Piped Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies 雲尼拿唧花牛油曲奇

It’s cookie time again. Who can resist cookies that are buttery, tender, crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth? Definitely not me. I have already discussed the keys to success when it comes to making piped or spritz cookies (read about my blog posts, Espresso Chocolate Spritz Cookies and Viennese Sabés). Now I’d like to elaborate more. This time I will focus on the main ingredients as well as some other aspects that would make an impact on your cookies. It’s gonna be a lengthy post so bear with me. If you are not interested at all or hate reading, feel free to scroll down and jump right into the recipe part. I developed this recipe with reference to some online recipes. I’ve experimented with different ingredients and come up with a straightforward method. You will be amazed to discover that making beautiful shortbread cookies is not intimidating at all.
又是曲奇了!誰能抵擋充滿牛油香,鬆化,入口即溶的曲奇呢?EC絕對不能。之前曾分享過唧花曲奇的成功秘訣(詳情請參考朱古力咖啡唧花牛油曲奇維也納曲奇),今天將會繼續暢談曲奇,EC會探討主要材料及其他影響曲奇製成品之元素,因此文章篇幅頗長,沒興趣或不愛閱讀的即管往下滑直接觀看食譜好了…EC參考過不同網上食譜,利用不同材料做實驗,最終領悟出一個超簡單做法。原來漂亮的唧花曲奇真的不是很難做哦!

Understanding how the ingredients work together and the science behind them could help you improve your baking skills. It also allows you to tweak an existing recipe to fit your taste. Let’s go over each ingredients in my cookie recipe.
了解材料如何互相配搭影響及其背後之科學原理可幫助提升烘焙技巧,亦可依自己口味自行改動調整現有食譜。以下EC將分析此曲奇食譜的各種材料。

Butter
Butter is what make your shortbread cookies shine. Here you really need to choose a high-quality butter. I typically use unsalted butter as it allows me to control the amount of salt. I have experimented with both regular butter and European-style cultured butter and I chose the latter for my recipe despite its extra cost. European-style butter contains a higher butterfat content (a minimum of 82% compared to 80% in regular North American butter) so it has a much richer taste. It feels softer than regular butter under room temperature. The addition of lactic cultures in the production of cultured butter creates a tangy taste which is distinctive. The acidic nature of the butter further softens the dough and makes the cookies extra tender, which is a bonus for shortbread cookies. This is also the reason why I always replace milk with sour cream or homemade buttermilk in my butter cake or cupcake recipes (read about my blog post, Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake for an example). If you would like to read more about the differences between these butters, feel free to check out this article from Bon Appétit.
牛油
牛油曲奇,顧名思義,是用牛油做的曲奇。牛油是主角嘛,因此選用高質素的牛油是理所當然的。 為了能更好控製烘焙成品的鹽量,EC一般只使用無鹽牛油。此外,EC比較過普通牛油和歐式發酵牛油, 縱然後者價錢較貴,最終仍選擇以此撰寫食譜。 歐式發酵牛油的乳脂含量至少在82%以上(北美的普遍牛油只是80%),奶香味很濃郁,室溫下比普通牛油軟身。 牛油在生產過程中加入了乳酸菌, 發酵過後味道帶點微酸,風味非常獨特。牛油中的酸能進一步軟化麵糰,以致曲奇口感更鬆軟,這正是EC常常使用酸忌廉或自製白脫牛奶(buttermilk)代替牛奶做牛油蛋糕和杯子蛋糕的原因(例子可參考朱古力酸忌廉蛋糕)。 若要進一步了解普通牛油和發酵牛油的分別,請參考Bon Appétit的這篇網誌

