My Cigarette Butter Cookies are very similar to the cigarette shaped cookies from the famous Japanese confectionery brand, Yoku Moku. You only need 4 ingredients to make these fancy butter cookies and a mere 6 minutes to bake!
I love Yoku Moku cookies! I don’t have a sweet tooth but their cookies are one of the few exceptions and I bring back a large box of Yoku Moku cookies every time I visit Japan.
About Yoku Moku Cookies
The confectionary company Yoku Moku was established in 1942 in Tokyo as a family owned business. The name of the company, ‘Yoku Moku’ (ヨックモック) came from the town called Jokkmokk in Sweden.
The entrepreneur, who loved travelling, was looking at a world map and noticed a small town called Jokkmokk on the map. He liked the name of the town as it was rhythmic and the sound was heart-warming. So, he decided to name his company with the same sound.
Yoku Moku cookies are crispy but soft, with full of vanilla and butter flavour. The cookies can be round, square or rectangle, with or without chocolate coating. But the most popular and eye-catching cookie of all is the cigar-shaped cookie called ‘Cigare’. Cigare is the French word for cigar and in Japan, they pronounce it ‘shigāru’ (シガール).
When I went to Japan in January/February this year, I brought back Yoku Moku cookies in a beautiful tin box (see the photo below) . If I knew that I could not go back to Japan for a while, I would have spared some cookies so that I could take some photos of them to show you.
Now that they have long gone, I am afraid you will need to check out the website here to see what’s inside.
Cigare cookies are very similar to Cigarette Russes (Russian cigarettes) that are often served with ice cream. But Yoku Moku Cigare are bit thicker, I think.
What’s in My Cigarette Butter Cookies
The following are the ingredients to make about 10 cigarette cookies that are 11cm / 4¼” long.
- 1 egg white – about 33-36g
- 40g caster sugar
- Melted butter – the same weight as the egg white
- 40g flour or 30g flour + 10g almond meal/almond flour (per photo above)
- A few drops of vanilla essence or ⅛ tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
It’s amazing that you can make such tasty cookies with only 4 ingredients (if I count vanilla essence, that’ll make 5). And the flavour is pretty close to the Yoku Moku Cigare.
I tried slightly different proportions of the key ingredients above and I found that having the same weight of egg white and butter worked the best for me.
Baking Butter Cookies
Mix the ingredients one by one in the order of the ingredients above. You don’t whisk hard to make foam. You just mix the ingredients well.
The batter is not watery but quite thin. When you lift some batter with a whisk, it tries to form a peak but the tip bends immediately (see the photo below).
The fundamental process of baking cookies is nothing special except that the thickness of the batter on the baking tray needs to be quite thin.
Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and thinly spread the batter (about 1mm / 3/64″ thick). Bake at 170°C / 338°F for 6 minutes or so until the edges of the cookies become brown.
Using this batter, you can bake small round, oval or squarish cookies if you like. But to make a cigarette-shape cookie, the batter needs to be spread thinly to form a large circular shape. The diameter of the circle determines the length of the cigarette.
Baking cookies to make cigarette cookies
I used two methods to spread batter into large circles: (1) use the back of a spoon to draw a circle and spread, (2) use a hand-made stencil and fill in the batter using an icing spatula.
I drew circles with a diameter of about 11cm / 4¼” on the back of the baking paper. You can make the circle a bit larger or smaller. It just happened that the container I used to draw a circle happened to be this size. The circles need to be drawn 2-3cm / 1″ apart from each other.
Drop batter in the centre of each circle. Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter outward up to the pencilled lines. The batter should be about 1mm / 3/64″ thick.
Try to spread the batter as evenly as possible. If the thickness is notably uneven, the thinner part of the batter gets burnt while the thicker part of the cookie is uncooked.
This method does not make perfect circular cookies but simple, using just a hand and a spoon. It is almost impossible to make the thickness of the butter even and you cannot avoid getting brown patches inside the circles when baked (photo above). But that’s perfectly OK.
I made a plastic stencil to make cookies with a perfect circle and even thickness. I bought a folder made of plastic (about 1mm / 3/64″thick) and cut out a circle (see the photo below).
Place the stencil on the baking paper and drop batter on one side of the circle. Using an icing spatula, push the batter to the other end of the circle, filling the entire circle with the batter. Gently remove the stencil and voila!
This method makes perfect circular cookies with consistent thickness as you can see in the photo below.
Baking time is 5½- 6 minutes with either method, at 170°C / 338°F or until the edges of the cookies start browning.
After baking the cookies, roll them one by one on the baking tray. The cookies should be floppy initially. You need to roll the cookies while they are hot as they become crispy when cooled down, which makes them impossible to roll.
It might be easier if you place a chopstick crosswise on the cookie and roll the cookie around it. Also, the cookies are very hot to handle. It would be easier if you wear a pair of thin cotton gloves to roll them like my hand in the photos.
Because I could bake only 3-4 cookies at once, I used two trays – a large tray to bake 4 cookies and a smaller tray to bake 3 cookies – to speed up the baking process. While baking one tray, I got another tray ready to bake. As soon as the cookies in the oven were done, I placed the other tray and started rolling the baked cookies.
If you make the circles smaller, i.e. shorter Cigare, then you can bake more cookies at once.
Decoration and packaging for a present
You can dip one end of the cigarette cookie in melted chocolate to decorate. You could even sprinkle hundreds and thousands on the chocolate. My preference is a simple version of Cigare with nothing on it, though.
Above photo and the photo at the top of this post is a present I made the other day. I put two Cigarette Butter Cookies in a clear cellophane bag and tied the bag at the top. I packed them in a beautiful Yoku Moku tin box that used to contain Cigare sealed individually in a clear plastic.
