Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

咸蛋黄年饼 Chinese New Year Salted Egg Yolk Cookies

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Chinese New Year is barely 2 weeks awauleft and there is still so much to be done! Not started on spring cleaning yet and I’d planned a whole list of CNY goodies to bake but it looks like some of them have to be shelved to 2017! I saw folks baking these salted egg yolk cookies 2 years back and gotten round to bake a really small batch of them (half recipe) last year. They were really melt-in-the-mouth but at the same time really fragile to handle. I guess that kinda stopped me from baking them again last year. Just last week, a friend, Cecilia brought up the topic of these salted egg yolk cookies again, for she too faced the same problem of the dough being too soft to handle and also the final product being really crumbly and difficult to store without some “casualties”, e.g. broken pieces. Not really a nice thing to gift someone broken cookies and crumbs yeah? That prompted me to look into the recipe again and true enough, it can be easily re-written to make the cookies much easier to handle yet without losing the coveted melt-in-the-mouth texture. Read on to find out how…

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Prima facie, one may think that it sounds kinda bizarre and would probably taste weird to have salted egg yolks in a cookie. But the truth can’t be further. All the “negativities” one often relate to salted egg yolks, like being really salty or smelling really “eggy” etc are completely unfound in the cookies. All that is left is a wonderful concoction of umami flavours amidst the buttery goodness, not forgetting the wonderful aroma of the toasted sesame seeds as they crackle in one’s mouth. They are really addictive to say the least and I guarantee that making one portion of the recipe is hardly enough, especially when one intends to share the joy of snacking of these cookies with loved ones.
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The recipe is quite straightforward. Apart from the usual cookie dough handling technique, the only additional thing one has to do is to steam the salted egg yolks and mash them up. It is that simple! Buy the salted eggs from a reputable seller. I got mine from a local supermarket, produced by a local egg merchant. I don’t think these salted eggs are prepared locally though, but at least there is some quality assurance against buying “bad” salted eggs where the yolks are not longer  glorious golden orange but has become yellowish-green and sometimes even black! You have been warned…

I’d used Echire butter for my salted egg yolk cookies. Basically any good butter would do. Toast the sesame seeds a day before so that they are really “fresh” and aromatic, with the additional boost given during the final cookie baking.
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The dough after modification is much easier to handle now at room temperature. Do give the dough some time to rest for the flavours of the various components to infuse into the dough. The dough is then rolled out to about 5 mm thickness. I used a pair of disposable chopsticks as a guide and then my trusty cookie cutter which allows me to cut out quite a number of cookie dough at one go. I chilled the cookie dough for a couple of hours as I was in a rush to get out of the house after preparing the dough. But I find the dough easier to handle when it is at room temperature. It is sufficient soft and pliable so that the cut out pieces don’t crack easily when nudged out of the cookie cutter. At the same time, they hold their shape easily and do not require additional “help” like dusting with flour etc.
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A couple of trays of cut out salted egg yolk cookie dough before baking…
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Be generous with the eggwash. That is one good piece of advice I can give you. Be very generous because it serves not only to make the cookies look more pleasing aesthetically, they also help to hold the cookie together, not to mention work as a glue to keep the sesame seeds stuck on the surface.
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Finally, watch your oven for the first batch of cookies one makes. Every oven works differently and has its own temperaments. Bake the first batch with care and subsequently just replicate the same conditions for your own oven future batches. The “target” is to get the cookies really golden brown, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth…

Chinese New Year Salted Egg Yolk Cookies Recipe

makes around 150 yo 170 pieces, depending on size of cookie cutter used

280g plain flour
20g corn starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tspbaking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 tbsp milk powder (from baking supplies shop, not baby milk formula)
4 to 6 salted egg yolks, depending on your personal liking of the salted egg yolk taste in the cookies
150g butter, at ambient temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g icing sugar
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 egg yolk for egg wash
1 tbsp toasted black sesame mixed with 1 tbsp toasted white sesame for topping

Steam salted egg yolks for about 5 min or until cooked. Mash with a fork or potato masher while still hot and set aside to cool down.
Sift all the dry ingredients i.e. flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and milk powder together a few times and set aside.
Place butter, salt, mashed salted egg yolks and icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment, mix on medium-low speed until all the ingredients are uniformly mixed.
Add sifted dry ingredients mixture and mix at low speed until everything JUST comes together to form a soft and pliable dough. Set aside to rest for 30 mins.
Roll out dough to 5mm thickness and cut into desired shapes using dough cutters. Place on baking trays lined with greaseproof baking parchment and brush the surface of the cookies with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on top of the egg wash
Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for 16 to 18 minutes until surface turns beautifully golden brown. Watch the cookies closely for the first batch and adjust baking time accordingly to own oven. Do not overbake or the cookies will taste burnt and bitter.
Leave to cool down completely to ambient temperature before storing in airtight containers.

4 responses

  1. Anna Sim

    Hi, thanks for sharing the recipe. You have a interesting cutter, may i know where did you buy it from ? I am in Singapore. Anna

    February 10, 2016 at 10:26 pm

  2. Alana

    Hi – Happy New Year! May I ask if the butter in the recipe is salted or unsalted?

    January 3, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Baking recipes always use unsalted butter unless stipulated otherwise. 🙂

      January 3, 2017 at 10:47 pm

  3. Alana

    Thank you 👍🏻

    January 5, 2017 at 10:44 pm

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