Make sure your butter are extremely soft before you begin. Unless you live in an area with super hot weather, “room temperature butter” simply won’t describe it. Re-read my beginning sentence. When I say “extremely soft”, I mean really really really soft. I am talking about butter that is as soft as mayonnaise or toothpaste. I even soak my mixing bowl in warm water in order to further soften my softened butter. This is the only butter consistency to create a soft dough that can be easily and smoothly piped out without any addition of liquid. If your dough is too stiff, you will usually end up with one (or more) of the following situations: (1) you have a hard time piping; (2) your piping bag bursts during piping; and (3) your piped out shapes have cracks all around the edges as the dough is not smooth enough.
牛油必須回溫到非常,非常,非常軟身才可使用。除非居住地區十分炎熱,否則“室溫牛油”並不足以形容所需之牛油軟度。請重複閱讀此段落,EC說牛油要非常,非常,非常軟身啊!說了三次“非常”, 這裏所指的是蛋黃醬或牙膏等的軟度!EC甚至會把鋼盆浸在暖水中幫助軟化室溫牛油,因為只有這麼軟的牛油才能在不額外添加液體之情況下做出容易擠出的軟滑麵糰。麵糰過硬的話一般只有以下收場: 1)出盡九牛二虎之力方可擠出麵糰;2)唧花中途唧袋爆破;3)擠出的麵糰過硬並不順滑,邊緣充滿裂痕影響外觀。

Flour
Flour plays a crucial part in determining both the texture and structure of your baked goods. In general, wheat flour with lower protein content produces cookies that are tender and crumbly. The low protein wheat flour here in Canada are called Cake and Pastry Flour. It is made from soft wheat and has a protein content of 10%. In my shortbread recipe, cornstarch is added to further reduce the protein content in order to create a more melt-in-your-mouth texture. On the other hand, wheat flour with higher protein content yields a stronger structure. Canadian all-purpose flour typically consists of both hard red spring wheat and soft wheat and has a protein content of 13%. Cookies with a strong structure are better at maintaining their shapes. Look at the pictures of my Espresso Chocolate Spritz Cookies which were made solely with all purpose flour. They have a more defined shape due to a stronger structure. The cookies were more of a crunchy type.
麵粉
麵粉是影響曲奇成品質地和組織的重大因素。一般來說,蛋白質含量度低的小麥麵粉所做的曲奇口感會較蓬鬆。 加拿大的低筋麵粉以軟質小麥研磨製作而成,蛋白質含量約10%。為了做出曲奇在入口咀嚼後化開的效果,EC在配方添加粟粉加以降低蛋白質含量。反之,蛋白質含量較高的小麥麵粉曲奇製成品內部組織會較強。加拿大中筋麵粉以硬質紅春小麥及軟質小麥混合研磨製成,蛋白質含量約13%。內部組織強,筋度足夠的曲奇易於維持唧花後的形狀,烘焙後花紋較清晰,朱古力咖啡唧花牛油曲奇因為使用了中筋麵粉,曲奇組織較強,因此從相片可見曲奇形狀和花紋特別清晰漂亮,口感亦較脆。

Sugar
I have tried this recipe with granulated sugar, organic cane sugar as well as icing/powdered sugar. Both granulated sugar and organic cane sugar make cookies crispy. Tastewise i like organic cane sugar the best. The cookies have a subtle flavor of sugarcane that I definitely enjoy. In fact I have switched to this type of sugar in all my baked goods for some time. However, in terms of tenderness, icing sugar is the winner. Icing sugar is just very finely ground white sugar with cornstarch added to prevent it from clumping together. My deduction is that the cornstarch has further lowered the protein content, contributing to the tenderness.

EC分別用過細砂糖,有機蔗糖和糖粉測試食譜,發覺細砂糖和有機蔗糖做的曲奇較脆口。味道上EC最喜歡有機蔗糖,曲奇擁有淡淡蔗糖香味風味較佳,基本上EC早已用此取替所有白砂糖。但是在曲奇口感上,糖粉似乎更勝一籌,糖粉是磨成粉末狀的白砂糖,內裏混合了粟粉防止結塊。也許是多了粟粉的緣故吧,糖粉製成的曲奇明顯較鬆化。

Vanilla Bean Paste
Vanilla bean paste is a thick syrup-like mixture made with pure vanilla extract, vanilla beans, water and sugar with a thickener such as xanthan gum or gum tragacanth added. It is so much stronger than pure vanilla extract and is a lot more affordable than vanilla beans. I like it also because It adds a freckled appearance on the baked goods. If you don’t have any vanilla bean paste or would like a more economical option then pure vanilla extract of good quality would be a close substitute. It can be used as a one to one substitute for vanilla bean paste but there won’t be any specks of black. Avoid any cheap imitation vanilla extract as its flavor is not even close to the real thing.
雲尼拿醬
雲尼拿醬是混合了純雲尼拿香油,雲尼拿籽,水,糖與玉米糖膠或黃耆樹膠等黏稠劑所製成,像糖漿般的香料,香味比純雲尼拿香油濃郁,售價也比原條雲尼拿豆莢便宜,內裡的雲尼拿籽能為製成品添上微小的黑點,十分吸引。 沒有雲尼拿醬或想經濟一㸃的話可用高品質純雲尼拿香油以一比一份量代替,只是內裡欠缺漂亮的雲尼籽。建議不要使用價錢便宜的人工合成雲尼拿香油,因為味道實在差天共地了。

