The yellow color comes from an egg wash. Chinese Almond Cookies. Photo © Andrea Skjold | Dreamstime
Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe
Better Than The Restaurant Version
The history of the Chinese almond cookie is unclear. Like chop suey and fortune cookies, it appears to have originated after the first wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S. in he mid-1800s. There is no record of almond cookies prior to the early 1900s. (Here’s the history, and a recipe for, fortune cookies.)
Some say the Chinese almond cookie is adapted from the Chinese walnut cookie, a plain cookie with a walnut in the center, which was thought to bring good luck. Also called an almond biscuit or almond cake, today it is found in bakeries in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, as well as Chinatowns in cities worldwide.
Here are two recipes for Chinese almond cookies. By the way, National Chinese Almond Cookie Day is April 9th.
Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe #1
This recipe is adapted from Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable, by Anita Chu. It will be superior in taste to most restaurant cookies and packaged cookies, which typically contain a less expensive shortening than butter. This recipe does not contain almond extract, so it is more of a butter cookie with an almond garnish.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1-½ teaspoons almond extract
- 3 dozen whole almonds (about 1/3 pound; we like raw almonds,
but you can use roasted almonds)
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add the egg and almond extract, and mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined
- Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and form into a disk. Cover dough and refrigerate for about 20 minutes until firm.
- Grease several cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on sheets about one inch apart. Flatten them with the palm of your hand.
- Place an almond in the center of each ball of dough. Brush a little of the egg wash over the top of each cookie.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through. The cookies will start to turn golden at the edges when done.
- Cool cookie sheets on wire racks for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.
Store in an airtight container.
Here’s another recipe that makes a cookie with more almond flavor:
Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe #2
This recipe is adapted from a now-closed Chinese restaurant of our youth. It makes about 30 cookies.
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup almonds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large or jumbo egg, whole
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large or jumbo egg, beaten for egg wash
- 3 dozen whole almonds (one for each cookie)
- Preheat to 325°F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening and sugar.
- Add the egg, water and almond extract; blend well.
- Slowly beat in the flour mixture. The dough will become very thick.
- Roll into into one-inch-diameter balls and place one inch apart on a baking sheet.
- Place an almond in the center of each cookie and press down lightly with your hand.
- Brush each cookie lightly with the beaten egg .
- Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven.
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