Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chinese Almond Cookies - week 46 of 52

I was recently at my friend’s “Moon Yuet” – where a new baby, at least one month old, is introduced to friends and family at a banquet. In ancient China, infant mortality rates were quite high, and a baby who reached one month would likely survive and that was celebrated.

The parents will have red-dyed eggs which symbolize happiness and renewal of life. There is also a many many course dinner, at the end of which they serve dessert, including almond cookies. These are crisp almond cookies with a crackled top, and are also sold at Chinese supermarkets.

I wanted to make some to share with my friends at work. I found this recipe on and they generally have great recipes (and the picture looked really pretty!)
These were very easy to make and I discovered what gives the cookies a crackled look – once the cookies rise, the egg yolk that’s brushed onto the cookies “crackles”.
Although the cookies were yummy, they tasted more like almond shortbread than crispy almond cookies. I will have to find another almond cookie recipe and try again! However, as you can see from the picture below, I might be better off to buy them for $2.49

Bon appétit!

Chinese Almond Cookies
Rating (out of 5) ***
Cost $

3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) shortening
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) almond extract
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) ground almonds
1-1/4 tsp (6 mL) baking powder
70 blanched whole almonds, (about 2/3 cup/150 mL)
1 egg yolk

In large bowl, beat together butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, almond extract and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds and baking powder; add to butter mixture and stir to form stiff dough.

Roll dough by tablespoonfuls (15 mL) into balls. Place, 2 inches (5 cm) apart, on greased or parchment paper?lined rimless baking sheet; top each with whole almond, pressing into dough. Mix egg yolk with 1 tsp (5 mL) water; brush over cookies.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until edges are light golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

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