Recipe: chinese almond cookies
I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. The fact that so many of you urged me to do what I felt was best for me even though it may not necessarily be the outcome you want says a lot about this readership – that you are all very caring and understanding people. That’s a great feeling for me to know that so many of you who visit this space are good folk. Thank you for being awesome.
The idea of leaving the blog has flitted in and out of the corners of my mind – but it’s usually only triggered when I have to post on deadline (and I’m trying hard to eliminate those) or when I drop a lens cap in cake batter and wonder why I bother with step-by-step process shots. I don’t want to quit blogging, but something has got to change.
we’ve had some impressive colors at sunset lately
and cool clouds too
I do not enjoy writing. I know this may seem surprising because blogging is writing, but I don’t write the way real writers write. I type what I’m thinking in my head and that is merely what I would be saying aloud if I didn’t shut my mouth. I talk. I never shut up. The only reason the blog exists is because I have reasonable typing skills to keep up with my motor mouth. But I do love cooking and photography and archiving and sharing. Writing consumes more time than I’d like because I try to edit my rambling thoughts into something coherent and maintain a fairly regular posting schedule. Without a regular posting schedule things begin to pile up and fall behind, snowballing into a big mess. That stresses me out. I’m OCD.
Anyone who blogs knows that it takes time. This blog, my archive of recipes and random stuff that goes on in my life, is a labor of love… but it’s still labor. I need to change things up on my end which may or may not become apparent here on the blog. I’m working to strike a balance in which I don’t allow use real butter to take time away from important stuff like time with loved ones, my health, my work (this is not my work), and my other passions. So when I said it’s me and not you, I wasn’t just saying it – I meant it. But it certainly isn’t my intention to break up with you… because I like you!
getting some turns in before work
impromptu lunch at l’atelier
As quickly as 2010 flew past me, I’m amazed that it’s still January. Actually, I’m happy that it’s still January and perhaps that is because I’m changing up how I prioritize. It’s also because I have an ass ton of things to get done. Typically, Chinese New Year sneaks up on me and I get all panicky. This year, I’m well aware of its approach and I’ve decided against hosting a big bash – mostly because I like
flour, almond flour, sugar, almond extract, egg, blanched almonds, baking soda, salt, butter
Just in case you live in a podunk town and can’t find blanched whole almonds at your local store, there’s an easy way to skin almonds yourself (assuming you have whole almonds). That was me a few days ago. Just boil up some water, toss the almonds in and let them sit for a minute or so, drain them and squeeze them out of their skin. Almonds are easy to skin. Pistachios and hazelnuts make me crazy.
mix dry ingredients
adding the water and egg to the butter and sugar
Most of the Chinese recipes for this cookie call for lard, which I didn’t have. Some recipes had all almond flour, others were all flour with chopped almond slivers, and then I found this recipe at Cooking for Engineers, one of the very first food blogs I started reading. Michael’s recipe not only called for almond flour AND flour, but had a butter option too. You know we’re all over the butter here.
pour in the dry ingredients
form dough balls
Michael must make larger cookies than I do because I made 42 and his yield was 24. Large cookies make me nervous because the potential for structural failure is high, so I like to keep mine to a reasonable size. Large cookies are also harder to package and gift. And if the cookie diameter is too big, it dwarfs that ornamental almond on top. I know… shut up, Jen.
each cookie gets an almond on top
brush with egg wash
This recipe worked without any tweaking and the cookies have just enough texture from the almond flour without being overly nutty. I’m biased about the flavor because I love almonds. These cookies aren’t fussy to make at all. So if you want to do your little bit of celebration for Chinese New Year, this is an easy cookie. Chinese New Year (year of the Rabbit) is Thursday, February 3, 2011. We typically celebrate with a big feast on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Just make sure the first thing you eat on Chinese New Year’s Day is sweet – so sweet things come out of your mouth all year!
better than the ones in the restaurants
Chinese Almond Cookies
from Cooking for Engineers
3 cups (375 g) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (60 g) almond flour (ground almonds)
12 oz. butter, softened
1 cup (210 g) sugar
1 oz. water
1 tsp almond extract
42 whole almonds, blanched
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground almonds together in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, water, and almond extract and beat until incorporated. Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Form 1-inch balls of cookie dough, placed a few inches apart (for spreading) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top each dough ball with an almond and brush the top of the cookie with egg wash. Now you can refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes, but I didn’t (lazy). If you do refrigerate the dough, the recipe calls for 20 minutes of baking time. Since I didn’t refrigerate my dough, I baked for 15 minutes and they were perfect. Makes about 42 cookies. (Michael’s recipe says 24, so I am guessing his cookies are a lot bigger than mine.)