 恭喜發財(literally means wish you good wealth), also, wish you good health, happiness, longevity and prosperity in the Year of Rabbit!
I'm sharing this post with Holiday Recipe Swap. Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Kerrygold.
Butter Cookies: Printable Recipe
1 1/4 cups cake flour
10 tablespoons butter, room temperature (I used Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter)
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375F. Place rack on the upper 3rd of the oven.
Cream butter with an electric mixer with paddle attachment over medium speed until light. Add caster sugar and powdered sugar, continue to beat until fluffy.
Add egg yolks into the butter mixture, one at a time. Continue to beat until well combined. Then, beat in vanilla extract.
Sift flour and salt into the butter mixture. Use a spatula to combine all ingredients. Transfer the batter into a pastry bag with a large star tip.
Pipe the batter on a lined baking sheet in 1 1/2-inch rounds and 1 1/2-inch apart. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.