Peng Bing (椪餅), is a simple cookie-like snack that has been around for over a hundred years in Taiwan. It’s puffed-up, hollow in the center, crispy with a hint of sesame oil and brown sugar filling. Peng Bing doesn’t seem like much but it is a super delicious (and cute) snack! Personally, I’m a bit addicted to it.
Peng means puffed-up in Taiwanese. It’s beautiful how physics work when it comes to cooking and baking. The brown sugar filling is trapped inside the dough and expands when it’s baked thus creating the puffy and hollowed center. The creation of peng bing is amazing, it’s a play on different texture and physics of ingredients to form this art. The crust is thin and crunchy with caramel sticking to it. I’ve been having these with my coffee every day for two weeks now.
Traditional ways of Enjoying Peng Bing
While Peng Bing can be enjoyed as is straight out of the oven, it also used to be made into a tonic food for those who had just given birth. (In Taiwan, it is a tradition to have a one-month recovery for women who had just given birth.) For this purpose, the peng bing will be fried in ginger-infused sesame oil, with the top scooped out and a whole egg placed inside of it. It is then pan fried at low heat on both sides until the egg is cooked. Both ginger and sesame oil are considered as “warm” food and super nutritious, great for people who have a weak body.
Modern Peng Bing
Peng Bing is most popular and common in Tainan county of Taiwan, the oldest capital of the country (also known as the street food capital). This tradition almost disappeared due to the import of new snacks from all over the world. Peng Bing doesn’t have all the “extra fancy flavors” people were looking for. All those “extra flavors” are not necessarily a good thing, most of them are artificially flavored with tons of chemicals I can’t pronounce. But peng bing is simple and beautiful, you can taste the real ingredients. That’s why it is slowly making a comeback! Now peng bing can not only be found in the traditional setup, stores have started to create new trends with it. Ice cream that uses Peng Bing as a “cone”, peng bing with milk like a cereal, peng bing with a shot of espresso inside… there are endless creativities!
Sugar was a big thing in Taiwan. It was at one point what built the country’s economy. The brown sugar in Taiwan is full of flavor, less refined with a very special aroma. Dark brown sugar in the US comes closer to it, but it’s still different. Imagine a combination of molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar and that’s closer to what brown sugar taste like there. I adore that flavor, and it’s healthier than refined sugar because of its mineral content.
Watch how Peng Bing is made
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- 2 C All-purpose Flour
- 2 TBsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3 TBsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 C Boiling Hot Water
- 1/4 C Cold Water
- 1/2 C Brown Sugar
- 1 TBsp Sesame Oil
- 1 TBsp All-purpose Flour
- 1 TBsp Reduced Beet Juice Or some Red Food Coloring
Making the Dough
- Mix all the dry ingredients with 3TBsp Sesame Oil until crumbly
- Pour 1/2C HOT water into the dough mixture and mix with a fork (so you don't get burnt!)
- Add 1/4C cold water to the dough mixture and knead with your hands until it's not sticky anymore and the surface becomes smooth (It will be pretty sticky when you start but dont add more flour, it will go away)Roughly takes about 2 mins.
- Cover with a towel and set aside to rest for 10 mins
Making the filling
- Add 1 TBsp flour to a heated pan, toast until fragrant and slightly golden
- Mix 1/2C Brown sugar with 1TBsp Sesame Oil then add the toasted flour and mix well
Putting it together
- Heat the oven to 400F
- Cut the dough into 24 even little dough
- Keep the unused dough covered, while working one piece at a time. Roll the dough out into a circle that's roughly 4" in diameter, thinner around the edges.
- Add 1/2 TBsp filling to the center and close the dough by folding it like a bun or simply pinch it all together. Make sure it's completely sealed in order for it to puff up later.
- Flip the dough around, seam side down and flatten with your palm, roll it out into a circle roughly 4" diameter and 3mm thick. There will be air bubbles!
- Stamp or draw on the dough with red coloring. Repeat until the dough is gone.
- Bake at 400F for about 12 minutes or slightly golden and puffed up.
Other Taiwanese Snacks You Might Be Interested In: