Baklava Cookies with Bebek

(

If you're curious about the title, 

Bebek

means "duck" in Bahasa Indonesia, and it's the pet name Erik and I use most often for each other). 

For as long as I have been in Indonesia, I have yet to taste cookies that are soft and chewy. Even the Chips Ahoy cookies they sometimes stock at Indomaret are usually the original recipe, which are

not chewy or soft at all

. I have been in this country for over a year, and there are still no chewy cookies in sight. So I finally exploded the other day and insisted that I

WANT TO MAKE COOKIES WANT TO MAKE COOKIES WANT TO MAKE COOKIES TODAY TODAY TODAY.

So we made cookies!

Okay, here is your cue to ooh and aah over these wonderful-looking cookies.

Adventure 1: Getting Lost on Jl. Kaliurang

"Okay..", said Erik. (Later he mentioned something about how he had been traumatized many years ago by a horrible cookie experience, which explained the apprehension). We left the house at around one in the afternoon to buy the ingredients for the cookies, trying to find one store in particular (unfortunately for Indonesians, there is no such thing as ShopRite or Tom Thumb) that actually sold everything we needed. We took the wrong exit onto Jalan Kaliurang and ended up in the wrong area, so we went back and forth at least three times trying to find it. Finally, we called Wa Ie, who directed us back to the right exit. (Turns out the store was really close to home). 

Adventure 2: Searching for Vanilla Extract and Walnuts

Walnuts in Indonesia are referred to as kacang kenari and they're more of a specialty good here. The first store we went to didn't sell walnuts, and the second was out of stock. We had the same luck with vanilla extract -- both stores were out of stock. The nice lady at the second store directed us to a store named Intisari, so we went all the way over there and finally (finally) found measuring cups, walnuts, and vanilla extract.

Adventure 3: Freaking Out About the Oven

Wa Ie used to be a baker, and she still had a mini-oven in the shed in her backyard:

This type of oven cost 265,000 Rp., or USD $20. Coming from an American background, where ovens are ubiquitous (except in dorm rooms), the stunning lack of ovens here in Indonesia has been baffling and, at times, frustrating.

I don't know about you, but I've never seen an oven like this. We were told to put it on top of the stove and then light the gas and let it preheat first, but when we turned on the gas we started freaking out because it looked so scary. After a few minutes it looked like steam was coming out of the oven and we were yelling and laughing and shouting, "Is that supposed to happen!?!? Is that?!?!? Are we doing this right?!!"

Wa Ie, fortunately, came home not long after, and she taught us how to use it properly and to stop freaking out.

Without further ado, here's the recipe!

A few notes on this recipe! Don't use gula halus or gula pasir. Just use regular sugar. We used gula pasir and our cookies turned out a bit crumbly. When mixing the sugar and butter you should be aiming for a creamy consistency in which you can't feel individual sugar crystals, so don't use gula pasir or gula halus. Also, this recipe tends to be a little sweet for Indonesian taste, so feel free to cut down on the sugar. And lastly: you don't have to use walnuts. If all you can find are almonds, they make a decent substitute.

Now, for more pictures:

Batch 1: This is what happens if you press down on/flatten the cookies before you put them in the oven! This is not cute at all! Do not make our mistake! Also, trust in ten minutes. Ten minutes is definitely enough to fully bake these cookies. This batch was in the oven for about 13 minutes, and weren't as soft as I was hoping for.

This is what the glaze looks like if you add about a cup of walnuts. And some almonds. This turned out really thick, so my advice is to just stick to 1/2 a cup. The consistency should be syrupy; don't worry if once you take the glaze off the heat it doesn't seem very thick. After 10-15 minutes of cooling you'll get that consistency.

Batch 2: No squishing this time! This is how the cookies should  look like when they're right out of the oven. We had to improvise a bit because we were using a not-normal oven and we ended up switching the racks around several times to make sure all the cookies were getting properly baked. 

I kind of cheated and didn't use a spoon to put the glaze in. That was because the glaze was too thick :') Again, learn from our mistakes!

I mean, they're still kind of cute, I guess..

And that's it for our first time baking cookies! It really felt wonderful to be able to bake real (cough, no offense) cookies after so long. And Erik seemed to enjoy them a lot, so that's another cause for joy.

(If you're too lazy to bake these cookies by yourself, let me know and maybe we can make you a batch if we're feeling generous muahuaaha).

On another note, happy 4th of July for all who celebrate. I'll be holding my hand over my heart and singing the anthem from afar. Enjoy all the fireworks and grilling that'll inevitably be going on tonight! May God bless the United States today and for as long as we continue to stand.

All my love,

Theodora