I returned from two weeks in Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and Myanmar with an obsession for thin crispy wafer cookies. I know that sounds odd – even to me. It would make more sense if I returned with an obsession for Shan Noodles or Green Papaya salad – two things that I really loved eating in Mayanmar but it was the thin, crispy, wafer cookies (often green – matcha?) that really got me and I have been working on perfecting them since my return. I travelled to Phnom Penh and then to Yangon with Marianne Kooimans of Koko fame (kokovenice.com). Marianne has fabric cutters and sewers and shoe makers and weavers in Phnom Penh where she has a loft/studio; she buys fabrics, jewelry and antiquities in Yangon; and zippers in Bangkok (where we spent 2 days). Also, I understand that some of Marianne’s embroidery is done in Vietnam and some in Italy where she buys some fabrics as well. Her work is beautiful – each piece a work of art. So – I traveled as far as Yangon with her and then carried on solo to Bagan and Inle Lake – the most amazing places making the trip absolutely memorable.
Since arriving home I have been making crispy cookies. I found a nice recipe for ‘Butter Wafers’ and I am continuing experimenting with Matcha cookies – crispy and thin. My chemistry research into what makes a cookie crispy vs. chewy has been interesting. “They” say that if you use less ingredients that absorb moisture you will get a crispier cookie. The ingredients that absorb moisture and flour, egg, brown sugar and butter (which provides milk solids and water things that make a cookie soft). That said, if you use granulated sugar and vegetable shortening (perhaps margarine which I will try) and a lower, longer baking time, then the cookies will be crispy. I will try all of that and report back on the matcha wafers.
Here is the winner for the Butter Wafers
Butter Wafers (from Chocolate Chocolate and More) Preheat oven to 350° Chill baking sheets and parchment paper
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup of flour
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill. This is important so that the cookies bake evenly. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and blend until well combined. Drop by small teaspoons onto a chilled baking sheet, 3 inches apart. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes, just until the edges are golden. If you want crispy, bake at 325 for a bit longer. Remove from the oven. Let cool on a baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.