It’s always fun getting to celebrate New Years multiple times, but especially this year. Who doesn’t want to say goodbye to 2020 at least twice? The Chinese Lunar New Year fell on the February 12th this year, but celebrations last up to 16 days. So, plenty of time to make and enjoy these Chinese Almond Cookies! These almond cookies are buttery and delicious, and easy to make. Almond cookies are a traditional Chinese treat, and they symbolize prosperity and good luck, two things we could all use this year.
Where’s the Almond Love?
I love almonds, especially the bitter almond flavor, which is commonly found in marzipan, but can be a very difficult flavor to find in the US. We just don’t use it enough. Come on people, give it a try. You’ll love it! It’s a little floral, a little sweet, and has the most amazing haunting aroma. Everyone already loves almond milk and almond flour. This is the just the next step.
Seriously though, these cookies will blow your mind with sheer almondness (yes, it’s a word) because we pack three different kinds of almonds in the recipe. The almond flour gives the cookies a nutty crispness, the almond extract lends that marzipany (yes this too is a word) flavor, and the slivered almonds on top impart a lovely crunchy texture.
I don’t bake that often, but when I do, I want good fool proof recipes. My Chinese Almond Cookies are a very straightforward recipe, and I’ve made them dozens of times, so I know the recipe works.
Let’s Get Baking
First things first. Even though I don’t bake often, I’ve learned some tricks over time to make sure I get the most consistent results. Baking is different from cooking in that you often can’t tell how something is going to turn out until it’s in the oven. And it’s very rare that you can “save” a disaster. Nothing is more upsetting than wasting time and money and seeing uneaten food end up in the garbage. So in order to avoid unnecessary risk, I make every attempt to follow a couple golden rules.
Some Tips For A Consistent Bake
First make sure your butter and egg are at room temperature. And do not confuse room temperature with warm. You should be able to push into the butter but it should not be a so soft it’s starting to melt. If I’m in a rush, I will often chop up my butter so it warms up a little faster. Do not warm butter in the microwave. It’s much better to start off with slightly cool butter rather than a melty glop. If your egg is cold, put it in a small glass with warm water for 10 minutes and it will be ready to go.
Next, measure out your ingredients. I always weigh everything, because the scale doesn’t lie and you’ll never end up using more or less of an ingredient. But many people don’t bother and use the scoop method. If that’s the case for you, make sure you stir the flour a bit before scooping and then take a butter knife and level the scoop by running it across the top. Never pack the flour down with your hand or scoop against the side of a container-you’ll end up scooping way too much flour and your results with be leaden and disappointing.
Check Expiration Dates
Additionally, make sure to check that the baking soda and baking powder aren’t expired. If you bake infrequently, you may be surprised to find that your baking soda is six months past its prime. If you’ve found your baked goods refusing to rise or they aren’t as airy as before, this is the first thing you should check.
Nuts are highly perishable, which is why I usually keep them in the freezer. The natural oils in them will turn and you can end up with bitter off-tasting nuts if they’re past their prime. I use slivered almonds in this recipe because I like having a shower of nuts on top so each bite has a crunch. If your slivered almonds are raw, make sure to toast them in a low oven (say 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes), keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Once your ingredients are ready, the recipe is a straightforward cookie recipe- mix the flours and powders in one bowl, cream the butter and sugar in another, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and bake off. You can also freeze the dough, either as balls or roll the dough in plastic wrap to form a log. Voila, you now have your very own slice and bake cookies ready whenever you want a little something sweet.
These make about 18-20 large cookies. You can of course make them smaller, just adjust your baking time accordingly. I like them a deep golden around the edges because I think it brings out the nutty flavor better. If you prefer softer chewy cookies, put them in the oven for a couple minutes less. Chinese New Year Cookies last several days in an airtight container, though that’s never an issue in my house.
For your own Chinese New Year’s party, serve with Hainanese Chicken, Pork Potstickers, and Fried Spring Rolls. While you’re celebrating the end of 2020 (again), be sure to rate this recipe and leave a comment down below, and of course show off your gorgeous Chinese Almond Cookies by tagging us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.
Chinese Almond Cookies
- 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) of all purpose flour
- 5 ounces (1 ½ cups) blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces butter (1 cup) softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- 1 egg yolk, whisked with a fork
- Preheat the oven to 350 and move the oven rack to the middle shelf.
- Whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl and set aside.
- In a stand up mixer or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium high speed (#6 or #8 on stand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, stopping and scraping the butter down a couple of times to make sure it is evenly whipped.
- Add the egg and the almond extract and mix in until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Your mixture should look like creamy, thick buttercream.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on the lowest setting until the dough just comes together, about 30 seconds. If there is a little bit of flour left unincorporated, you can mix it in by hand.
- Scoop out the dough with a cookie/ice cream scoop and place them on a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. I use a generous 3 tablespoon scoop, which makes nice oversized cookies. (If you want to use a smaller scoop, bake the cookies for a couple of minutes less.) You should yield about 20 cookies.
- Flatten the dough with the bottom of a glass. (I put a piece of plastic wrap under the glass first to keep the cookie dough from adhering to the glass.)
- Use a pastry brush (or a fork) and brush the cookies with the egg wash and then sprinkle the cookies with the slivered almonds.
- Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes until the cookies are a light golden brown around the edges. If you’re making smaller cookies, decrease the cooking time by 2-4 minutes.
- Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before storing them in a container. The cookies will keep fresh for several days.
*Make sure if you are scooping the flour, to stir the flour first and then scoop and level it off with a straight edge, like a butter knife.
*I’ve cooked these cookies for various amounts of time and decided the buttery flavor is best when there is a deep golden color around the edges. But this cookie is very forgiving and tastes good at all stages, soft and a little undercooked, a little golden, and deeply browned.
*This cookie dough freezes well. Scoop and then flatten the balls of dough. Freeze them on a tray in one layer until hard. Then put them in a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, brush the tops with egg yolk and sprinkle with nuts. You will need to cook them for a couple minutes longer but you can bake them straight from the freezer.