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Friday, March 22, 2013

Experiment #23: Chinese Almond Cookies

Every year, my extended family gets together to celebrate Chinese New Year.  This year we are celebrating late and so this is way past the Chinese New Year, which was Sunday February 10th.  For the past several years as our family has gotten bigger, our Chinese New Year Celebrations have become potlucks.  I decided that this year I would bring Chinese Almond Cookies.

I can't remember exactly when it was, but I made Almond cookies a few years ago.  The recipe escapes me and now I can't remember how I modified the recipe.  This year I will take good notes.

The recipe I though I used a few years ago was from Cooking for Engineers.  When looking for the recipe again, I realized this was not exactly right.  The recipe for Almond cookies on the Cooking for Engineers web-site contains shortening, an ingredient that is pretty typical of most Chinese Almond Cookies.  I knew this was not the recipe I used since I stopped using shortening many many years ago. So with some more web searching I found the recipe that I had used.  It comes from the Use Real Butter blog and it was adapted from the Cooking for Engineers web-site.  So, I remembered partially right where I got the recipe before.

I adapted the recipe a few years ago and again I can't remember the exact modifications, but I most likely reduced the sugar.  I can't imagine doing anything else to this recipe.  Adding whole wheat to these cookies might be an interesting experiment. I think I'll add a cup of whole wheat.  This recipe is a splurge recipe for sure.

Chinese Almond Cookies adapted from Use Real Butter adapted from Cooking for Engineers
2 cups flour
1 cup white whole what flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup ground almonds (I just used raw organic almonds and ground in a food processor)
12 oz. butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 oz. water
1 tsp. almond extract
42 whole almonds, blanched *See note

1 egg for egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling

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, place a few inches apart (for spreading) on a baking sheet.


Top each dough ball with half an almond and brush the top of the cookie with egg wash.

Preheat oven to 350F. (Depending on how fast your oven heats up.)
Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 minutes of baking time.

Makes 45 cookies.

*Note: I can never find organic blanched almonds.  So, I followed this easy way to blanch almonds.
Place almonds in a bowl.  Pour boiling water to barely cover almonds.  Let the almonds sit for 1 minute and no longer.  Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  Pat dry and slip the skins off.
(From web-site: http://homecooking.about.com/cs/atozfoodindex/ht/blanch_almonds.htm)

The cookies turned out very crumbly and buttery.  The white whole wheat was not noticeable.  I did think that I reduced the sugar too much, but I still enjoyed them.  I will definitely make these cookies again, but with more sugar and maybe more almond extract.

By the way, the Use Real Butter blog has great recipes and beautiful photos if you want to be inspired.

Link to recipe:
http://userealbutter.com/2011/01/23/chinese-almond-cookies-recipe/

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