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Sesame Honeycomb Cookies - CNY Crispies # 1

Monday, January 9, 2012

Last year, I did a cookie week for CNY, this year and Fried-Up week. Hopefully next year when CNY lands on end of February, I'll be doing a Dried Up week for CNY, because the sky is blue and air is dry when January begins.. right up until end of February.

To start the ball, rolling... It's honeycomb cookies. Actually, this is not a Chinese thingy, you won't find this made by our China counterparts. In India these are called called Achappam. Or why it's called kuih Ros, it's because in English, it's called rosettes. European countries make these too, Swedish, Polish, Italian (Crispelle). Iranian (nan panjara), Turks (Demir talisi) and Mexicans (Bunuelos) also make these! And these cookies are actually Scandinavian in origin. You can read more about this in Wikipedia with the part about it being called in Malaysia being absolutely incorrect.

Now, I am aiming to get some moulds made in other forms, snowflakey, daisy or even butterfly. Haha.. collection!

I have a confession to make. I used to think of these cookies are overpriced. Well, of course some are of good quality, and some are just so so. I used to think that these are just dipped in a low cost batter and fried, how hard can these be to fetch such a price?

This first attempt in making these truly changed my opinion on this. It's not really that easy!!!
Long story cut short, my first attempt almost made me cried buckets. I couldn't sleep that night. It was that bad. Used a copper mould and the batter will either not stick or got burnt. I couldn't handle the temperature well.

The next day, I got myself some more coconut milk and tried again with the same recipe. And Reese (the traditional tid-bits queen, LOL, she'll kill me for writing this) adviced me to use medium heat. Still it wasn't that good. I could get it done, but not as well as I hoped it is, let's say 30% decent, and not even pretty at all. I'm just not satisfied. I must make at least 90% decent ones. I'm not asking for perfect, at least decent.

I told my husband, I really needed to go out and he took care of the 3 kids for me. I went to the crockery shop and got myself 2 brass moulds instead. Heavier and thicker! And surely these will retain heat better, thus make the batter stick the mould. (Reese's mom used brass too! She told me) Indeed! They worked like a charm. Even on medium low heat, I could fry these beautifully. The batter stuck to the brass mould like how my kids will cling to me.. tight and all around. Beautiful. And the cookies are fairer, oil is still light coloured, unlike the oil with the copper ones. The oil of that batch turned brown after frying. Weird.

I tried Amy Beh's recipe featured in Kuali.com.
The cookies are not as "brittle" as I hoped they will be. Still a bit hard for my liking, but generally nice. But it's very user friendly, provided, you use a brass mould. I hope to try more recipes and find my golden ratio, but time does not permit.

Honeycomb Cookies / Rosettes
Recipe referred from Kuali.com with personal adaptations

125gm rice flour
125gm all purpose flour
125gm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
180gm coconut milk (pure)
220gm water
1 egg

1 cup sesame seeds
Oil for frying

1. Combine all batter ingredients and leave it for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a wok and put in cooking oil.
3. Put in 2 brass rosette moulds and heat up together with the oil. (medium heat)
4. Pour some of the batter into a separate cup/bowl and stir in some sesame seeds. (You might need to top up the sesame seeds from time to time because each dipping will decrease the amount of sesame seeds in batter)
5. Remove one mould from the hot oil and dip it into the batter for 2 seconds, You will hear a light sizzle. (Take care not to fully dip. Make sure the top doesn't touch the batter, if not the cookie will not release itself from the mould)
6. Place mould back into the hot oil and try to push the mould as far into the oil as possible, w/o touching the base so that the heat will push the "sides" up and it won't fall down (do it and u will know what I mean)
7. Fry the mould for about 15-20 seconds, the only start to jiggle the mould to release the cookie. (jiggle too soon and you have a cookie with no structure, all flat or spread apart)
8. Flip cookie to have even frying on both sides. Lift cookie up to drain off the oil.
9. Let the mould go back into the oil and use the other mould to do step 5-8. Alternate the moulds so that each will be properly heated through.
10. When cookies have cooled,  store in air tight container.

See the difference? Same batter, but different looks and colour. I could never get the ones made with copper to look like the ones made with the brass mould. Can anyone gimme an explanation??? Please. Chemistry experts out there????? Anyone?

These were made yesterday, with another recipe. Mouthfeel yes very delicious, looks very pretty. BUT........it is very temperamental. This recipe's batter cooks too easily and will just drop off a hot mould. Needs a not too hot mould to make. And needs a lower heat to cook. So, not all recipes work the same way.... I won't be posting this recipe because I actually dropped 30% of my uncooked cookies off the mould back into the batter just because the mould was too hot. After the first one dropped, immediately I put the mould back into the batter and it stuck nicely when it was actually cooler. It only needed a very faint sizzling sound unlike the recipe above that needs to hear a proper sizzle to get it adhered. So, not all recipes work the same, not the same experience applies to all recipes. Work with the one you are most familiar with.

