Did you know this past Friday was Chinese New Year?
Now that I’m away from home, I don’t do as much for Chinese New Year as I did when I was younger and living with my parents, but there are a few traditions I still try to follow.
Eat noodles for long life!
Don’t clean the house… it washes away all the good fortune.
They’re all a bit superstitious, but they’re tradition! Plus, any tradition telling me not to clean the house is an easy one to keep.
However, I have started a new tradition for myself and Trevor!
Chinese almond cookies.
The funny thing about making these cookies a tradition is I have no Chinese New Year associations with them.
In fact, I kind of hated these cookies as a kid.
I thought they were dry and too crumbly and not sweet enough and just sort of tasted like… nothing. Well, maybe like almonds.. a little.
But it was one of the few things at the Chinese supermarket that looked like a standard cookie. I loved all the more traditional looking Chinese baked goods as well, (I will absolutely eat a pile of coconut buns if you leave me alone with them) but in my childhood brain, cookie had to equal delicious, so somehow this fact was able to overwrite the fact that I actually didn’t like these cookies.
So every once in awhile, I would ask for them. Again… and again.
I would almost convince myself that I liked them simply because I had asked for them.
And thus, I had this odd relationship in my memories with these cookies. None of the memories were particularly… fond, but there were so many of them throughout my childhood that I was still oddly nostalgic about them.
So when Chinese New Year rolled around a few years ago and I wanted to make something for it, all the more traditional desserts sounded really intimidating.. and the almond cookie looked super easy to bake..
I had to give it a chance.
What did I discover? Now that I’m older and my tastes are more… refiiiined (hoity toity voice) I understand the beauty of a simpler treat!
Or rather, I don’t need all my desserts to taste like 50% sugar. And the “dry texture” is actually delightfully crumbly, not unlike a really good shortbread cookie.
Thus, new tradition!
All my traditions involve baking.
And I love it that way.
Chinese Almond Cookies
Recipe from Bread et Butter
- 100g ground almonds
- 150g all-purpose flour
- 100g powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 100ml corn oil, or other flavourless oil (you may need a little more/less oil depending on the climate you are in)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift together the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into bowl of your stand mixer.
- Add the ground almonds to the flour/sugar mixture.
- With your mixer on medium speed with the beater attachment, slowly trickle in the oil into the bowl containing the flour/sugar/almonds. Mix until a cohesive dough forms. (You may need more or less oil depending on the humidity/moisture levels – the aim is to reach a dough which is just able to hold it’s shape and doesn’t crumble when you attempt to roll it into a ball.)
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper/a silpat mat. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly glaze the tops of the cookie balls with the beaten egg yolk.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies become slightly golden.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.
Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.