Feb 12, 2018

Chinese Almond Cookies

almond, chinese, cookies, easy, new, Recipe, simple, year,

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Chinese Almond cookies! These delightfully crisp treats have a melt-in-your-mouth texture with the sweet, creamy flavor of almonds. A true dupe for the delicious after meal cookies you're often be served at Cantonese restaurants.

Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco's Chinatown
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (春節) is this Friday, February 16th! Around the Lunar New Year, everything is about wishing prosperity, good fortune, good luck and long life to your loved ones and those near you. One should avoid crying children, cleaning clothes, sweeping floors, and using scissors on this auspicious day. I thought it'd be great to bake some cookies in honor of this festival so I asked a Chinese college chum of mine for her favorite New Year's recipes. One of the recipes my friend recommended was this recipe from Taste of Home.



I thought it a bit odd that an authentic tasting Chinese cookie would be found in a publication specializing in Midwestern cuisine and based in Greendale, Wisconsin. But my friend Eileen said it was "spot on" if you doubled the almond flavoring and added 15 drops of yellow food coloring. And she was correct! These almond cookies taste just like the ones in Chinese bakeries and Cantonese restaurants. The recipe is quite simple and the dough is very easy to work with. I did not have yellow food coloring so I did not use it. I used 2 teaspoons of LorAnn's Almond Baking Emulsion instead of 1 teaspoon almond extract. (If you are looking for an excellent quality halal/alcohol-free almond flavoring that doesn't fade when baking or go bitter - I highly recommend LorAnn's Almond Baking Emulsion.) Instead of topping the cookies with sliced almonds I pressed one whole almond into each cookie. If you wanted to be really posh you could use whole blanched almonds. The egg wash gives the tops of the cookies a beautiful crackled and glazed look while helping the almonds to adhere. If you wanted a crispier cookie I'd suggest using vegetable shortening rather than butter. All in all, this was a great recipe- came together simply, rolled easily, baked beautifully (even with the occasional power outage and an erratically heating toaster oven), and tastes wonderful! Off to the recipe: 

Ingredients:
1 C butter or vegetable shortening, softened to room temperature
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
 1 to 2 tsp almond flavoring
3 C flour
40 almonds
For egg wash:
1 egg white
1/2 tsp water

Here's what to do:
1) In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Beat in egg and almond extract. 
 
2) Gradually add flour to creamed mixture. Chill dough for at least an hour or overnight. 
 
 
3) When ready to bake preheat oven to 325F/180C.  Roll into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheets. Flatten to a generous 1/4 inch with the bottom of a glass covered in cling film. 
 
 
4) In a small bowl, beat egg white and water. Brush egg wash over over cookies. Place an almond on top of each cookie and press down to flatten slightly. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: about 3 dozen. 
 
 
 
Hope you try this recipe and love it as much as my family does!
Until then: 
迎春接福  
Yíngchúnjiēfú  
"Greet the New Year and encounter happiness" 

Calmly Currying on,
Bibi

11 comments:

  1. These look and sound delicious.
    I have had great luck with recipes from Taste of Home magazine. Their annual canning publication is better than the Ball Blue Book for recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Goody,
      Thank you! TOH has really good recipes - I think they are one of the few publications that still tests recipes before printing them anymore!

      Delete
  2. Damn my jet leg - I thought at first these were "Cheese Almond Cookies" which didn't sound at all appetising! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vix,
      So glad you're back!
      We're prepping for Chinese New Year here- so not much cheese going on.
      I don't know.a smoky cheddar baked into a savory biscuit with almonds might be nice!
      xox

      Delete
  3. looks and sound yummy - and very easy indeed!
    never heard of almond extract or such.... we still live behind the 7 mountains i guess ;-D
    xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi beate,
      Thank you! I guess almond flavoring is only for marzipan deprived cultures such as mine?

      Delete
  4. A very happy chinese new year to you too. It is surprising how different cultures share similar beliefs on cleaning clothes, sweeping floors and scissors. However, the crying child thing does comes as a surprise.

    The almond cookies are absolutely fantastic. I want to eat them right now. Almonds are wonderfully nutritous products. That is why probably a drink of crushed almonds and milk form an integral part of an indian wrestler's diet.

    Apple

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Apple,
      We're getting ready for Tibetan New Year here (Ghyalpo Losar) which means lots of firecrackers, bonfires, & sugar cane.
      Almonds are yummy!

      Delete
    2. Sugarcane reminds me, today is shivratri. You mentioned something about a nepali ritual of bursting sugarcane on shivratri. As a pleasant coincidence both valentine day and shiv ratri has fallen on the same day this year.

      Apple

      Delete
    3. Apple,
      The RSS & Shiv Sena aren't going to like that! maybe they'll burn some pink chaddis?

      Delete
    4. Valentine day is a day of love and shiv ratri celebrates the marriage of shiv parvathi. Therefore, both days actually celebrate love.
      Shiv parvathi's marriage was a love marriage afterall.

      Apple

      Delete

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