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Thursday, May 6, 2010
There is a myriad of emotions and memories associated with the trusted Jacob's / Khong Guan cream crackers and here are a few of them...
1.Milo dipping, Coffee dipping - do we all remember how we would dip the square crackers into our hot beverage and munch away at the soggy biscuit.
2.The image of the signature retangular tin is indelible. They also used to be our trusted secret safe boxes where we would stash away rolled up cash, precious gold trinkets and not forgetting dusty old love letters.
3. Donations to Orphanage and Old Folks Home - Practical food for the under previledged.
4. Poor man's food - the last moldy piece of cream cracker in the tin is often featured as the ultimate symbol of destitution in movies and dramas.
5. To the kids, this was the most boring biscuit we've ever grown up with - how we would always long for the lemon cream sandwich biscuits, the wafer bars and for the more affluent families,Danish butter cookies....
Fads come and go. For a while, everyone was crazy over cupcakes, macarons and what not but at the end of the day,it is the simple and good that prevails. I bet for most of us, the trusted pack of Kong Guan cream cracker is a standard item in our larder ... next to the instant noodles. There is something wonderfully comforting and reassuring about the cream cracker. When the hunger pang strikes in the afternoon or in the middle of the night, this would be the healthy and trusted option we reach out for. That explains why, most office pantries would stock these boring but cheap snacks. The last time I went for my annual health check- up at a posh downtown health screening center, these humble snacks were served at the coffee table together with cereal and sandwiches after the blood test.
Obviously more varieties are now available in the market. My favourite would be the Khong Guan wheat cream crackers and the butter cream crackers. Retaining the original crispy outside and slightly softer center texture, cream crackers today are more fragrant and flavourful. They come in smaller 3 slices handy packs now which makes it easier to carry around for a quick pick-me-up and are 'enriched' with calcium, vitamins and what not... And honestly, when I start, I can't stop at one slice - such a far cry from the old days where I would honestly say that this was my least favourite biscuit!
I did a quick search on Tastespotting and Foodgawker for a cream cracker recipe and couldn't find one. I guess this is one those humble accessible snack which no one has bothered to make. I eventually found Mercy's cream cracker recipe on Recipezzar and decided to give it a try.
I was a little concerned by the simplicity of the recipe and worried that it would be tasteless. Suprisingly, it was pretty tasty and my neighbour's kid liked it. However, I do have to say that the texture is far from the Kong Guan/ Jacob's texture. I remember reading somewhere that this cracker which originated from Dublin, is made with wheat flour and yeast. I suppose the yeast is responsible for the definitive light puff-like outer layer and the softer center.
I shall keep searching and hopefully I will be able to get closer to the Khong Guan or now Julie's crackers :).
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup heavy cream
1.Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2.Use an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl, stirring with a fork.
4.Slowly add the cream while continuing to stir; mix well until the dough holds together in a ball (if the dough is still too crumbly, add another tablespoon of cream).
5.Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and.
6.Roll it out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.
7.Using a cookie cutter or a large drinking glass, cut the crackers into 3 inch rounds.
8.Place the crackers on the cookie sheet, and prick the center of each cracker twice with the tines of a fork.
9.Bake on one side for 8 minutes, turn the crackers over with a metal spatula, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes more, or until the crackers have several golden spots and are slightly colored on the edges.
10.Remove and place on a rack to cool.