They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles.
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.”
Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin
I remember growing up in an old style black and white bungalow in Singapore – allocated housing as my dad was then working in Alexandra Hospital. These old houses were literally as-is; minimal changes over the many years and absolutely infested with a whole spectrum of pests and creepy crawlies. I remember we used to wake up in the morning and our soap bars would have rat teeth marks in the morning. And at night we would hear high pitched squeaking and the scrabbling of little paws over the false ceiling. I also remember being traumatized as a series of pet terrapins were consumed by the rats. So it is with mixed feelings that I look at the fact that we are going into the Year of the Rat, according to the Chinese Zodiac. In the Chinese way of thinking, apparently being born in the year of the Rat is not a bad thing as the personality traits are thought to be cheerful, friendly and outdoing. It’s amazing how Chinese can put a positive spin on an animal that is seen as a pest in most cultures.
It’s a week away from Chinese New Year and in most places in Asia, the preparations have become frenetic. Navigating this season can be a tad challenging from us firstly because we often visit other people’s homes and it’s a little awkward to be saying no to the traditional sweets and snacks offered. So this is the season that I do need to do a bit more baking than usual to try to give my family food options so that they don’t feel like they are missing out too much in the festivities.
I’ve often made a fair amount of sweet cookies for Chinese New Year but this time I decided to make cheese cookies. This is obvious because…ahem…rats like cheese? Anyway the family adores cheese so definitely these cookies are expected to be well received. Although this recipe makes about 50 cookies, be ready for them to disappear within a day!
Low Carb CNY Cheese Cookies
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 120g cheddar cheese, finely grated (I grated cheese from a block)
- 120g butter (softened and cut into cubes)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 tbsp almond flakes
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 150 deg C.
- Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt and garlic powder into a mixing bowl.
- Put the dry ingredients into a food processor and place the butter, cheese and egg yolk on top. Pulse and mix well. This should come together to form a dough.
- Roll the dough into 2 cm balls then roll one end into a sharp point.
- Place 2 black sesame seeds on either side of the sharp end of the dough ball for the rat eyes and stick 2 almond flakes in for the eyes.
- Bake for 20 minutes (23-25 minutes for a more crisp version).
- Cool on a rack and store in an air tight box before serving.
It’s a rat infestation!