Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese almond cookies (Happy Chinese New Year!)

Happy Chinese New Year!  I normally don't make a big deal out of Chinese New Year at home but wanted to bake up something sweet this year to help celebrate.  In case you're wondering, I am planning on making chicken lo mein (the noodles representing a long life).  Chicken is another traditional dish to serve during the Chinese New Year, but I am taking a shortcut instead by incorporating it into the noodles.

I wanted to create a Chinese dessert to add to our menu and wanted it to be "normal" enough that any leftovers could be given away to friends and coworkers. I came across these Chinese almond cookies on House of Annie and wanted to try them out.

The resulting cookies are a tad oily but have a beautiful texture. The outsides are slightly crisp, while the inside of the cookie is light and fluffy.  I used a good quality almond extract and added a bit extra so make the almond flavor come through, and it definitely did. Next time I might cut down on the oil a bit.

新年快樂!

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 cup Crisco shortening (Crisco really is the best brand for this but if you cannot find it, just any shortening will do, and don’t substitute with butter or you will not get the texture right)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola but any vegetable oil will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp almond extract
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift flour, salt and baking soda (I don't usually sift dry ingredients but Annie recommends it so the texture turns out right. I sifted my ingredients this time.).

Combine all the ingredients and mix till it forms a dough. (I used a stand mixer to mix it all together. I started by creaming the shortening with the sugar, and then I added the oil, egg, almond extract and dry ingredients).

Roll the dough into balls about the size of large marbles. (I used a medium cookie scoop to keep everything uniform)

Place them on cookie sheets about one and a half inches apart.

Indent the center of the cookie using the back of a chopstick that has been dipped into red food coloring. 

Press down about halfway through the thickness of the cookie. Alternately, you can put a half slice of almond in the center in place of the red food coloring. (I did not add almond slices to mine)

Bake 10-15 minutes till the cookies are just lightly golden brown around the edges. (Mine baked for 10 minutes)

Transfer to wire rack and cool.

Yield: Annie says the recipe makes 5 dozen cookies, but when I used a medium cookie scoop, I got about 30-31 cookies.

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3 comments:

  1. Great job! I will link to this page from our Facebook Fan Page.

    Cheers!

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  2. These look fantastic and look like the ones my popo and I would grab from Chinatown when I was growing up! I would like to make them but you had made a note that they came out a tad bit oily and that you would use less oil next time. How much less do you think? Or would that be something I'd need to play around with. Probably the latter but if you have made them since, could you leave a comment as to how much less you used? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Charlotte! That is cool that you and your popo would buy these in Chinatown. I have not made these again but would start by decreasing the oil and/or the shortening a tablespoon at a time. If the batter looks too dry, you can add more oil or shortening little by little. Hope that helps and let me know how they turn out!

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