Arrowroot (Recipe: arrowroot cookies)
What's the best thing about blogging?
After a lifetime as a professional writer and editor, I can answer without hesitation. Reaching and interacting with a new audience of smart, funny, interesting readers all around the world. Learning from those smart, funny, interesting readers.
And being able to correct mistakes pointed out to me by those smart, funny, interesting readers.
I remember how I felt when, at age 16, I saw my first byline in a real not-my-high-school newspaper. Joy! Rapture!
And then, I saw it. A typographical error. A typo.
Darn. I had proofed the original -- an obituary, only two or three paragraphs long -- a dozen times. No typo, yet there it was in print, irrevocable, for ever and ever, under my very first byline. I was crushed.
Since then, of course there have been many errors, and, like the first ding I put in the bumper of my dad's car, I've learned to own up to the mistakes I make and to live with those that appear in print, uninvited and unloved, under my name.
In The Perfect Pantry (oh, joy of blogging!) I can and do fix mistakes. I can, and do, add and improve, too.
In a previous post about arrowroot (also called arrowroot starch or flour), I wrote about the origins and benefits of using arrowroot instead of cornstarch. I forgot to mention that arrowroot gives a better sheen to sauces, and that sauces thickened with arrowroot will freeze better than those thickened with other starches. And I learned from a reader that because arrowroot is not a leavening agent, it can be used in cooking and baking for Passover.
Arrowroot biscuit packaging now features happy, smiling babies on the box.
I also wrote that in my earlier post, and ever since, I've wanted to eat my words. Not because it isn't true. It is true, but I wish it weren't.
In the comments, a reader posted the ingredient list from Nabisco's arrowroot biscuits, the brand with the smiling baby on the box: enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate [Vitamin B1], riboflavin [Vitamin B2], folic acid), sugar (beet and cane), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, arrowroot flour, cornstarch, soy lecithin (emulsifier), salt, leavening (baking soda).
High fructose corn syrup. Higher on the ingredient list than arrowroot.
Today I'm passing along to you two healthy and delicious arrowroot cookie recipes shared by readers of The Perfect Pantry. These cookies aren't just for kids; they're perfect with afternoon tea, and, because arrowroot is easily digestible, a cookie or two will help to settle your stomach after a long day of writing and revising.
Traditionally made for Chinese New Year, these cookies come directly from the source -- Melting Wok's mom.
2-1/2 cups arrowroot flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 large-sized egg yolk
120ml (4 oz) coconut cream or thick coconut milk
Place the arrowroot flour on a paper towel, put it in microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Set aside and let it cool. (The traditional way is to fry the flour in the wok or roast it in the oven.) Tip: Also microwave extra arrowroot flour for later, just in case you need to add more if the dough is too wet to knead.
Sieve the arrowroot flour and sugar into a big bowl. Add the melted butter, egg yolk and coconut milk. Knead until the dough is pliable. Tip: If the dough is too wet or too soft, add more flour, little at a time and knead until the dough gets more firm. If the dough is too dry, add more coconut milk.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of your liking, preferably about 1/4-inch, and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
Arrange on a lined baking tray. I would use the silicone sheet (Silpat or similar). Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.
Other useful tips: Make sure the dough is not too wet, otherwise it won't hold the shape. How does one know? Sometimes when you roll the dough out and cut it with a cookie cutter and place it on the baking tray, the shape disappears before your eyes. If this happens, add a little more arrowroot flour and knead it again. If the shape holds, you are good to go.
End Result: Crispy on the outside, and melts in your mouth when you bite into the center.