Salt
Salt is a flavor enhancer and a small pinch will do the job. There is a large variety of salt available on the market but sea salt and pink Himalayan salt are my personal favorites. Pay attention to the grain size though. If coarse salt is used, less of it will fit in your measuring spoon and vice versa. Unless otherwise specified, fine salt is what I use in all my recipes.

鹽有助提升味道,一小撮經已足夠。 市面上食鹽種類繁多,EC較喜歡使用海鹽或粉紅岩鹽。注意鹽的顆粒有粗幼之分,若以量匙取相同容量的鹽,顆粒粗的鹽在重量上會少些,幼鹽則相反。除非特別註明,EC食譜均使用幼鹽。

Apart from ingredients, here are some more tips I would like to share with you:
除了材料,以下還有一些小貼士:

Mixing
First I’d like to talk about the mixing method. You may notice that my instructions are rather simple and straightforward. One bowl of very soft butter with flavoring mixed in. One bowl of dry ingredients. Fold the two together then you are done! This is an eggless recipe and there is no liquid except that little half teaspoonful of vanilla paste. So what we really need is simply to fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. We are not making cakes here in which the granulated sugar and butter are creamed together on high speed to create little air bubbles. No special tool is required and a spatula is all we need. This is my tried-and-true method and the outcome is no different than the traditional method in which the icing sugar is first mixed with the butter, then followed by the flour mixture. In fact by just folding you have eliminated the chance of overwhipping.
混合方法
首先說説混合方法,大家或許會發現EC的方法十分簡單,一盆已混進香料的超軟身牛油,一盆乾粉類,直接把兩者以切拌手法混合便完成了!這是無蛋食譜,除了那半小匙雲尼拿醬便無其他液體,麵糰製作過程絕不複雜。過程中不需像做蛋糕的糖油混合法般靠砂糖與牛油高速磨擦打進氣泡,因此不用使用特別工具,用一支膠刮混合材料即可。EC巳試驗了幾次,效果與傳統製法(就是首先將牛油和糖打滑後才將粉類拌入)無異,只用切拌手法混合甚至防止了過度打發材料。

Maintaining Cookie Shapes
For cookies with more definition, do not whip air into your butter or incorporate any leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda into your dough. If the mixing is too fast or too long, air will be whipped into the butter (it will look pale and fluffy). Tiny air bubbles trapped inside the aerated dough will expand in the hot oven and ruin your beautifully piped shapes. Expansion will also happen if leavening agent is added. If you follow my way and start off with super soft butter, which is less likely to trap air, the chance of over whipping will be minimized. After all, whipping is unnecessary for cookies. This cookie dough can be easily prepared with just a spatula. Also because the butter is so soft, there is no need to add extra liquid to the batter to make it soft and pipable. Hence, the butter flavor is kept to a maximum without being diluted and at the same time the moisture from the dough is kept to a minimum (a low moisture cookie dough results in a crumbly texture). You could even pop the cookies right into the oven after piping without sacrificing much shapes despite its lower gluten level.
保持曲奇花紋
若要曲奇入爐後保持形狀花紋不瀉開,攪拌牛油時切忌把大量空氣混入或使用泡打粉和梳打粉等膨脹劑。 攪拌速度太快或過久均會令牛油飽含空氣(就是打發到蓬鬆發白的樣子)。受困於麵糰中的氣泡入爐後會膨脹影響花紋,配方不添加任何膨脹劑也是源於同一道理。EC的方法是使用非常柔軟的室溫牛油,此溫度能降低牛油包含氣泡的能力,避免攪拌時空氣大量進入。 畢竟製作曲奇麵糰是不用使勁攪打的,EC沒有使用攪拌機,靠的只是一支膠刮。亦因為牛油夠軟身,配方並不需額外加入液體令其軟化或易於擠出,牛油香味既不會被淡化,麵糰水份含量也保持最低(水份含量低的曲奇麵糊更能做出鬆化口感)。擠好花後不用冷藏便可直接把烤盆送進焗爐,花紋也不會因麵粉筋度低而盡失。

