Light, crisp, buttery Pandan Gula Melaka Butter Cookies made with an Indonesian twist. These butter cookies are infused with pandan flavor and finished with gula melaka crumbs on top.
Eid is approaching and Eid is not Eid without some cookies. If you don’t know what Eid is, it is the feast holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. Sweets occupy an important place in this festive moment to make up all lost during the month’s fast.
Just like Christmas, cookies are a staple in Eid celebrations. Nothing beats the holiday season with cookies made from scratch and I know you will love this particular recipe.
These Pandan Gula Melaka Butter Cookies will be the perfect cookies to celebrate the moment since it is bright green and perfectly match the traditional color of the festive season. To give some Indonesian infusion, I used pandan to these cookies.
These butter cookies are made of plain cookie dough with subtle sweet and aromatic pandan extract. The cookies are crisp, light, tender, and buttery all throughout. They are barely sweet, so I finished them with a sprinkle of gula melaka or palm sugar, which is the perfect combination with the pandan flavor. They remind me of my previous Klepon, one of the well-loved traditional Indonesian desserts, but in cookie form.
Pandan leaves (Pandanus amaryllifolius) are long and slender green leaves of a member of the pandanus palm or screwpine family. The plant is grown in South and Southeast Asia. They are popular in Southeast Asian cooking as the leaves impart aromatic notes to foods. They are also used as a natural food coloring, especially for desserts because of their green color.
Similar to vanilla, the unique aroma of pandan leaves is used to flavor many desserts. However, it should also be noted that pandan tastes nothing like vanilla. Pandan’s flavor profile is indescribable, which is not like anything else. The fresh leaves of pandan taste are sorta grassy and nutty.
What is Gula Melaka?
Palm sugar is widely known as gula melaka or gula jawa in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia or Singapore, they call it by the former, and as an Indonesian, we call it gula jawa. This organic, unrefined sugar is produced from the sap of coconut palms or other palms. To produce gula melaka, you need to boil the sap until it thickens. The sticky sugar syrup is then whipped and poured into containers made of bamboo tubes, where it solidifies.
To use it, one just shaves the sugar with a knife before using it as an ingredient for sweet and savory dishes. The taste is super complex but not as sweet as cane sugar. It will hit you with deep caramel, butterscotch, coffee, and smoky note at the back. The flavor can vary depending on the date of picking the sap and the growing conditions of the trees.
Best Piping Tips to Use
The cookie dough is thick, so make sure to use a large piping tip with about a 1/2-inch opening. The smaller the size, the harder it will be to pipe. I highly recommend an open star piping tip. For this photo, I use French star piping tip which cuts produces fine, deeply-grooved patterns.
Pro Tips For Making Pandan Gula Melaka Butter Cookies
- Use room temperature butter. It refers to soft and pliable butter, but still cool to touch. There should be an indent when you press with your finger.
- Measure your flour correctly. Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. To best and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you still insist on using volume measurement, make sure to fluff your flour and spoon it into your measuring cup. Then, use a knife to level it off.
- Add more milk if your dough is too hard. Finding the right consistency of cookie dough is very crucial for butter cookies since you need it to be creamy enough to pipe. I find the recipe ratio is perfect for me, but if your dough is too hard to pipe, try to add a teaspoon of milk to the dough.
- Use commercial pandan paste. Using commercial pandan paste is the easiest way to get these cookies bright green with a strong pandan flavor without adding too much liquid into the dough.
- Use a cookie press to shape the cookies. if you are not confident about your piping skill, you can alternatively use a cookie press to shape these cookies.
More Pandan Recipes
While you are here, don’t forget to check out also these pandan recipes!
- Pandan Extract
- Putu Ayu (Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake)
- Klepon (Pandan Glutinous Rice Balls with Palm Sugar Filling)
- Kue Lumpang Ijo (Pandan Sticky Rice Cakes)
- Pandan Coconut Ice Cream