I’ve read this month an amazing book, called Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, and today I’ve shared the review for it on my book blog, if you want to read it. Because I loved the book so much, I thought I should make some Chinese biscuits, so I’ve made these Chinese Dragons. These are usually made for the Chinese New Year, but I think they look amazing and would be enjoyed any time of the year.
The biscuits are delicious, but quite difficult to make, so I’ve shared some tips that will help you if you want to try them. The Chinese Dragons are hand-piped and that is the difficult part, because the dough is hard to pipe, similar in texture with a standard biscuit dough. You will need a strong piping bag and a big nozzle. Almost all of the ingredients can be found in any supermarket, besides the milk powder. I got that from the International shop. You can change it with cornflour, but I think is worth the effort to get it because it gives it a good milky flavour.
Ingredients for Chinese Dragons Biscuits:
– 150g vegetable margarine (I used Vitalite Dairy Free Spread because the palm oil they use is sustainable)
– 150g icing sugar
– 1 whole and 1 yolk, free range eggs
– 60g plain white flour
– 30g milk powder
– 325g cornflour (a bit more if is necessary)
– a bit of chocolate to melt
In a bowl, mix the margarine with the icing sugar and the eggs with a wooden spoon. Mix until the batter is creamy smooth, but do not mix more than is needed. Add the milk powder and the flour and mix until these are incorporated as well.
Add around 250g of the cornflour and incorporate in the batter. Continue to add cornflour until the dough has the right consistency, looks like in the piciture. If you make a shape in your hands, it should hold its shape and it shouldn’t be too sticky. I’ve used all 325g of the cornflour.
If the dough is softer it will be easier to pipe, but it might not hold its shape when baked.
I haven’t taken a picture with the biscuits before baking them, but they look pretty much like in this picture. Preheat the oven at 160C or 140C if you have a fan assisted oven. Meanwhile, pipe the dragons as you like them, on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
To create the Chinese dragons, I’ve put the dough in a strong piping bag. In the recipes I’ve seen online, the bloggers recommend making an S, but that will make the dough looking more like a snake instead of a dragon. I didn’t try to make all of them the same and I’ve had an S-like shape in mind, but did an additional turn, so it looks more like one of the Dragons you see in a Chinese celebration. At the end, where the “head” of the dragon is, I’ve piped a bit more, making a big head for my Chinese dragons. You need to press strongly because the dough is though.
Bake the biscuits for 12 minutes. They should keep their light colour. Take the tray out of the oven and leave them to cool in the tray for around 10 minutes. After that, transfer them on wire rack to cool down completely. When the biscuits are cold, you can make the eyes of the dragon.
Melt a bit of chocolate and, using a skewer or a toothpick, make two small spots on the “face” of the dragons. It will change the way they look. Alternatively, you can make a bit of icing by mixing icing sugar with a drop of water and some food colouring to make the eyes. Now your gorgeous Chinese dragons are ready to be served.