Chinese New Year is this week. This year is the year of the Horse. Now, I’m not Chinese but I am all about celebrating any holiday that involves good cuisine, plus I think their zodiac characteristics are interesting. I was born in the year of the Sheep. Supposedly that means I’m wise, gentle, and compassionate (hopefully true) but also a worrier (definitely true) and weak-willed and puzzled about life (not true at all, I’m fairly outspoken and very determined and driven). My baby was born in the year of the Dragon. Apparently this has a high reputation in Chinese culture and I hope for him, that this bodes well for his future success.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while (well it’s only been around for 3 months so no one has been reading it for a long while), you may have noticed that I post a lot of recipes featuring Asian style ingredients and flavors. We are huge fans of the varied cuisines from all across Asia and since having a baby we don’t get out quite as much as we used to so we try to replicate these meals at home. One thing I miss about the Chinese buffets we used to eat at from time to time was the almond cookies for dessert. After a heavy meals, the almond flavored cookies always hit the spot. They’re less bland than fortune cookies but aren’t overly filling to tip you over from pleasantly full to overstuffed, as can so easily happen at a buffet. These homemade cookies are a bit cakier than those at the buffets however they’re still nice and crispy.
I’m celebrating the Chinese New Year with a batch of these Almond Cookies. And maybe some Lo Mein or Asian Glazed Chicken Wings while I ponder my fate after being born in the Year of the Sheep. Under what Chinese zodiac sign were you born under? Do the characteristics fit?
Chinese Almond Cookies (adapted from Great Cookies)
Yield: approximately 40 cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
40 whole blanched almonds (about 1/3 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the shortening and 3/4 cup sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine, then add the almond extract.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until combined.
5. Place rounded walnut-sized balls of dough (heaping teaspoonfuls) onto the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with your palm to make a 1 1/2 inch round.
6. Brush the cookies with the egg white and water wash. Top with a blanched almond and lightly sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Per cookie: 88 calories, 5 grams fat (calculated from myfitnesspal.com; all nutrition information is approximate)