These cookies were designed for Nick Manley. It was my last day in Cambridge and I was still in an AirBnB and bored from staying indoors alone.

So I dug up everything in the pantry that I have left and made these: there were almond nuts raisins, pandan essence, flour, butter, eggs, sugar and baking powder. So why are they Nick Manley’s cookies, because Nick likes pandan flavour and he likes his drop cookies looking rustic. How do I know. I remember us shooting the food blog classes in summer 2018 and I made some cookies for the shoot. They were not good enough for Nick because they were too flat. He, the director, wanted them rustic looking so that they look good on photographs.

It was difficult for me at that time, to whip up something rustic at the last minute. The only recipe I had in my mind at that moment was a standard drop cookie. Really, I needed some time to think up a recipe that tastes great and still looks nice in photographs, as in rustic. And so it took a while, and quite a few months before I even thought about it.

But now that they are done, they are called Nick’s cookies, and they are great!

O, and why 4-5-6? 4 parts of butter, 5 parts of sugar and 6 parts of flour, and then add an egg and some leavener (a teaspoon of baking powder). Easy to remember. Add any dried fruit, nuts or cooking chocolate or even some alcohol. That’s it!

Super yummy!

Nick’s 4-5-6 Pandan Cookies


  • 400 g Butter at room temperature
  • 500 g Sugar any granula kind
  • 600 g Self-raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk optional - use only if you want chewy cookies
  • 3 cups of any combination of chopped nuts chocolate chips, dried fruits
  • 1/2 tsp pandan essence or vanilla essence


  • Preheat the oven at 375F or 190C, 340F or 170C for crunchy cookies.
  • Cream butter and sugar until 'sandy' looking.
  • Add the egg and emulsify.
  • Add the pandan, vanilla essence or any kind of essence or spices that you might want to use.
  • Fold in the flour and nuts, dried fruits or chocolate chips and milk.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (chewy), 15-17 minutes (crunchy) or when slightly browned.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and store in an airtight container.
  • You can make these sweet, salty, spicy (try nasi lemak, rendang or laksa versions!), bitter (try chocolate or coffee), sour (tamarind?), umami? Anything! Be amazed.