Chinese Almond Cookies are classic Chinese restaurant cookies with a light texture that are almond flavored with a blanched almond baked on top.
April 9th is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day. Celebrate by baking Chinese Almond Cookies, of course! You can also go out to your favorite Chinese food restaurant and order cookies for dessert. Share your cookies on social media by using the hashtag #NationalChineseAlmondCookieDay or #ChineseAlmondCookieDay.
History of Chinese Almond Cookies:
It’s possible that Chinese Almond Cookies were adapted from Chinese walnut cookies, a similar cookie with a walnut baked in the middle (dating back to 16th century China). The walnut cookie was first created during the Ming Dynasty in the emperor’s palace, and it was considered a royalty cookie.
It is thought that these cookies were brought to America by Chinese immigrants either in the mid 1800’s or early 1900’s. They are commonly baked, eaten and given as gifts during Chinese New Year but they are also available all year long.
How to make Chinese Almond Cookies:
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Use a pastry blender to cut butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
In a separate bowl, almond and vanilla extracts are combine with one whole egg plus an egg yolk. Then the wet ingredients are stirred into the dry ingredients until the dough comes together.
The dough is rolled into balls and placed onto a baking sheet. Use a glass to press down the dough. A blanched almond is pressed into the center of each round of dough.
The cookies are baked for about 16 minutes at a lower heat – 325 degrees F.
How to blanch almonds:
If you cannot find almonds that are already blanched, it’s very easy to blanch your own. Bring a little bit of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the whole almonds to the water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain the almonds, rinse with cold water, and move them to a paper towel. Place an almond between your fingers and gently squeeze to remove the skin. Repeat with all of the almonds. Then you’ll have blanched almonds!
Fun Facts about Chinese Almond Cookies:
- They were once made with lard in China. Nowadays, the lard has been replaced with butter.
- The original Chinese Almond Cookie (or “biscuit”) was made with ground mung bean. It didn’t even have any almond in it, but it was called an almond biscuit because of almond shape.
- The almond in the center of the cookie is thought to bring good luck and the round shape symbolizes coins.
- In some Chinese restaurants, these cookies are served to cleanse the palate, rather than as a dessert.
- They have been declared “as Chinese as blueberry pie.”
- These cookies have become a staple in Chinese-American cooking.
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 24 blanched almonds (see notes below)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Cut the cold butter into cubes, then use a pastry blender to cut the cubes into the dry ingredients until it’s evenly crumbly.
In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and almond extract with the egg and egg yolk. Stir together.
Sprinkle the egg mixture over the dry ingredients, then stir until the dough comes together and will hold together when squeezed. Roll the dough into 1 ½ -inch balls, then place them on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass to ½-inch thickness. Press a blanched almond in the center of each cookie.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes, until they feel set (a fingerprint will remain when pressed). If you bake them until totally set (fingerprint springs back), they’ll be rock hard. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
How to blanch almonds: Bring a little bit of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the whole almonds to the water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain the almonds, rinse with cold water, and move them to a paper towel. Place an almond between your fingers and gently squeeze to remove the skin. Repeat with all of the almonds. Then you'll have blanched almonds!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is estimated using a nutrition calculator.