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Monday, March 1, 2010

Bánh Gai Sữa (Thorn Cookies)

Banh Gai are very common in Vietnam. I remembered everyday before I took off to school, my mom gave me money for snacksThe snack vendors sat right in front of the school gate and patiently waited for students to arrive.   As soon as I got to school, I spent some of that money to buy  snacks.  The remaining money, I saved it to buy more snacks at recess and after school.   I spent a great deal of my snack allowance on Bánh Gai  as it was so common and good. This cookie is named for it's resemblance to thorns on a branch.    

You really need to look closer to see the thorns on these cookies :-)

It's been years since the last time I had them.   I finally made some today for my two daughters to enjoy with some warm green tea.   The cookies had the right taste but the shape wasn't quite what I had hoped for.  And my hands were aching from trying to squeeze the dough out of the pouch.  My banh gai could have had more thorns and looked better if my husband was the one squeezing the dough. On the second batch, I ran out of energy so I removed the star tip to make it easier to squeeze. To make banh gai look like the ones in the top image, you need to use the banh gai tool to the right.  

As you can see from the plate, there are cookies with thorny ridges and those without.  Banh gai is very easy to make but squeezing the dough from the bag can be a little tough.  So flex up those muscles, get out your piping bag and begin squeezing. Have fun!

RECIPE: Bánh Gai
1 cup of wheat flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
5 tablespoons of coconut milk
 5 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoon of condensed milk
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of pure lemon extract
Prepare Flour
Pour wheat flour, tapioca flour and baking soda in a sifter and sift it. 
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix it up with a whisk.
Pour the mixed liquid into the flour and kneed it for about a couple minutes. 
Prepare Cookies Shape
Fit a star tip into a piping bag and fill it with cookie dough. 
Squeeze the dough onto a baking sheet to form  straight lines
Use a knife to cut the dough lines into 1 1/2 inches segments.
This is how they look like without the star tip
Baking the Cookies
Bake it at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until cookies turn golden.
Remove it and let it cool. 
Keep cookies in a jar to keep them fresh and crunchy.
* * *
Enjoy Bánh Gai Sữa with a cup of Japanese roasted brown rice hot tea!


  1. I am thinking if you take a fork and runs it through the top of the cookie paste to form the ridges. It would probably work?

  2. Hi,
    why in this recipe it calls 2 time of baking soda? i would love to try but i saw 2 time of baking soda in this recipe so i wanna make sure if u made any typo...:-)

  3. It is a typo. Thanks for pointing it out. I will update it.

  4. Thanks. I will try it out and let you know what the outcome is :-)

  5. What kind of coconut milk do you use for this?

  6. you can use any kinds, coconut cream or coconut milk.