Of course, given the weather conditions and my current work load, a beach trip will have to wait. So instead, I decided to bake something "beachy" to compensate, sand dollar cookies. I remember learning about sand dollars in science class when I was a kid and thinking that they were super cool. There are folk tales that describe sand dollars as mermaid currency or the lost coins of mermaids. How lovely is that? And apparently, according to Wikipedia, in New Zealand, sand dollars are referred to as sea cookies and snapper biscuits!
For the cookies, I wanted something fragile and not too sweet. I remembered reading up on kuih bangkit, a Malaysian CNY cookie, and thought that they might just work. I've never had kuih bangkit before, so I can't tell you how these cookies differ from actual kuih bangkit, but I can tell you that they fit perfectly with what I imagined for sand dollar cookies. They're white, crisp, and delicate with an interesting texture, a bit like a dry meringue. And tastewise, they're slightly sweet with a hint of coconut. A perfect summer treat!
2 1/2 cups tapioca flour/starch
1 egg yolk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk/cream
Place the tapioca flour in a bowl and microwave it for 1 minute (to get rid of any excess moisture). Let it cool. Pour it into a mixing bowl and mix in the powdered sugar. Then add the egg yolk, butter, and coconut milk. Mix until a dough forms (it has a plastic-y texture that reminds me of mozzarella cheese).
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Take 1/4 of the dough and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out very thinly, 2-3 mm in thickness. For large sand dollars, use a 2 5/8 inch diameter circle cookie cutter, and for small sand dollars, use a 1 7/8 inch diameter circle cookie cutter to cut out circles. Transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a toothpick to poke a hole in the center of each circle cut out. Repeat with the rest of your dough.
Use a toothpick to quickly prick out a dotted five-petaled flower shape on each cookie (be careful not to burn yourself on the baking sheet, if necessary, place an oven mitt on top of the baking sheet edge to have something your arm can rest on). If the middle hole has shrunk, take the toothpick and enlarge it. Place the cookies back in the oven and continue baking until the cookies are relatively crisp and begin to brown at the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet to finish crisping up, then move to a cooling rack.