Amidst the seasonal "cookies baking", I too decided to tag along the bakers and the cookies makers. The Eid is fast approaching. People are busy baking cakes and cookies for sale.
I received this particular recipe to make the much-wanted-most popular" semperit biscuits, from a close friend. Monday morning, we decided to visit Zackry and baby Zara who have just arrived from Qatar with their mom. On our way, we dropped by at the hyper-market. In I went with Di tagging along. Leaving Harith howling at the top of his voice in the car with Zaza at the wheel. We managed the rush. Picking up this and that was easier than taking out the cash to pay!!!
At this point, I remember those days when I have to foot so many bills and bills and bills all alone. It was pleasant to write cheques with my bold hand writing using the thickest of the nib from my black & gold Shaffer pen. When I began writing the dates it was still okay. As my fingers scrolled down to the column I have to write figures, "stars" started flashing in my eyes. This was especially worse after replacing parts for my MPV. It was a rare occasion if the bills were below three figures. Another occasion would be the month I lapse installment payment for it... Anyway, I no longer have to foot any bills now. Thanks to God, Alhmadulillah.
Back to my Semperit Biscuits: once the dough was done, I started looking for the biscuit cutters and its set. They were there but incomplete. It was quite hard to push through those plastic bags manually... hence I added a little milk to make it softer. Yes!!! It worked. Di was making twirls, round and round and making coiling shapes. I just pushed it out of the plastic bag and blop, blop, blop they faithfully came out of the bag. We got three tray of 1.5' x 1.5'. Baked at 170F for 15 to 20 minutes. The color wasn't there at all. They were supposed to be orangish color. Did they put colorings? Ours turned out looking like any butter cookies. It better taste good because I was using the most expensive butter... a canned butter.
Voala! The taste was there although the look wasn't there at all!!!! Congratulations for a successful baking on day ONE.
Taking out this thick "Good Housekeeping Cooker Book" I obtained from England in 1980's, I flicked through the pages... back and forth, back and forth. The book looked so old but not torn. the white papers turned brownish but still legible. What shall I bake today?
Mmmm, lemme see... Creme Puffs looked pretty easy to prepare... what is it that I have not eaten for so so long??? Yes, yes, yes....rock buns.
After copying the recipes I went into the kitchen to look for the ingredients. There was no baking powder. So, how? Never mind. I remember having some SRF but it wasn't sufficient to supplement the plain flour. Never mind. The urge to do (which was rare) was immense. I better do it. Okay.
I summoned Di. She helped with the butter and flour. I was shaving the orange rind and at the same time giving the orange to Harith. I beat the eggs and then poured the milk to soften the dough. The mixed fruits were added. I forget to leave these fruits in the flour. Sugar? Yes, demerara sugar (brown sugar we called it here)... how much to add? 4ozs. BUT there was no weighing scale to weigh it. I roughly scooped out three scoops using Harith's milk scoop. I have no idea how much was 4ozs.
Anyway, using two tea spoons, we finished the dough and line them on one tray. The oven was ready. We finished already? Once baked... almost all the raisins left the rock buns? Freely popping out of the rock bun... LOL!!!!!!!! Anyway, the rock buns were not hard. That was my consolation even though there was no baking powder.
Okay, we shall now prepare the Creme Puffs. I took the butter and cut them, putting in a pot of 150 ml.water. What? Was it 200gms or 2 gms ??? I went back to the recipe that I scribbled on a little square paper. Oh oh... it was only 2 gms. ???? Was that all? I cut a slice of it although wondering how much was 2ozs. So, I took out the remaining block of butter, already in the water, from the water ... hahaha... 8 Tablespoons flour... was ready to be added into the pot. Once the pot was off the stove, I put in all the flour. Stirring vigorously ... oh no! It began to form lumps... I was not strong enough. Di came to the rescue. We did not take out the electric beater. Luckily, she managed to smoothen it. It was easy to fill the baking tray with this dough. It was soft.
Meanwhile, I poured some milk and 3Tbsps. of custard powder and bring to boil. The filling was easy to make. Once done, I cooled the puffs and slit them a bit to allow hot air out. Di managed the rest!! Then she put everything in the fridge.
WoW! That was some baking. Today, I don't have any support from my pic... she said...
"Lets finish everything we baked first, then bake new ones"...
That makes sense. Anyway, most of the recipes requires baking powder or SRF... I better shelf my urge, pack them up and open this note book. This is a borrowed NB. It's Di's. I still haven't got my new cable yet.
My right arm is hurting... the stiring of the puffs had contributed to this pain.
Cookies, pain and pleasure....