Oven Setting
If your oven has a convection setting, do use it when baking cookies. During convection baking, a fan will be turned on which circulates hot air around the oven and your food in a steady stream. This will allow you to bake your cookies evenly without the need of rotating pans. Compared to traditional setting, I usually lower my oven temperature slightly by 25℉/15℃ so my cookies won’t brown too soon or have a contrast between the edges and the center. Shallow or even rimless baking sheets are preferred as the the circulation of hot air in the oven would not be blocked. If you only have a baking sheet or pan with tall, rolled edges, consider baking with the sheet upside down. This was how I baked my cookies before I invested in my first rimless cookie sheet. Like I have always written in my recipes (this is like a disclaimer lol), we all have different ovens so what works for my oven might not work on yours. Make friends with your own oven and adjust the oven temperatures and baking time accordingly.
焗爐設定
焗爐若有熱風對流功能,焗製曲奇時請選擇此設定。熱風對流的原理是借助風扇將熱空氣吹出,在焗爐內循環並環繞食物,曲奇在爐中均勻受熱,不用為了上色均一而在烘焙中途轉換焗盆位置。 相比一般焗爐模式(即只用上下發熱線),EC一般會稍微調低爐溫約25℉/15℃防止曲奇過早上色或曲奇邊緣和中央出現兩截色。 此外,使用熱風對流焗曲奇時最好使用淺身甚至無邊焗盆。高身焗盆會阻擋熱風影響食物整體受熱,倘若沒有適合焗盆可考慮把高身焗盆整個反轉使用,這是EC未添置無邊焗盆時的良策。EC每次寫食譜時均會提醒大家(這是免責聲明哦!),因為各家焗爐不同,因此烘焙時請按需要自行調整焗爐溫度及烘焙時間,好好跟家中焗爐溝通做朋友吧!

Choice of Pan
Note that the color of your pan matters too. Darker pans heat up faster and absorb more heat so your cookies will more likely to develop a darker bottom. I like to use thick, light colored cookie sheet. Thick baking sheets cost more but it’s worth the money as they are less likely to warp or buckle at high temperatures. Have you ever heard a loud popping sound in your oven during baking? That is because the baking pan is stressed at the folded edge under heat. The bottom of the baking pan expands when heated but such expansion is restricted by the folded up edges along the sides. When the edges can no longer hold the stress, the bottom warps and makes a loud popping sound. The pan will go back to its normal shape after cooling. However, when the stress is so much that the materials is not strong enough to handle it, which happens often in thin baking pans, the pan will be permanently bent. Read about this article from LloydPans to find out more.
焗盆選擇
注意焗盆顏色對烘焙成品色澤也有影響。深色焗盆傳熱和吸熱較快,因此成品底部通常較深色。EC喜歡使用厚身的淺色焗盆,厚身焗盆價錢雖貴卻不易變形,絕對物有所值。試過在烘焙中途突然聽到嘭一聲嗎?焗盆受熱後會膨脹,此時四周卻被限制於焗盆邊緣的圍邊,當圍邊承受不了膨脹壓力時焗盆底部便會變形和發出聲響, 一般冷卻後焗盆便會回覆形狀。但當壓力過於焗盆物料所受時(焗盆太薄身更易出現此況),焗盆甚至會永久屈曲翹起!詳細解釋可閱讀LloydPans內的文章

