Chinese New Year Cookies: Butter Cookies Recipe

Okay, I was supposed to record down all the cookie recipes I learned from my MIL during Chinese New Year this year so I wouldn’t forget how to make them in future but I got a little slack.  Darn.  Now I’m not even sure if I can remember the exact recipes…  Ah well, at least I remembered hubby’s favourite – Pineapple Tarts – which I’m sure in his mind is the most important.  Well, it’s also the most important in my son’s mind since that’s the cookie he likes best, too.  Like father, like son…

Anyway, I’ll still try to blog the other recipes over the next few days if I can still remember them.

Butter Cookies Recipe


Today, I’m going to talk about what happened with the Butter Cookies.  This was probably one of the rare occasions when my MIL’s recipe failed her – however, I am more inclined to think that she got a little mixed up with so many things to keep track of.

The ingredients for the original recipe we tried was the same as the Melting Moments recipe but without the Nestum.  Since butter cookies need to be piped, we found the mixture too soft to handle and had to add more flour to the mix.  Even then the cookies looked a little funny because they lacked the body to hold their shape.  We also made the mistake of working in the heat of the kitchen which was rather unforgiving to the butter cookies mixture.

Note: When you live in a tropical country, baking is just that much more tricky because cooking with anything that involves butter is highly sensitive to room temperatures.  I remember making my famous Cheese Cake recipe which had been perfected to an art while I was in Australia only to discover that the recipe didn’t replicate so well in a tropical country.

Anyway, my MIL being the perfectionist that she is, wanted to make the Butter Cookies again.  The following day, we modified the recipe like so:


  • 250g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla


1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (sugar must be completely dissolved).


2. Add egg yolks, beating well after each addition.

3. Add vanilla essence.

4. Add sifted flour gradually.

5. Brush the trays with oil or butter.


6. Pipe the mixture into rosettes and add a small piece of cut glace cherries in the center.  (Just so you know, the addition of the red glace cherry isn’t just to make the cookies look pretty.  The red colour is significant for Chinese New Year).


7. Bake in 160 degrees celcius for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.


It turned out pretty well except that my MIL felt the texture was all wrong for Butter Cookies.  “Butter cookies should melt in the mouth,” she said.  As far as butter cookies go, yes, I do like the ones that melt in the mouth but I thought these were pretty good, too.

After a while, I remembered a melt-in-the-mouth Almond Cookie recipe that my aunt used to make which was pretty much like a Butter Cookie recipe with ground almonds in it.  I also remembered that she used icing sugar instead of castor sugar which would possibly explain why the texture of my MIL’s cookies weren’t “melt-in-the-mouth”.

So we tried the recipe again but this time substituting the castor sugar for icing sugar.  For some reason, it didn’t seem to be any more “melt-in-the-mouth” than the second batch of Butter Cookies we had made.  I did find some alternative recipes which I thought we could try next year:

Melting Moments from the Joy of Baking

Almond Melting Moments

7 thoughts on “Chinese New Year Cookies: Butter Cookies Recipe

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Ideally, I think if you are making something sweet, then unsalted is the preferred option, however, we did use salted (because couldn’t find unsalted in the supermarket) and it was fine. Hope you like the biscuits.


  3. Hi,

    I tried making the cookies, but it all melted once I put into the oven. Any idea why this is so? I use Icy sugar though:) flour I use plain flour. Thanks to advise.


  4. Hi Jane – I’m not too sure. This is the recipe we used and managed to get the shape to remain, although I cannot recall if we used castor sugar or icing sugar. You could try removing one of the egg yolks to make the mixture a little drier. Not sure if that would help.


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