What would you do with over stocked coffee and tea?

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I love to find and collect samples of coffee and tea from different regions of Indonesia. Specially the one made by home industry or small scale factory. Not the mass produced ones. Or just unique products that intrigued me.

That makes me a new kind of hoarder. I got multi jars containing coffees and teas. I don’t want to waste them, and my rate of consumption still can’t keep up with the expiration date. So, I’m thinking to use them into some other food.

One thing I’m known for is my habit for snacking. I love cookies. So, I’m thinking making my stock into cookies.

I tried to find indonesian traditional cookie recipe using coffee or tea and I can’t find them. Maybe I just didn’t search well enough or because our basic culture not very familiar with cookies type.

I looked for several coffee and tea cookies recipe, combine and modify them with my usual winged ability. And I came up with coffee cookie with espresso glaze, mocha cookies with dark chocolate, jasmine tea scented cookies with ground tea leaf glaze.

My next posts will be talking about  Sidikalang coffee, old school packed loose tea and Java chocolate that I used for these cookies.

My Jars of cookies

My Jars of cookies

Mocha cookies with dark chocolate bits

Mocha cookies with dark chocolate bits and Java dark chocolate powder

Very Deep Coffee cookies with espresso glaze. I'm using ground sidikalang coffee bean in the cookie dough.

Very Deep Coffee cookies with espresso glaze. I’m using ground sidikalang coffee bean in the cookie dough.

Jasmine tea scented cookies with ground tea leaf glaze

Jasmine tea scented cookies with ground tea leaf glaze

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Do you have favorite holiday cookies?

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It seem too corny matching holiday with cookies? Well thats what we usually have, here in Indonesia.

A tradition that goes back several hundred years, getting the influence from the Dutch during colonial period. They introduce our native ancestors with the art of baking cookies. As Indonesian, we give it a twist and make it our own.

The next holiday is Ied Al Fitr (Idul Fitri), to celebrate our obedience in fasting for a whole month, winning our better spirit and mind. The regular cookies, a must have for every home are; Nastar, Kastengels and Putri Salju.

Nastar is basically a butter cookies with pineapple jam fillings. The true Nastar will have home made pineapple jam in excessive amount inside the cookies. The old school shape will be resembling a guava or rose apple; using cloves as the stalk buds. The newer version will be shaped like small balls or like a leaf.

Kastengel is a cheesy cookies. It must have cheese of the dough and as the toppings. Every bite you should taste the cheesiness all the way to the last bite. Some people likes their Kastengel crunchy, by adding hard cheeses like Gouda. While others likes it smooth and crumbly, by adding more butter and only use cheddar cheese. Either way, every one have their best version of kastengel.

Putri Salju can be translated as Snow White, literally. Why? Because it is a  butter cookies blanketed with powdered sugar. The cookie is the princess and the sugar resemblance the snow.  Some cooks like to add ground nut on the cookie dough, so it will taste nutty and a bit savory against all sweetness from the powdered sugar.

Those three are the Three Musketeer for a great holiday.

I’m sharing some of the activities my mom and I usually have when we make our version of those three delicacies. Oh, we add chocolate cookies to our menu too.

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My mother style of Nastar before bake. Extra butter on the dough to create soft cookie, packed with home made pineapple jam.

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We are still using old school ovens. No temperature signed, we just wing it. In the oven, the ball shaped expand into half ball shape. Not the prettiest cookies.

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Our Kastengels, finger cheese cookies with cheddar cheese. Salty soft crumbly fingers.

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Crescent is our favorite shape for Putri Salju, its also the most used shape for this typical cookies. We got fat crescents there …..

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The princess bathe in powdered sugar while still hot. After a while it becomes, a snow white. Well, a fat crescent snow white.

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My mom’s chocolate cookies in star shape. She change the shape every year. This one always have identity crisis. One year it would be coin shaped with chocolate chips, next year will be crescent, or square or star. Best eaten with vanilla ice cream, hmmm.

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My mom’s pride and joy. A row of jars filled with her cookies on Ied holiday.