Piping Size
It’s totally up to you how you want to pipe your cookies. In general, larger and thicker cookies take more time to bake. For evenly piped cookies, I do cheat by placing a template underneath my parchment paper. Line cookie sheet with a circle template (I use my macaron mat), cover with a piece of parchment paper (I place strong magnets on top to hold it down), then pipe your soft dough while using the circles as a guideline. After piping simply take off the magnets, slide the mat out and pop the cookie sheet into the preheated oven right away. I don’t bake cookies directly on my macaron mat. In fact, with the exception of macarons, I no longer bake with silicone mat or cake mold now as they tend to absorb oil and pick up food smell pretty easily. I have a few of them but after a period of usage my mats started to feel greasy and smell funky and I could not remove the stain nor odor. I ended up ditching them and switched back to parchment paper. The new mats I bought were for macaron making only.
擠花大小
做形時絕對可以按喜好自行決定擠花形狀與大小 。一般來說,麵糰形狀越大或越厚,烘焙時間便要相對地延長。至於如何擠出大小均一的麵糰,實不相瞞,EC會借助貓紙! 首先把畫有圓形的紙樣放在焗盆上(EC使用馬卡龍墊),再蓋上牛油紙(可以用磁石固定位置),然後便可依圓形作界線開始擠花了!完成擠花後取走磁石和底部的紙樣便可進行烘焙。EC沒有直接使用馬卡龍墊作底墊焗製曲奇,基本上除了馬卡龍外,EC現已沒再使用任何矽膠墊或矽膠模具於烘焙上。 矽膠物料容易吸油和吸味,EC曾擁有幾張矽膠墊,但是用了一段時間後墊子巳發黃變得油膩,表面的油漬及氣味怎樣也不能去除。後來索性放棄使用重投牛油紙的懷抱,之後重新購買的馬卡龍墊只供馬卡龍使用。

I think that’s pretty much it for my sharing. Did you really read til the end? Feel free to share your tips with me too!
EC想到的暫時就只有這麼多,大家真的沒有嫌EC長氣閱讀到尾嗎?若有其他心得歡迎留言分享!


Piped Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies
雲尼拿唧花牛油曲奇

Makes 30 to 33
30至33塊份量

Ingredients

120 g unsalted European-style cultured butter, very soft
1/4 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
100 g cake and pastry flour
50 g cornstarch
40 g icing sugar

材料

無鹽歐式發酵牛油 (室溫回軟) 120克
海鹽或粉紅岩鹽 1/4茶匙
雲尼拿醬或純雲尼拿香油 1/2茶匙
低筋麵粉 100克
粟粉 50克
糖粉 40克

Directions 做法

Preheat oven to 325℉/160℃ fan forced. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
焗爐預熱至325℉/160℃(熱風對流),焗盆放牛油紙備用。

To further soften the room temperature butter, cut it into small pieces then place in a large mixing bowl. Submerge bowl in lukewarm water and mix until the butter is very very soft (it will look shiny with a mayonnaise-like texture). Add salt and vanilla then mix until smooth.
室溫牛油切成小塊後放進鋼盆中,置鋼盆於微暖水中進一步軟化牛油,攪拌至牛油軟化成蛋黃醬般帶少許光澤便可停止, 加入鹽和雲尼拿醬拌勻。

Combine and sift together the flour, cornstarch and icing sugar. Fold into the butter mixture in two to three batches with a spatula. Stop mixing once a soft dough is formed. Do not over-mix.
麵粉,粟粉和糖粉混合過篩,分兩至三次用膠刮以切拌手法拌入牛油中,拌至無粉粒成柔軟麵糰即可,不要過度攪拌。

Transfer batter into a piping bag fitted with a large pastry tip (I used a 1F large sized sakura tip). Eliminate any trapped air bubbles then pipe batter onto the baking sheet.
把麵糊放進已備大形花嘴的擠花袋中(EC用1F大號櫻花花嘴),壓出袋中氣泡,在焗盆上唧出曲奇麵糊。

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on a cooling rack. For a more melt-in-the-mouth texture, store cookies in an airtight container and consume the next day.
把焗盆放入焗爐18至22分鐘或至曲奇邊緣呈金黃色後可取出,在鋼架上完全放涼,把曲奇放涼後儲存於密封食物盒內隔天才食用,曲奇口感會更覺入口溶化。

Here is how I prepare my baking sheet by placing a macaron mat under my parchment paper as a template.
EC把馬卡龍墊放在焗盆與牛油紙中間作紙樣。

This was a not-so-good batch. Oven temperature was a bit too high which caused the cookies to spread and crack.
這是失敗之作,爐溫調得太高了,因此曲奇入爐後花紋便瀉開並出現裂紋。

Cultured butter has lactic cultures added as an ingredients. European-style butter has a minimum of 82% butterfat content.
發酵牛油加了乳酸菌作材料, 歐式牛油乳脂含量至少82%。

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