It would have been nice if I could have found a thin clear cellophane bag to mimic Yoku Moku but having two Cigarette Butter Cookies in a bag is not bad at all, especially when you place them in a box.
The Cigarette Butter Cookies are not traditional Japanese cooking. However, since I mimicked Yoku Moku, I’d call this recipe a Japanese cookie recipe.
My Cigarette Butter Cookies are very similar to the cigarette shaped cookie from the famous Japanese confectionery brand, Yoku Moku. You only need 4 ingredients to make these fancy butter cookies and a mere 6 minutes to bake!
I used two methods of making large thin circular cookies - (1) use the back of a spoon to draw a circle and (2) use a hand-made stencil. The instructions include both methods.Total Time is based on baking cookies in three batches. Prep Time includes time to roll cookies into cigarette shapes but it does not include time taken to make a stencil.
No 'MEAL IDEAS' today as you would eat Cigarette Butter Cookies at tea time or at any time you feel like it.
- 1 egg white (34g / 1.2oz, note 1)
- 34 g / 1.2oz butter melted (note 2)
- 30 g / 1oz flour sifted (note 3)
- 10 g / 0.4oz almond meal/flour sifted (note 3)
- 40 g / 1.4oz caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- ⅛ tsp vanilla bean paste or a ⅓few drops of vanilla essence (optional)
Heat the oven to 170°C / 338°F.
Add egg white and sugar in a bowl. Using a whisk, mix well (do not whip) so that the sugar mostly dissolves.
Add the butter to the bowl and mix well.
Add ⅓ of the flour to the bowl and mix. Then add the rest of the flour and almond meal to the bowl and mix well.
Add the vanilla bean paste/essence if using to the bowl and mix well. The batter should be quite soft. If you lift the whisk up, the batter peaks but then bends straight away (note 10).
Cut a sheet of baking paper to just fit in a large baking tray.
On the back of the baking paper, draw 3-4 circles with a diameter of 11cm / 4¼” (note 4). The circles need to be 2-3cm / 1" apart from each other. Place the baking paper on the tray.
Drop a bit more than 1 tablespoon of the batter in the centre of each circle on the tray.
Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter evenly to fill each circle. Make sure that the batter in the centre of the circles is not too thin. Thickness should be about 1mm / 3⁄64“.
Cut a plastic sheet of about 1mm thick (note 5) into a rectangle shape so that you can draw a 11cm / 4¼” diameter circle with 2-3cm / 1" margin on three slides and more margin on the 4th side. Cut out the plastic along the circle and make an off-centred circle stencil (note 6).
Cut a sheet of baking paper to just fit in a baking tray and place it on the tray.
Place the stencil at the corner of the tray and drop a bit more than 1 tablespoon of batter on one end of the circle.
Using an icing spatula, push the batter to the other end of the circle, filling the entire circle with the batter. If there are are unfilled patches, collect excess batter and fill the patches using the same technique.
Gently remove the stencil. Repeat until the tray is filled with circles but ensure that circles are 2-3cm / 1" apart from all directions.
Place the tray in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 5½-6 minutes (note 7) or until the outside of the cookies becomes light brown.
Remove the tray from the oven, peel one cookie off the baking paper. The cookie should be floppy.
Pick up the edge of the cookie on your side and start rolling on the tray (note 8). If you are not sure of how tight the roll needs to be, place a chopstick on the cookie and roll around it.
Continue rolling away from you until the end. Hold the roll for 5 seconds or so to secure the end.
Roll the rest of the cookies in the same way. Transfer them to a cooling rack.
Repeat the steps above (excluding Making Batter) until you use up the batter (note 9).
1. The quantity of the other ingredients is suited for the egg white weighing 33-36g / 1.2-1.3oz. A whole egg in shell weighing 55-60g / 1.9-2oz would have the egg white in this range.
2. The weight of butter should be the same as the egg white. If your egg white is 36g / 1.3oz, make the butter 36g / 1.3oz.
I used the microwave for 20 seconds to partially melt the butter, then mixed vigorously to melt the rest with the residual heat. You need to melt butter completely.
3. You don’t need to use almond meal. If not using, replace it with flour, i.e. 40g / 1.4oz flour in total.
4. You can vary the diameter of the circle. The size of the circle determines number of circles you can draw on each sheet of baking paper.
5. I bought a plastic folder from a discount shop to make this stencil.
6. Leaving more room on the plastic on one end makes it easier to catch the excess batter.
7. Depending on the thickness of the batter and the strength of your oven, the time to bake cookies varies. When the outside of the cookies becomes light brown, they are ready.
8. The cookie becomes hard as it cools down so it is important to roll the cookies on the tray even if the tray and the cookies are hot.
9. To speed up the process of baking a few cookies at one time, I used two baking trays. While baking one batch, I got the circles of batter ready on the 2nd tray. As soon as I took the first tray out of the oven, I put the 2nd tray in and worked on rolling the baked cookies.
When you spread the batter on the tray for the second time, you might find that the tray is too hot and the batter becomes runny. In this case, place the baking paper on the work bench, spread the batter on the paper, then transfer the paper to the tray.
10. See the photo in the post.
If your kitchen is very cold, the batter will become harder and can be difficult to spread. If it happens, fill a small amount of warm water in a bowl and place the bowl of batter on the warm water. The batter should become softer as you mix it.
11. Nutrition per cigarette cookie.
serving: 15g calories: 58kcal fat: 3.3g (5%) saturated fat: 1.8g (9%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 0.2g monounsaturated fat: 1g cholesterol: 7.3mg (2%) sodium: 28mg (1%) potassium: 17mg (0%) carbohydrates: 6.5g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.2g (1%) sugar: 4.1g protein: 0.9g vitamin a: 2% vitamin c: 0% calcium: 0.3% iron: 1%