These seven cookie and cake ideas have a twist to their creation. First off, they come from a chemistry academician who \u2500 midway through a career in science and education \u2500 decided to turn to the oven to become a professional baker. Yes, Noraini Yatim was once laboratory bound but she now lives and works in the bakery of a hotel resort in the US, and it is from there that she has graciously shared some of her baking ideas for the upcoming Ramadan and Raya season.\r\n\r\nNoraini is no stranger to the art of creating confectionery, however. She says she has been baking all her life, almost straight off after finishing her college degree in the US, getting married and starting her career as a chemistry teacher in Barnard College, New York City.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt wasn\u2019t easy living in one of the most expensive cities in the world based on a teacher\u2019s wage so I had to be creative,\u201d she said, musing over her early days. \u201cI cooked and baked a lot to save money so we could pay our bills.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlthough Noraini has lived for many years outside of Malaysia, she still retains her Malaysian roots through her family and friends and of course, through her cooking. However, she didn\u2019t turn \u201cprofessional\u201d at the craft until one fine day 15 years ago when she decided to enroll for a course in the Culinary Institute of America.\r\n\r\n\u201cI was teaching at Wingate High School at the time and after so many years as an educator, I decided to make a life-changing career move by enrolling in the culinary school. I blossomed and thrived in that environment which I discovered was truly my calling.\u201d\r\n\r\nAfter graduating from the culinary school, she was offered a position as a baker at a hotel resort in Georgia. And this is where she has been baking up a storm ever since.\r\n\r\nFor the Ramadan and Hari Raya period, Noraini is suggesting two traditional Malaysian favourites such as the Lipat Pulut Pisang (Sticky Rice and Bananas) and Banana Loaf. She has also included a few timeless cookies like the Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Almond Biscotti and many others. Of course, cookies and cakes are year-round \u201cmust-eat delectables\u201d for any occasion so these ideas can be used anytime one feels like baking. The seven recipes include serving sizes so you will know straightaway how much you want to make and jar-up for later.\r\n\r\nHave fun getting creative at the oven!\r\n(All pictures credited to Noraini Yatim)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSticky Rice and Bananas\r\n\r\n\r\n(Makes 20 servings)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t3 cups glutinous or sticky rice\r\n \t3 cups coconut milk\r\n \t2 tsp salt\r\n \t2\/3 cup sugar\r\n \t5 bananas\r\n \t20 (15cm x 20cm) pieces banana leaves\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tWash the sticky rice. Cover with 10 cups of water and soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain well.\r\n \tPut the coconut milk in a large saucepan. Add the salt and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat.\r\n \tAdd the well-drained sticky rice, and cook, stirring constantly until all the coconut milk is absorbed \u2013 about 15 minutes.\r\n \tCut the bananas into halves lengthwise then cut in half crosswise.\r\n \tPut 2 tbsp. of sticky rice in the middle (the long way) of each piece of banana leaf. Flatten the rice and place a banana quarter on top. Cover with an additional 2 tbsp sticky rice. Flatten it to cover the banana.\r\n \tBring the two long sides of the leaf up to meet above the rice. Fold twice and press down on rice.\r\n \tFold both ends down and under to make a neat, even package.\r\n \tSteam over medium heat for 20 \u2013 25 minutes.\r\n \tServe in the wrapper warm or at room temperature.\r\n \tRefrigerate left overs and re steam before serving.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBanana Bread Loaf\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t1 \u00be cups all-purpose flour\r\n \t1 cup sugar\r\n \t1 tsp baking soda\r\n \t\u00bd cup plain tasting cooking oil\r\n \t\u00bd tsp salt\r\n \t1 tsp vanilla\r\n \t1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)\r\n \t\u00bc cup + 1 tbsp plain yogurt\r\n \t2 large eggs\r\n \t3 very ripe eating bananas (not cooking bananas)\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tPreheat oven to 176 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tGrease and flour a 9\u201d x 5\u201d loaf pan (22.5cm x 12.5cm).\r\n \tCombine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.\r\n \tIn a large bowl mash bananas well.\r\n \tAdd oil, vanilla, yogurt and eggs. Mix until well combined.\r\n \tAdd dry ingredients and mix until well combined.\r\n \tIf adding nuts, do so now.\r\n \tBake about 1 hr to 1hr 15 mins until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.\r\n \tAllow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.\r\n \tUnmold onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before wrapping and storing.\r\n \tMay be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, otherwise store refrigerated.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nChocolate Chip Cookies\r\n\r\n\r\n(Yields: About 4 dozen)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t2 \u00bc cups all-purpose flour\r\n \t\u00be cup brown sugar, packed\r\n \t1 tsp baking soda\r\n \t2 tsp vanilla\r\n \t\u00bd tsp salt\r\n \t\u00be cup sugar\r\n \t2 eggs\r\n \t1 cup butter, softened\r\n \t2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips\r\n \t1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tPreheat oven to 176 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tStir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.