Look what I found! Japanese summer snacks (2)

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I found the sweet ones on the same shops. A rather large shops (compare to the others) at Ameyoko market. One thing I could say about this shop, it’s adorable but quite busy. I don’t catch the name, but it near the cherry vendors. The front part of the store are piles of crunchy snacks, followed with spreads of sweet treats. All kind of mochi cakes; in square, round, rectangle, character shaped; translucent or colorful type; regular red bean paste filling or chocolate, almond, strawberry, pineapple and a whole lot more. The spongy cakey snack like Kastella, Dorayaki and others with red bean paste fillings. The assorted packed, contain the salty crackers and sweet treats. The next shelf is my target, all things chocolate.

They have so many varieties of chocolates truffles with different fillings in different brands. I’ve tried some of them at my previous visit, quite soapy and not very good. I’m sticking to my plan, buying as much as Kit Kat in different flavor I could find. Unfortunately, there were only two flavors available: Green tea and Dark Chocolate. I grab a bunch of those  and put it to my cart. Since then, every time I can find snack shops or Konbini, I always look for different Kit Kat flavor. Unfortunately, can’t find the summer special flavor or package yet.

Ooops, I forgot. I found a few of funky flavor at one of the corner of the Tokyo central stations. It’s a Cantaloupe,  chocolate orange dan strawberry. But the price they tagged on it, Oh my God! unreasonable. The smaller package size with the one I bought from Ameyoko for 215 Yen, they charged 800 – 1200 Yen. I think, for a tiny chocolate wafer with uncommon flavor, It’s not worth the money.

Moons stone on ceramic jewel box

Moons stone on ceramic jewel box

I’ve seen this at Singapore before. Looked a colorful tiny bevel for aquarium, they called it Moon stones. It really is a milk chocolate in candied colorful shell, carved like stones. It quite tasty and cheap too, I bought it in a huge plastic package to share with my niece and nephew back home. By the way, the ceramic case is actually a jewel box given by  a friend of a friend as memento from Japan.

There are a whole lot more snacks, food and spices at stores and stall in Ameyoko market. If I could, I want to bring a sample of every one of them, but that will cross my budget limit. At least I have my personal mementos from Japan, salty and sweet eatable nick nacks.

What’s your most interesting food/beverages mementos from traveling?

Look what I found! Summer snacks Japanese style

mini crab crunchies
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Okay, maybe not all of the items below considered  to be summer snacks. We can find it all year around but, since it seem so cheerful I find it appropriate for summer too. Although, some of them maybe not quite pleasing for the eye for most people, I can guarantee they all taste good.

So, I’m strolling the alleys at Ameyoko market, Ueno, Tokyo. The day was still early, around 11 am. I was thirsty after circling the whole Ueno park since morning. I want to find cool beverages, other than the vending machine. Suddenly, my eyes caught these small charming tea store. They specialized in high quality green tea, that will cost you thousands Yen for a can of tea. No, I don’t want to spend so much money for tea. I’m interested in the sign that said “Matcha ice cream, 300 Yen”.

“Wooohooooo!” I said to my self. I’m thirsty, and a bit hungry too. Sampling traditional ice cream will be suitable. The traditional part was tagged by the merchant. He said that he used traditional Matcha to make his own ice cream. 300 Yen for a cone of ice cream was not cheap, but when I tasted it I forgot about the money. The matcha flavor were so bold, almost bitter. Not too sweet like regular green tea ice cream you can find at Konbini.

I’m sorry I don’t have the picture, since I was so busy indulge in the cold smooth and creamy green velvet. The sun began to shine in full power, so it’s quite hot outside. The ice cream soften fast, I had to finish it before melting. Oh, if you don’t trust me, I get the stare of several teenagers in school uniforms. I think they were sent by their school to have some kind of field study to the market? I don’t know. They giggled behind me, I don’t even aware of them before my ice cream gone. When I look up at them, with green milk mustache, they give me a thumbs up then giggled more.