47 lovely notes:

WyYv January 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM  

This is my fav CNY snack beside the fried seaweed! Yummy!

Hody Loh January 9, 2012 at 11:42 AM  

i also have the same problem every year i make honeycomb cookies.can you give me the last recipe you make?i also want to try.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM  

yummy hoh!

Hmmm... no la. It's not very user friendly. I wasted 1/3 of the batter because it kept on dropping off. Let me tweak it first, then I will share. I fry until almost wanted to cry too, cos drop drop drop. But at least those that didn't drop was pretty, and that was consolation. If I could tweak until it's user friendly and delicious, then I will post it.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 9, 2012 at 12:21 PM  

If it's the looks u're going for, try the recipe above w/o sesame seeds, it will still look like this. But texture wise, not as brittle only. Maybe add another 50ml water, cos this 2nd recipe's flour/liquid's ratio is almost like that too.

Anonymous,  January 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM  

Hi Wendy

Just sent you a message for Honey comb recipe in your FB. Its my mom's recipe. Hope it helps.


busygran January 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM  

Super Mum, I like your enthusiasm and vigour!
As far as I can recollect, my mum used brass mould for her kueh kueh and other fried stuffs!
Copper tend to conduct heat faster than brass, so that could be the reason why your cookie turned darker faster. My two-cents worth!

Hody Loh January 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM  

i know that felling.i thought this year i dont want to make honeycomb already but my family love it.

Honey Bee Sweets January 9, 2012 at 1:33 PM  

I have a brass mould somewhere in my store room and made it quite long ago before blogging. Indeed not an easy recipe to handle but it's a matter of trial and error with good recipe with good temp control. Nowadays just plain lazy to do fried cookies, hahaha!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 9, 2012 at 1:45 PM  

thanks for the recipe, i'll try that next year :)

The weirdest part is the copper mould made the oil brown too!

It's hard to say no when family loves it.. die die do right!

Oh yes, not easy... truly not!

Hody Loh January 9, 2012 at 1:54 PM  

sorry...is feeling..hehehe..:p

鲸鱼蓝蓝蓝 January 9, 2012 at 2:13 PM  


“追食富迪” January 9, 2012 at 4:49 PM  


Sherleen.T January 9, 2012 at 5:37 PM  

i like the last picture, the shape is so beautiful and smooth, golden brown color just look so perfect...

ICook4Fun January 9, 2012 at 7:36 PM  

I agreed with you. No easy making this traditional cookies. The last time I made these I also wanted to cry ha ha.. I threw out half the batter because I can cope doing all on my own. Too bad this year I don't have the time to make anything so no CNY for us :(

Sharon @ Feats of Feasts January 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM  

Yay!! Fried treats! One word....WOW...they look amazing and i 'tabik' you for having the patience to try and try again. :)

lena January 9, 2012 at 8:25 PM  

i will get these every year..think they are selling around RM18-RM20 per container..i dont mind paying for that..cos i know i will never able to make those. Now i know the possible outcome of using copper compared to brass ones.

Min January 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM  

It really needs a lot of patient and sweat to make this one, so I don't even dare to try, hehe. I love those with sesame :)

ReeseKitchen January 9, 2012 at 9:34 PM  

Ha....there you are!! I actually not a fan of this cookies but they were nice to look at...;p Love the patterns...hehe! Nice and good experiments you had Wendy...bravo!!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) January 9, 2012 at 9:49 PM  

This is a one CNY cookie that i want to learn and make, but i have yet to get a mould, now i know i need to get a brass mould..Thanks for sharing your experiences, much appreciate.

Jes's Deli Corner January 9, 2012 at 10:32 PM  

I bought this last year from pasar malam,can tasted like they used the cheap oil.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 10, 2012 at 12:30 AM  

Not really la..if u used the right recipe and right mould, it's not hard to make. And the right recipe is the hard part.

come come come!

I wished every piece is like that, ahaha

oh, is it? i also did this on my own. But then, it's the initial frustration that will tempt us to give up.

If I dun try, I tak boleh tahan, cannot sleep, right until I get something decent.

I sell to u la! hahahaha

with sesame taste nice, but dun look that nice.

Thank you for the support and advice given, really appreciate it.

make make make and yes, brass mould!!

oh, they must have made it long ago, chou yau yik right?

edith January 10, 2012 at 9:33 AM  

I really admired your determination.

Anonymous,  January 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM  

I just made these today using my mom's brass mold according to Billy Law's recipe, except I subbed half the flour with cornstarch and they turned out well. My leftover oil was quite dark.



Anonymous,  January 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM  

Everyday have a look at your blog , waiting for your cny cookies ,at last can see it...coz dunno what to make.Thanks for your sharing .Hope to see more so can get idea from u.

