ramadhan baking: biskut marmar carries

Do you remember the times when you were much younger, and visiting relatives’ houses during the festive season meant so much more through the eyes of a child? Much more than rekindling familial ties and finding yourself in the midst of ‘Dah besar eh dia!’ (‘She’s so big already!) comments from grannies who barely remember your name. Much more than finding yourself standing awkwardly behind older relatives hugging and crying, exchanging forgiveness over any harsh words and mistakes, wishing you weren’t next, knowing your encounter wouldn’t be half as emotionally dramatic.

Rather, visiting relatives as a child hinges on the infamous simplistic deduction of association. Associating specific persons and homes with treats, much like that second grand-uncle’s house with the generous amount of duit Raya (monetary gifts to visiting children) given, or that third cousin’s house with the large television set for playing video games; or even associating them with eye-catching details, such as the grandma who lives alone with her seemingly 99 cats, or the auntie whose house looks and sounds like a clock shop with the different cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks going off at the same time.

And like every other child who gets lost noticing the littlest of details in a person’s house while the adults are busy talking, I looked forward to the festive season not for the duit Raya, but rather, the wide array of cookies and cakes adorning the tables of every house we visited. I guess you could say the foodie in me started young. Whilst everyone had their favourite kuih tart, Almond cookies, and kek lapis, as a child I found it hard to resist two types of sweet treats; biskut suji (semolina cookies) and biskut marmar carries.

Till this day, I’m highly addicted to the crumbly snowy suji, and will subconsciously make a look out for it at every house I visit. Unfortunately, biskut marmar carries aren’t as popular as the suji, and when I was younger, I grew to associate it with my second aunt’s house, the only person I knew who made them. I would happily ‘park’ myself in front of the container at both my grandma’s and aunt’s house (she used to send a bottle to my grandma’s place), and took delight in biting into these peculiar-named, crumbly, buttery biscuits topped with a prettily-swirled sweet sugar icing. ‘Marmar’ means ‘marble’, referring to the marbled effect on the cookies, but last I checked, I have no idea what or who ‘carries’ referred to. Now that the aunt has stopped making them, and I have found a simple recipe that brought back nostalgia for me, these biskut marmar carries are definitely here to stay.

Biskut Marmar Carries
(adapted from here; makes about 75 – 80 pcs)

300 grams butter
100 grams icing sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla essence
375 grams plain flour
130 grams cornflour

For icing:
1 egg white
100 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
chocolate emulco, or colouring gel

Beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla.
Whisk in the plain flour and cornflour slowly, and beat until a soft dough is formed. Roll the dough out to about 1⁄2 inch thick,
and using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out your pieces, and decorate with the icing.
Bake at 150Β°C for 20-30mins.

To make icing, whisk the egg white for 1min. Whisk in the icing sugar and cornflour until soft peaks.
Separate 1 tablespoon of the mixture, and add in emulco or colouring of your choice.
Using your fingertip, spread the plain icing onto the cookies.
Using a toothpick, dip into the coloured icing, and draw a marbled pattern on the iced cookie.


20 thoughts on “ramadhan baking: biskut marmar carries

  1. the mister

    My fave childhood raya treat was swiss rolls (or otherwise known to the 8 year old me as kek rainbow)

    These coveted goodies would be bequeathed by my aunt to my mother.

    I highly suspected they were supposed to be served to guests who came over but more often than not, they would just be for our personal consumption. πŸ˜€

    Sesungguhnya aku sedang berpuasa… πŸ˜›

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      I’ve got a love-hate relationship with swiss rolls; love the cake, hate the cream. But I do love those pandan swiss rolls with kaya in between… yuMMy!

      And duuuude, I always just wait for the 1st week of Raya to be over, then it’s free for all when it comes to kuih raya!

  2. oneordinaryday

    You perfectly described the childhood memories of all those special-occasion visits! Reminds me of Thanksgiving at my great-aunt’s home. Lovely post and I thank you for triggering some sweet memories I haven’t thought of in a long time. πŸ™‚

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      I think you can try using melted chocolate, or any food coloring you may have. I’m afraid you’d need quite a bit of chocolate powder to get the deep colour, and it might affect the taste.

  3. shaffy

    those were the younger days… when hari raya meant ‘duit collection’ and lots of kuihs and krepeks. my favourites until now are my mum’s coffee lapis and sugee cake and my aunt’s pineapple tarts and makmurs. i am counting down the days when i can get get my hands on those yummies again… i learnt from them, watched them make those goodies, but i still can’t get it right. i guess the old school folks do it better. i’ll just stick to what i know best then… baking experiments containing nooooooootella. oh well, oh swell, you can’t have them all, aye?

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Mmmmm less than a week to having makmur! I’m never one for pineapple tarts, but makmur is possibly the only nutty kuih/biskut I eat.And I totally understand learning home recipes, but never quite getting it. It’s the same for me when it comes to my mom’s roti boyan, epok-epok, etc! One day lah eh, insyaAllah πŸ˜›

  4. thecoffeesnob

    These are just gorgeous and oh so perfect for the festive season!

    Just a quick question though, do you have to refrigerate the dough before you cut the shapes out or is the dough firm enough after mixing to be cut immediately?

  5. Maya

    Selamat Hari Raya babe, Maaf Zahir Batin. Darn I saw this a little too late. I LOVE MARMAR!!! Am gonna try to make these soon. :))))

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      thecoffeesnob: Thanks, sweetz! The dough’s firm enough; no time wasted πŸ˜‰

      Xiaolu: Hope so! Sorry I was busy that week; hope you enjoyed your stay here πŸ™‚

      Maya: Selamat Hari Raya, sweetz! Oh yay, I’m so glad to hear another marmar fan. Apparently not so many people know of it!

  6. Sha

    Just a quick one. Your ratio of cornflour is higher than plain flour…is that normal? A lot of recipes uses it the other way round… Thanks!

  7. Audrey Nathan

    Hello…I wanna try your cookies for Christmas……I’m a cookie monster from Malaysia! Can you please clear this doubt for me here from your recipe. You quote “cut out your pieces, and decorate with the icing ..Bake at 150Β°C for 20-30mins”.
    From what I know, you bake them first, and then decorate with the icing right?


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