This time of the year is the most exciting for us Muslims. As we are approaching the end of Ramadan, preparations for Eid begin. New traditional costumes such as the kebayas and baju kurung are a must as we welcome Eid. Our houses are nicely decorated with new curtains and some with new furnitures. Every member of the family will be given a task, everything is pretty much a family participation. But what I love most is the food. Preparation of baking the kuehs, which are our little sweet delights and cookies, takes place a couple of weeks in advance. Special savoury dishes will be prepared a day ahead and lontong or ketupat, which are traditional rice cakes, will be boiled in huge pots for eight hours.
It is our tradition to serve our guests with delicious food and kuehs. And for a huge family like mine with countless number of relatives, our Eid celebration goes on for about two to three weeks, so you can imagine the amount of yummy food we would consume during that time. When I go visiting, I love to raid the kueh platter that is often laid out on the coffee table. You have spreads from cakes, biscuits to interesting local chips. As we reconnect and immerse ourselves in conversations with one another, we are always accompanied with these goodies.
This particular kueh Makmur that we have here is one of the old classics and is one of my all time favourites. Growing up, I would watch my aunties make this very pretty and delicate cookies intently. It is hard to find a good home made version of this. Many people have gone the easier path and getting store bought. So, I am pleased that I have mastered the making of Makmur. Equipped with the original clippers that have existed in my family since before I was even born, I challenged myself to take on this petite delight most swear is the ultimate combination of complication, cumbersome and time consuming. I’m lucky that patience is one of my virtue as I tackle this challenge head on.
The peanut and sugar filling. 1 of 2 of Grandma’s original clippers from 1950’s. After rolling dough into a ball, flatten the centre for the filling.
Put in desired amount of filling, pinching the sides and gently pressing the edges making sure it is completely sealed.
To make the patterns, first pinch the dough gently through the middle and on each sides, making a leaf pattern.
175g plain flour
100g butter, melted
1.5tbs cold water
1/2tsp vanilla paste/ essence
pinch of salt
30g unsalted roasted peanuts
1/2 cup icing sugar for dusting
This makes about 25 cookies.
For the filling, in a mini food processor, coarsely grind the peanuts with sugar. Set aside.
Sift the flour & salt into a medium bowl, mix in melted butter and knead well.
Mix the vanilla paste with the cold water and mix it in. Knead well until the dough is firm and doesn’t come apart.
Pinch a small mound of the dough, roll into a ball and make a well in the centre. Fill the centre with the peanut filling and seal the edges by pinching it together.
To make the leaf pattern you will need a pair of pincers. Begin with the centre and on each side. Place the makmur cookie on a baking tray. It is not necessary to grease the tray.
As this process do take a while I will only pre-heat the oven to 160 deg Celsius when I’m half way through the batch of pastry dough.
Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 mins. As the cookies are cooling on a wire rack, sift the icing sugar over them. Alternatively, you may also use fine sugar as I have in the first picture.
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