Yvonne Yeo

Anonymous,  January 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM  

Hi, Wendy!
Actually u want the best result with beautiful shape, all depend on your mould. U have to buy copper mould which is made from Thailand and have the CERTIFICATE one. That is the perfect mould. If the mould u bought is without certificate, then that is the "PALSU" one!!!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM  

oh, got cert one ah. Actually this copper one that I bought very cheap only RM6, where got certificate, hahaha!
but thanks for this info. If I ever go to Thailand, I'll get some from there

Anonymous,  January 11, 2012 at 2:25 PM  

No need to go Thailand, we can also get it in Malaysia.


wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 11, 2012 at 2:38 PM  

oh, then I have no idea where to get the real stuff in Malaysia. I places I go to, seems to offer all the fake ones only.

Anonymous,  January 11, 2012 at 3:04 PM  

Northern state i.e Kedah is easier to get this stuff. If not mistaken, my aunt bought this at around RM20++


The Experimental Cook January 11, 2012 at 3:52 PM  

My girl ( she's a science nut ) said it's probably a physics issue, not chemistry. The thickness of the brass mold in this case here retains heat better and cooks evenly.

Untinned copper device causes oil to break down and that's probably the reason for the dark colored oil. Then again, that's her theory.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 11, 2012 at 5:09 PM  

Kedah got a lot of Thai stuff to buy, for eg: Changloon. Here, tarak la.

Experimental Cook,
Oooo.. thanks for the explanation.
The thickness part and heat retention part, I do understand. Those made with brass ones actually cook slower than the ones (even after release) made with copper mould. That's the part I can't get it, even after release. If it's still stuck there, then I know it's due the transmission of heat thingy.
oh, copper devices should be tinned? But then again, the one i bought is kinda inferior, it dents easily compared to the one that belongs to my hubby grandmother. It's "harder".
Really appreciate this. Thanks!

Honey boy January 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM  

Very beautiful 'bee hives' !! I love this cookies very very much. Thanks is much for sharing!

kk January 17, 2012 at 4:17 AM  

I've always wanted to make these but I'm too afraid of deep frying. Yours look absolutely delicious!

Addie,  January 27, 2012 at 1:50 PM  

thanks for sharing. you have a wonderful blog and i love the way you explain things step by step with photos :)

To Food With Love January 27, 2012 at 4:01 PM  

These are my favourite CNY snacks! Very addictive! I love to break off each "petal" and eat them slowly one by one ...:)

Anonymous,  January 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM  

why my honeycomb only half the thickness? why why why! do until quiet frustrated and it looks oily too . please help

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM  

Are you using a brass mould or a copper one?
If it's copper, as in a cheap copper one that cost less than RM10, then this is what happened to me too.
If it's a brass mould then it's definitely due to your oil. It's not hot enough. When oil is not hot enough it makes food look oily. And because it's not hot enough, it doesn't stick well to the mould.

Blessed Homemaker January 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM  

I rem when I was still a little girl, my mom used to make this. She has the brass ones and they looked so easy to make. But when I tried my hands on it, I know it's not easy. I've never tried making them again, just sit back and enjoy my mom's cookies. But she has not made these for more than a decade, I wonder if she still have the mould with her..

Anonymous,  January 16, 2013 at 6:45 AM  

Hi Wendy, may I know where I could get the brass mould from KL? Im visiting KL soon would like to bring it home and make some :) dont like the ready-made ones it smell oil ;) thanks, Michelle

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more January 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM  

Which part of KL will u be visiting? Most crockery shops will have it

Anonymous,  January 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM  

Hi Wendy, Im planning to stay around the Chinatown area, am grateful if you could provide address :) my email is michelle.mynet@hotmail.com dont mind taking taxi or lrt ;)thanks, Michelle

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more January 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM  

I'm sorry that I can't provide you with the exact address, but I do know that there are a few shops in that area that sells kitchen stuff, not fancy shops, but those with old world charm :)
It shouldn't be far from the LRT station, I heard.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more January 17, 2013 at 12:02 AM  

Got this one for you, it's the one near to the LRT station. I heard they do wholesale too, so prices could be attractive. The shop's name is Yoong Seng

Anonymous,  February 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM  

If you keep the batter cold and heat up the mold before dipping, it will turn out beautifully. I've never had any problems.

LouiseRisa January 29, 2015 at 7:49 PM  

My family usually adds corn flour instead of all purpose flour. :)

karen lim January 12, 2018 at 9:03 PM  

may i know what can replace if dont use coconut milk. need to use coconut milk?

WendyinKK January 13, 2018 at 7:43 PM  

Karen Lim,
Regional way of doing it uses coconut milk. Scandinavian way will use milk and no sesame seeds. Up to you to choose.

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