The cookie trail continues! Since auld lang syne has been sung to everyone’s hearts’ content (or perhaps *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” was more fitting), the island is getting ready for its next celebration. Most people are prepping for the Lunar New Year, which is arriving in February! For fellow sweet tooths, this means there’s more for our taste buds to explore in the cookie realm!
As soon as Christmas concluded, Christmas trees were swiftly swapped for bonsai and lucky bamboo plants, and sparkly Santa decorations passed the celebratory torch to red-hued Lunar New Year décor. The same goes for food: shops have lined additional shelves, with mandarin oranges and the most delightful snacks that are only available during the festive season.
Some bites (like my all-time favorite pineapple jam tarts) are staples in celebrations across various heritages that have called our region ‘home’ for several generations. Regardless of whether you’re observing a particular holiday or not, you’re bound to join the celebrations – especially through food!
The Cookie Trail
In a recent trip to the shops, I was on the hunt for cookies I’ve never tasted before from the Lunar New Year shelves. I’m well-acquainted with most of these special delicacies, but there was one that caught my eye. I’ve never had “golden durian cakes” before, but it looks delightful to my palate.
Dome-shaped cakes (which I refer to as ‘cookies’ because they’re much closer to the cookie family’s lineage) are a little larger than the size of gumballs. Each piece is stacked immaculately in a quintessential, medium-sized festive cookie bottle, which has the same purpose as a cookie jar. Filled with durian and pineapple jam (check out the pineapple jam tarts post to learn more!), this is certainly the most peculiar yet intriguing durian treat I’ve ever purchased!
Taste of Durians
Yes, I am one of those foodies who doesn’t classify this ‘weird’ spiky fruit as… well… weird. To me, they are sweet, but not too sweet. And fruity, but not very fruity at the same time. Linking adjectives with durian is quite subjective, and nearly a hundred percent of durians’ depictions only seem to scratch the surface of actual experiences. Its taste does not make you go “ah-ha!” when you’re searching through your library of familiar flavors to liken it with, because it’s highly distinctive (hence the oxymorons).
I don’t consume durian-laden foods often, but when I do get a chance to grab some (typically upon spotting new treasures in the durian kingdom), I tend to love it. The King of Fruits rarely disappoints… but my stomach draws a line at the seven-cheese and durian pizza that emerged recently!
In my introductory bite, I instantly realized that the taste was most certainly on the ‘acquired’ side. A durian and pineapple jam sits in each cookie’s core, and it makes its presence known with a bold entrance to the cookie experience. Apart from durian’s inclusion, this isn’t any ordinary pineapple jam: Southeast Asian pineapple jam comprises of shredded pineapples, a medley of spices, and sugar. It’s my favorite pineapple jam in the world, hands-down. I would not have imagined a fusion of pineapple jam and durian in a million years!
Both fruits battled to be the star, but in the end, durian stood out more. After that, I felt like I was chomping on durian jam which has the texture (and a mild taste) of pineapple! The soft, fruit-laden jam is identical to the one used in traditional pineapple jam tarts, with a durian touch.
Pairing durian with pineapple jam’s texture was quite bizarre at first, but I was accustomed to it after munching on my second cookie. The flavor grew on me relatively quickly, and I loved the taste thereafter. It is possible that a tiny bit of actual durian is included, because the list of ingredients only declares the word ‘durian’ when it comes to the King of Fruits.
In the fruit friendship circle, Durian is that one extroverted friend who possesses a larger-than-life personality. It loves the spotlight, therefore, a little goes a long way if you’re incorporating the fruit in a recipe – which is the direction that these cookies have chosen.
The cookies, which is more like a light-buttery pastry, tones and refines the jam’s punch. They are crumbly with some melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. It isn’t very sweet, hence balancing the fruity-sweet filling with a light savory note. The egg wash on top gives a nice dimension too, and it puts the ‘golden’ in ‘golden durian cakes’ – hence reminding me of little fortune/money bags.
I wouldn’t mind getting another bottle of these cookies before the season ends!
Calling all durian fans! Click here for previous posts featuring durian’s awesomeness!