I’m chilled and sugary happy, then continue strolling the market. I saw two large merchants selling all kind of snacks and sweets and more. I remembered that one of my friend asking for Kit Kat green tea, that quite difficult to find in Indonesia. Before I can go to the chocolaty shelf, my eyes widen seeing the pile after pile of snacks. They had the crunchy crackery ones, the soft and cakey, the gooey-doughey like mochi and others, they also had plastics of squid or octopus tentacles, all kind of nuts and grains, et cetera. Unfortunately, the employee caught me when I want to take pictures, and he said no. When a Japanese said no to me, I must obey them. Finally, I found the green tea Kit Kat and also the dark chocolate ones. My curiosity make me bought some other bits too. You can find it below.

Coming out from that store I smell the freshly grilled octopus ball or takoyaki. Oooh I’m hungry again.  Only 200 Yen, I got 4 octopus balls and self served toppings like mayonnaise, sliced green onions, katsuoboshi or bonito flakes. I sat there, in open table, in the middle of the market. To my left cherry stalls were crowded with customer bargaining the fresh cherries, to my right the cook busy preparing something steamy for other customer. Just in front of me, there were dried fish vendor, shouting their goods to attract buyers. A little further to the left, after the cherries, I can see a man standing on top of what looks like a garbage bins. He stood high and taller from everybody, shouting about his goods in Japanese.

Finishing the last bit of hot gooey ball, I’m checking the spiced merchant. Unfortunately, he couldn’t speak English at all. So I only bought some sprinkles that obvious enough what it was for me.

mini crab crunchies

mini crab crunchies

I found these crunchy seafood snack, made from original soft-shell crab and assorted of anchovies. They taste funky, in the good way though, it sweet and salty.  But it didn’t quite suitable for teve snacks, because they are a bit sticky and too savory. I guess, and tried, that these umami loaded crackers are good to add flavor to my oatmeal or plain rice porridge. They even suitable as filling for rice cakes or onigiri.

Jazzin up my oatmeal

Jazzin up my oatmeal

The next one is pickled octopus. The Japanese, Korean and Chinese are great in preserving their molluscan to be ready to serve delicacy. There were a whole range of  variety of dried and pickled octopus and squids. The dried strips; with or without spice. The fully form squid or octopus legs, the shredded jerky and even powdered.

I like eating them just as it is. The thin coin ones are great for teve snacks, only if you eat it with fork or chop sticks. We don’t want our fingers to smell fishy all night, right? It has natural umami flavor of seafood, with a touch of sweetness and a punch of sourness. I also combine them with my fresh salads; with cucumber, tomatoes and parsley or coriander leaves. Add a drop of sambal or hot sauce, it’s a refreshing nibble.

pickled octopus coins

pickled octopus coins

The other ones looked a lot scary. My husband didn’t even want to look at it. I know it may look un appealing, but I see them beautiful like butterflies.

pickled headless baby octopus

pickled headless baby octopus

The red marinade gave more pungent flavor than the coin ones. It has strong fishy and sour smell. The texture also more chewy and a little hard to swallow. Maybe I should grilled or boiled them, I don’t really know. I use them in my salads or fried rice, with a lot of chillies.

Salty and spicy sprinkles

Salty and spicy sprinkles

The next one are sprinklers!

Not the ordinary donut or cupcake sprinklers, it is the salty and spicy ones. They have a bunch at the store, I’m picking out the ones I’m certain what’s in it. I’m getting the mixed chilli and katsuoboshi sprinklers; katsuoboshi and nori; dried fish and vegetable; dried beef and vegetable; also the black sesame seeds. Again, I’m using them to pimped my plain oatmeal. Now, we have colorful and tasteful breakfast on oatmeal day. By the way, I finally conclude, the sprinklers must be some kind of flavor enhancement. Hmm, I don’t know.

No worries my friend, I’m consulting about this with a veteran Japanese food blogger, Ms. Makiko Itoh at Justhungry.com. When I get her replied, I’m updating this post.

Done with the savory, jump into the sweet findings next.