Chinese New Year is right around the corner and its celebration wouldn’t be complete without these delightful almond cookies. These cookies are also commonly found in Chinese bakeries and restaurants.
It is believed that the almond cookie evolved from the ancient Chinese walnut cookie, which was thought to bring good luck. The almond cookie likely came to be in the 1800s-early 1900s when Chinese immigrants came to America and replaced the walnut with an almond.
Traditionally, this cookie is made with lard (from pork). This is because very few cattle are raised in China, so butter isn’t a common ingredient. However, pigs are commonly raised for food so pork fat (or lard) is used in place of butter. I decided to substitute the lard with butter and vegetable shortening. This recipe was inspired by this post.
Ingredients (24 cookies):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or vegetable oil)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/8 cup chopped almonds (or 24 whole almonds)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar.
3. When the butter mixture is well combined, add the egg and almond extract and beat until well blended.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix well.
5. Use your hands to form the mixture into a dough, then split the dough and form into 2 rolls about 10 inches long. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze for 10 minutes). This is so that it the dough will be easier to work with and mold.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Take a roll of dough and lightly score it at about 3/4 inch intervals so that you have 15 pieces then cut the dough.
8. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly greased cookie tray, approximately 1 1/2 inches apart.
9. Place an almond in the center of each cookie and press down lightly, or in my case I choose to use chopped almonds.
10. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush each cookie lightly with beaten egg before baking.
11. Bake for 15 minutes to 18 minutes, until golden brown.
12. Let cool on a wire rack, then serve with a cup of tea and enjoy!