\r\n \tBeat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy.\r\n \tAdd vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated.\r\n \tGradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture.\r\n \tStir in chocolate chips and nuts (if desired).\r\n \tDrop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets\r\n \tBake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOatmeal Raisin Cookies\r\n\r\n\r\n(Yields: About 4 dozen)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t1 cup margarine or butter, softened\r\n \t1 \u00bd cups all-purpose flour\r\n \t1 cup firmly packed brown sugar\r\n \t1 tsp baking soda\r\n \t\u00bd cup granulated sugar\r\n \t1 tsp cinnamon\r\n \t2 eggs\r\n \t\u00bd tsp salt (optional)\r\n \t1 tsp vanilla\r\n \t3 cups quick or old fashioned, uncooked oats\r\n \t1 cup raisins\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tHeat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius)\r\n \tBeat together margarine\/butter and sugars until creamy.\r\n \tAdd eggs and vanilla; beat well.\r\n \tAdd combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.\r\n \tStir in oats and raisins; mix well.\r\n \tDrop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.\r\n \tBake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.\r\n \tCool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.\r\n\r\nBar cookies: Bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13\u201d x 9\u201d metal baking pan.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlmond Biscotti\r\n\r\n\r\n(Yields: About 5 dozen)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t2 \u00be cups all purpose flour\r\n \t1 1\/3 cups sugar\r\n \t1 tbsp vanilla\r\n \t1 egg white, lightly beaten\r\n \t1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling\r\n \t1 \u00bd tsp baking powder\r\n \t1\/8 tsp salt\r\n \t8 tbsp butter, at room temperature\r\n \t2 eggs\r\n \t\u00bd cup whole almonds\r\n \t1\/3 cup sliced almonds\r\n \t2 tbsp cornmeal\r\n \t1 \u00bd tbsp. whole aniseed\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tPreheat oven to 176 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tCombine the flour, sugar, almonds, cornmeal, aniseed, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.\r\n \tMix thoroughly.\r\n \tAdd butter and continue mixing until the dough has the consistency of wet sand.\r\n \tMix in the eggs and vanilla until soft dough is formed.\r\n \tDivide the dough in half and form into 2 logs, each 3\u201d x 15\u201d (7cm x 38cm).\r\n \tPlace the logs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.\r\n \tLightly beat the egg white and brush evenly on the logs and sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar.\r\n \tBake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.\r\n \tThe logs should be firm but still pliable.\r\n \tCool to room temperature.\r\n \tLower the oven to 162 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tWhen the logs are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1\/4\u201d (about \u00be cm) thick slices with serrated knife.\r\n \tLay the sliced cookies out on the cookie sheet.\r\n \tBake until lightly golden and crisp about 15 minutes.\r\n \tCool and store, well covered.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOrange Cranberry (or Raisins) Scones\r\n\r\n\r\n(Yields: 12 wedges)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t1 \u00be cups all-purpose flour\r\n \t\u00bd cup dried cranberries (or raisins)\r\n \t3 tbsp sugar\r\n \t1 egg, slightly beaten\r\n \t2 \u00bd tsp baking powder\r\n \t4 tbsp half and half (half cream + half milk)\r\n \t2-3 tsp grated orange peel\r\n \t1 egg, slightly beaten for glazing\r\n \t1\/3 cup (5 \u00bd tbsp) cold butter cut in pieces\r\n \tAbout 1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling\r\n\r\nOrange butter: (optional)\r\n\r\n \t\u00bd cup butter, softened\r\n \t2 tbsp orange marmalade\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tHeat oven to 204 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tIn a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and orange peel.\r\n \tRub butter pieces into flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.\r\n \tStir in cranberries (or raisins), 1 egg and half and half and mix just enough so that the dough leaves sides of bowl.\r\n \tTurn dough onto lightly floured surface.\r\n \tGather lightly and shape into a thick disc. Roll into a 9\u201d (23cm) circle; cut into 12 wedges.\r\n \tPlace on cookie sheet.\r\n \tBrush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.\r\n \tBake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.\r\n \tImmediately remove from the cookie sheet.\r\n \tIf making the orange butter, stir together orange butter ingredients in a small bowl and serve with scones.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWalnut Crescents\r\n\r\n\r\n(Yields: About 5 dozen cookies)\r\n\r\nIngredients:\r\n\r\n \t3 \u00be cups all purpose flour\r\n \t1 tbsp vanilla\r\n \t\u00be tsp cinnamon\r\n \t2 \u00bc cups ground walnuts\r\n \t1 \u00bd cups margarine or butter, softened\r\n \t1 \u00bd cups powdered sugar\r\n \t\u00be cup light or dark corn syrup\r\n\r\nMethod:\r\n\r\n \tMix flour and cinnamon; reserve.\r\n \tBeat margarine\/butter, corn syrup and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed until well blended.\r\n \tStir in flour mixture and walnuts.\r\n \tCover; refrigerate until chilled and easy to handle, at least 3 hours.\r\n \tHeat oven to 176 degrees Celsius.\r\n \tShape dough by rounded teaspoonful into rolls. 2\u201d long (5 cms).\r\n \tPlace 2\u201d apart on ungreased cookie sheet, shaping to form crescents.\r\n \tBake until light brown on bottoms, 15 to 18 minutes.\r\n \tCool on wire rack.\r\n \tRoll in powdered sugar.