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CNY cookies with a twist
Out Of The Cake Box
Block 45 Telok Blangah Drive #01-173
Open Tues to Fri, noon - 8.30pm
Sat, noon - 9pm,
Sun & public holidays, 10am - 5pm
THE folks behind Out Of The Cake Box bakery must take their shop name very seriously - at least that's the message they seem to be sending with their range of Chinese New Year offerings this year. Their most daring flavour is easily the chix (chicken) skin pineapple tarts (S$22.80 for 16 pieces), which taste a lot less questionable than the name suggests, although it might work even better without the pineapple.
They're clearly not afraid to be heavy-handed with the spices either, which is why their green curry tempeh cookies (S$18.80 for 220g) deliver a potent kick of spices and basil, while the cereal prawn cookies (S$18.80 for 220g) give a pretty decent impression of the popular zi char dish.
Carpenter and Cook
19 Lorong Kilat, #01-06
Open Tues to Sat, 10am - 10pm
Sun, 10am - 7pm
CARPENTER and Cook offers a harmonious mix of old and new with their treats - as befits a vintage furniture shop and bakery. The hae bee hiam cookies (S$19.80) set the standard in executing local-styled savoury sweets, with a buttery shortbread crumb that keeps the shrimpy flavour in check. Even the hae bee is made from scratch, because off-the-shelf products just don't go with their dough.
If hae bee or ikan bilis cookies (S$19.80) sound a little fishy to you, go for safer choices such as cranberry cornflakes (S$18.80) or chocolate sea salt sables (S$15), the latter of which is a bestseller (and rightly so) on their regular menu. It's quite a steal, considering they all come in proper glass jars.
458 Joo Chiat Road
Open Tues to Thurs, Sun, 12pm - 10pm
Fri to Sat, 12pm - 12am
SALTED egg yolk cookies are a cliche by now, and many don't live up to the hype, with just a faint whiff of briny goodness. But Sinpopo keeps it fresh by adding curry leaves, and their version (S$15) delivers a punch with dense flavours packed in thin, crumbly discs.
You can get a hamper at S$88, which includes two bottles of this treat, and also items off their regular menu such as the signature gula melaka cake and sugee biscuits. The latter two items are quite well done, but they are overshadowed by Sinpopo's rich and moist browned butter sugee cake, a deceptively simple treat (S$7/slice; S$30/whole, order in advance).
Items made to order
SANDRA Liao wrinkles her nose at the mention of cereal prawn cookies, which are everywhere this season. The baker and founder of MilkBar isn't into fads, but loves "cheeky" takes on classics. Her spiced cashew cookies (S$35) is a play on traditional peanut cookies, and it's got just enough cardamom to make it pop, though we can do without the dusting of icing sugar.
It's the seaweed meringue (S$30 a jar) which is a must-try - think of it as a riff on matcha meringue. The unsalted seaweed cuts through the sugary light vanilla base, so it's not too cloying.
The outfit does custom bakes too, and products are made-to-order only, so Ms Liao can consult on edgier flavour pairings for your goodies. Don't expect 3-D or rainbow cakes from her though - MilkBar is a passion project, and she's currently keeping her day job just so she doesn't have to cave in to nonsensical trends.
198 Telok Ayer Street
Open Mon to Fri, 8.30am - 7.30pm
Sat, 10.30am - 5.30pm
INSTEAD of making pineapple tarts in the traditional cookie form that most of us are familiar with, chef Tomoharu Morita of the Telok Ayer bakery Pantler has done their version in a fruit tart-style. These new pineapple coconut tarts (S$8-68) are made with pate sucree - a dense crumbly pastry - and almond cream, topped with whole pineapple slices. Some may prefer the pineapple coconut cakes (S$20-25), which are fragrant and heavy pound cakes baked with a sweet jam filling.
Blk 30 Bendemeer Road #01-889
Open Tues to Fri, 11am - 7pm
Sat, 10am - 7pm, Sun, 10am - 6pm
NEED your bak kwa fix, but can't deal with the long queues snaking around the block outside Lim Chee Guan? Then you might want to try the bak kwa sesame cookies (S$25 for 250g) from Bloomsbury Bakers, which contain generous chunks of the actual meat that comes from sourcing for "good bak kwa", according to co-founder Ann Chong. Alternatively, they also have pork floss seaweed cookies (S$25 for 250g) which are a little light on the pork floss but are buttery with a satisfying crunch.
122 Owen Road, #01-01, Suites@Owen
By appointment only
FLOURISH'S cookies tend to have very strong accents - the salted egg yolk blossoms have a very sharp and salty finish, whereas the lucky green pea cookies sport a golden roasted flavour that lingers in your mouth. Even the pineapple spheres hide an unexpected surprise, with sparingly added crystals of sea salt that keep each bite exciting - a tasteful embellishment. All bottles are priced at S$22.
119 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Salute coffeeshop
Open Tue to Sun, 12pm - 9.30pm
IT'S a daring move making black sesame red bean tarts for the Chinese New Year - inthebrickyard's chic, slate-grey, and pebbly pastries veers dangerously close to an inauspicious black. But superstitions aside, it's a delicate tau sar piah that tastes almost savoury from the fragrant nuttiness - a good balance.
Their milk pineapple tarts also have that same tender texture in its shell, which goes well with the soft jammy centre. The milk-powdery taste is subtle and adds a little something, though it might not be for everybody. Both cost S$18 for a bottle of 21 pieces, or S$22 for 28.
Blk 3A Clarke Quay, #02-02
Open Mon to Fri, 11am - 2.30pm, 6pm - 11pm
Sat to Sun, 10am - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm
IF you're addicted to crispy salmon fish skin, then you might want to stay away from Peony Jade Restaurant's newest addition to their Chinese New Year goodies selection - salted egg yolk-flavoured crispy salmon fish skin (S$22.88). Though the salted egg flavour could use a tad more kick, these crunchy bad boys will have you finishing up an entire bottle before the first guests ring the doorbell.
Also good are their cereal prawn cookies (S$32.88) where they've added a bold twist - lemongrass flavour - while the lychee cookies (S$32.88) would suit those looking for something sweet. And for the kids, there is the limited edition "Triumphant Harvest & Longevity" set (S$118.88) which features handmade chocolate monkeys in honour of it being the Year of the Monkey.
Pies & Coffee
Outlets at Robertson Walk, Rochester Mall, The Grandstand, and Alexandra Retail Centre
IF you're sick of cookies by now, try Pies & Coffee's latest creation - the Wheel of Fortune pineapple and coconut flourless cake (S$38 for about 800g). It's made with fresh pineapple which adds moisture to the gluten-free product, and desiccated coconut and almond flakes for texture. An addition of orange peel adds some East-meets-West festive cheer.
The green pea cashew is new too (S$22 for 460g), and the roasted peas aren't overly pureed so it doesn't taste too powdery. The cookies are all made from short crust pastry - similar to their pies - and there are other choices like their crunchy parmesan cheese (S$22 for 360g), and of course the top-selling salted egg yolk (S$22 for 420g).