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
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 150°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.