Sunday, October 2, 2011

ICED GEMS



I used to spy these gems at Chinese grocery shops. They were sold amoung many other kinds of biscuits which were stored and displayed in gigantic glass jars with push-down galvanized caps, usually placed strategically at the open end of the shop and were sold by the catty. 



Apart form Iced Gems we also had our local 'Oreos', our local Chocolate Bourbons, our local custard creams and our local Jammie Dodgers.....all being delicious legacies left behind by our then colonial masters. 

KGB (not the Russian kind) manufactures these biscuits locally today, packs them in large square tins and places them on supermarket shelves. The only thing that's missing in them are Iced Gems and loads of flavour. 

So this post was inspired by what I saw at Molliemakes. I now vehemently and officially declare Molliemakes as my number one craft magazine. Trust me ~






However, it wasn't as simple as getting the weighing scale out and dusting off the flour.  I found a (only) recipe for it from a blog called Pimp That Snack. I must say they came very close in flavour to the real thing. The real thing meaning average. Let's face it...we bought these because they were pretty, adorable and colourful. And who could resist biting off that hard sugar dome which dissolved in your mouth after a few bites and crunches. I couldn't. 




The most challenging part about making these Iced Gems was finding a small enough cookie cutter to cut out the rolled out dough into tiny half inch rounds.

After much hand wiggling and mind bending I settled for the round end of a large piping nozzle. I then had a hard time easing each dough circle out of the nozzle after every stamp. I used my clean fingernail. But ...yes I suppose they were worth the effort for Nostalgia's sake. Once the rounds were cut out i then used a fork to make the characteristic lines around the edges and pressed the circles down with my finger to flatten it a little before baking them. Jeeeez.

Iced Gems ~ the recipe ~

8 oz flour
1 T baking powder1/4 tsp salt
3 oz butter
1/4 pint milk

Pre-heat oven to 375 F, 180 C.


Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Rub in butter until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Pour in 2/3 of the milk first and bring the mixture together to forma  dough. If the mixture seems too dry to form a soft but firm dough add more milk. Roll out the dough on a floured board to about 1/2 centimeter thick. Cut into rounds about 1 cm in diameter. Mark the edges with a fork to make indentations all around the circles of dough and press down with your finger to flatten it a little because the cookie will rise upon baking. Place on a cookie sheet and brush with milk before baking for 25-30 minutes. take out from oven and cool before icing them.


Royal icing ~


450 gm icing sugar, sifted
2 egg whites
1 T lemon juice

food colours of pink, light green, violet and yellow


Whisk egg whites until frothy using a whisk. Stir in sifted icing sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix again. If the mixture seems too soft add extra icing sugar. the final mixture should be smooth but firm enough to hold a soft peak that doesn't flop over itself too much.

Divide the icing mixture into 4 seperate bowls and colour them accordingly. 


Place each bowl of icing into a large piping bag fitted with a medium sized star nozzle. I used a Wilton 22 start nozzle. you can also use a plain round nozzle. Pipe dollops onto each of the baked and cooled biscuits.


Let the icing harden and then store in air tight containers.




21 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

They are all so cute Zurin..from the edible ones to the prop ones..the prop ones are so darling.. Thanks for the link..bet the gems are delicious:)

Passionate About Baking said...

So cute! This was my childhood comfort food! Really reminds me of my childhood.

Janine said...

Now this is really scary because I was JUST searching the internet for a recipe for these fancy gems and couldn't find any. Then a few hours later, your post comes up! Couldn't have come at a better time either! Trying this out soooon!!!

Puan Ros @ Sinaranmenu.blogspot said...

This is amazing.Ingat masak kecik-kecik dulu.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Wow, I have been looking for this recipe, and the other day I saw in the Y3k magazine, thinking to try out but quite hesitate to make the icing sugar as non cook egg white. Anyway, love your presentation and photos.

アンゼエリン said...

So cute, last time when we were kids that time, we usually have this biscuits...

Umm Mymoonah said...

Little cuties, gorgeous.

The Procrastobaker said...

Totally worth the effort! These are my mums favourite little snacks and she would love me eternally if i was to attempt them...gorgeous recipe!

Ali said...

The gems look adorable and cute, the post really bring back memories cause the last time I had these gems was when we were young, me and my brother used to buy them each and every time we had money :) Love the photos.

Tina said...

I have never seen anything like these-they do make for a great presentation and I am sure are delicious. These would be nice for a bridal or baby shower. You did a great job and the pictures are awesome.Thanks for sharing

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Ha, I love the honesty! You're right, they were pretty average. But awww, I'd still eat them for nostalgia's sake.

Pick Yin said...

I used to eat the biscuits and throw again the icing, my mother would refuse to buy me anymore. Even then I couldn't stomach the extremely sweet royal icing. Same story with Oreos, the filling gets dumped. :D

Ribbon Clown said...

My late grandfather used to buy this for us, his cucus.. ;) those were the days.. Thanks you for sharing this recipe.. can't wait to pass down this treats to the next gens..

Jo said...

Zurin, this is absolutely cute. I love this cookie when I was a kit and will eat the icing first. Haha and would pick my fav colours as well.

terri@adailyobsession said...

oh wow u made these! i bought some recently just to show my kids the stuff i ate when i was a kid n the 'gem's weren't well-received:D but i bet yours are yummy, made with good stuff. we called them "belly buttons" in chinese.

Christine said...

Zurin, these bring back so many memories for me from my childhood. Going down to the local grocery store with my grandma to buy some iced gems... Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

Malli said...

Such dainty little iced gems!! Awesome

hanushi said...

This is interesting. One of my childhood goodies. :)

Linda said...

Just lovely....I could pop one right in my mouth this second ...I love the inedible ones too Zurin...too cute!

breadetbutter said...

Oh man, total nostalgia! Total respect for how much effort you put into these, they look gorgeous so it was worth it hopefully! :)

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Jeeez indeed. They look adorable and using your cupcake container is a clever way of giving the gem perspective as to how small it really is. You must of been truly patient - I find as I age I am getting less patient with such effort Zurin. Well done you on your gorgeous, colourful array of little gems. And if I were the owner of a craft magazine, I would be calling you up immediately - sweetest photos ever! Mariana xxx

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