Wednesday, January 24, 2018

CNY German Cookies - Year of the Dog

Chinese New Year is again round the corner!

This year I decided to try baking some German Cookies. I have seen pictures and recipe of these cookies being circulated the past few years but never got the chance to bake them. I am always attracted to the cute animal design, each made in accordance to the year of the zodiac. This year 2018 is the Year of the Dog, the design shared on Facebook is simple and cute, thought I will attempt it with the help of my eldest. 

Recipe is adapted from GoodyFoodies, design is adapted from Facebook.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15-17 minutes (per batch)
Makes about 30-40 (depending on the size you make them)

Ingredients

125g butter, softened at room temperature
40g icing sugar, sifted
125g potato starch/flour, sifted
80g plain flour, sifted

Decoration

Koko Krunch for the ears

Chocolate chip for the nose (don't get the Hershey ones that will melt when baked, you don't want the cookies looking like a dog with runny nose!)

Black Sesame Seed for the eyes 

*Note - I thought I can be a lazy mum and use an edible ink pen to dot the eyes, but turns out I can't do that, the cookie is just crumbles whenever I tried to apply the eyes on it *


Method

1. Preheat oven to 170°C (no fan). Line baking tray with grease-proof paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the potato starch and plain flour, and mix to form a soft dough. The dough will look sticky like photo below, but soft enough to pinch off and roll into a ball.



4. Roll the dough into small balls (about 2-3cm diameter), arrange on the baking tray and lighty flatten each piece.

5. To decorate the cookie for Year of the Dog :

(Ears) Attach 1 piece of Koko Krunch on each top side of cookie
(Nose) Attach 1 piece of chocolate chip on the middle section of cookie
(Eyes) Using a pair of tweezers or your fingers, gently position and place the sesame seed above the nose.

If you choose not to decorate, you may use the traditional method of pressing the back of the fork on to the dough to create the classic cookie design. Remember to dip the fork in water before each use so the dough won't stick onto the fork.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 mins on middle rack (Change to setting with fan). It takes 15 mins if you're making 2 cm ones and 17 mins for 3 cm ones . 

The cookie will still look pale yellow when it is baked. Don't worry! This is normal. Allow the cookies to cool on baking tray and store in an airtight container once cooled. 



So here is my final result of German Cookie, the left is classic design, the right is Year of the Dog design. My elder girl got lazy after making first batch (she just wanted to roll the dough!) so poor mummy had to decorate the rest of the cookie before just switching to the classic design LOL. I also made the mistake of using edible ink pen for the eyes, but it did not turn out well so I have a batch of 'blind' dog cookies as well. 



It is a very simple recipe to make, can't go wrong, especially for a noob baker like me! I like how it crumbles and melt in my mouth. If too lazy to do fancy decoration, just stick back the classic design.

This recipe is a keeper, hope to be able to do it next Chinese New Year!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Autumnz Silicone Breastmilk Collector Review

It felt like not long ago I had stopped my breastfeeding journey ever since R self-weaned at one year old. In end July 2017, I had started back my breastfeeding journey once again with the birth of J2.

I thought I had experienced it all throughout my 3 other breastfeeding journey so I did not bother doing anymore research. However, a picture posted by a Facebook friend piqued my curiosity. She had just delivered, and her photo showed a strange looking cup with breast milk inside. I asked her what it is, and she told me it is a silicone breast milk collector, or some calls it silicone breast pump. She also mentioned the original brand who came up with this silicone breast pump is Haakaa, but there are plenty of generic brands out in the market, which she is currently using as well.

I did a brief Google search on this silicone breast pump, and then right away search for this item on Lazada. There were many options and different price range. The original Haakaa costs around RM100 on average, while the generic brands was going as low as RM15. I decided to go for Autumnz Silicone Breast milk Collector, as the Haakaa was beyond my budget and I don't really trust the generic brands. I am currently using Autumnz's storage bags, so I am comfortable with this brand.



So how it works is pretty simple - The milk collector works as a suction, just attach it to one side, and it will draw milk by using the suction function. Once done, just detach the milk collector and transfer the milk into a storage bottle or bag.

I put the milk collector up to test right after my delivery at the hospital. While breastfeeding my baby in the nursery, I placed the milk collector on my left side while baby nursed at the right. Within 15 minutes, this is how much colustrum I managed to collect, without much effort! Even the nurse was impressed!




I ended up buying one more so I have a pair, in which I can use interchangeably either when I nurse or pump. 

It has been 2 months of regular use, and below is my observation of using this milk collector:

PROS

  • No assembly required - Just the milk collector and cover will do
  • Easy to clean. It is made of 100% food grade silicone, and is safe to use with sterilizer. 
  • Easy to use - No instructions needed, just attach and let the suction work.
  • Affordable - This may not work for all moms, but I have seen some moms swear by the milk collector doing the job of a breast pump. The Autumnz brand cost around RM30 each, definitely cheaper than Medela or Avent pump.
  • No more wet t-shirts or wet towels - I still remember the early days nursing my eldest i just had to stuff towels under my t shirt else it will be wet. Now it is a thing of the past!
  • No more balancing act - When I was nursing my 3rd baby, I would try to balance a storage bottle on my knee/tummy to collect leaking milk. I really think I could work in the circus back then!
  • Compact, good for travel - Nowadays I will pack one milk collector, one storage bottle and one ice pack into this Tollyjoy thermal bag, which I can use it anytime I nurse.


CONS
  • Hard or tricky to make the suction work - I have came across forums and even Youtube stating which is the best way to attach the milk collector. Most of the days I don't have this issue, but there are bad days whereby I had to try at least 5 times to ensure the milk collector won't fall off. I'd probably say it is trial and error. I also found that it works better on an engorged boob.
  • Milk collector tumbling down - Argh! Nothing worse than having your half-filled milk collector tumbling down while nursing, resulting in spilled milk, a cranky baby and upset mummy. After this happened twice, I learned my lesson and decided to empty my milk collector when it is one third full to avoid any accidents. 
  • No secured cover - The round cover on the milk collector is just literally a cover. It does not in any way prevent the milk from spilling out if you knocked over it accidentally. I strongly recommend transferring the milk into a storage bottle or bag immediately after use.

Overall, I am very happy with my Autumnz Milk Collector, it has helped me to collect and store more milk without the hassle of balancing act, and definitely a life-saver when it comes to relieved engorgement. I only wish this was available much, much earlier!