One of the perks of being Chinese (and there are many) is that I always get a little bit of a reboot when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Oh, did I not go to the gym once in January? And did I spend just as much on my credit card last month as the month before? Not to worry, a new New Year is here! The last few weeks were just, uh, practice.
Yes, the Chinese New Year brings with it a renewed sense of hope and resolve, but not without a little fine-tuning of the ol’ resolutions list. This time of year, I always find myself reevaluating what I have on there, and often manage to cross a couple of things off (join a yoga studio? yeah right). Rarely do I ever add to the list, but after being home with my parents, where for the first time I found myself turning down our usual restaurant outings in favor of home-cooked meals, I’ve decided to make learning to cook Chinese food a priority.
Playing to my strengths, I started with dessert and tackled almond cookies, a personal favorite, and a great success. My mom insists they’re better than the ones served at restaurants, proving once again that staying in was the right choice.
The team: almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, unsalted butter, baking soda, eggs, a pinch of salt, almond slices and almond extract.
I love love love almond extract. Using more of it was one of my original 2014 resolutions, and it’s safe to say that it’s won a coveted spot on list 2.0 as well.
To make the cookies, combine almond flour, butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on low speed until the mixture is combined. Thanks to the almond meal, what you’ll see in the stand mixer will be a little coarser than what you’re used to.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the trifecta of cookie ingredients: regular flour, sugar, and baking soda. Set it aside.
Next, add one of the eggs and the almond extract to the contents of the stand mixer and beat together until just incorporated.
Once that’s ready, gradually add the flour mixture to what’s in the stand mixer and mix until combined. There need to be more words for the word mix.
And like any good shortbread or pie crust recipe, transfer the cookie dough to a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a disc, and wrap it up and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Once you’re ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and have a pastry brush handy.
Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and begin forming balls about 1-inch wide. Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart and gently press each one down with the palms of your hands and flatten into discs.
Next, brush the tops of the cookies generously with the egg wash, and place an almond sliver on top of each one.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the egg-washed tops turn a nice golden color. If they’re not quite to the shade of your liking, keep them in the oven a little longer, but make sure to keep an eye on the edges of the cookies. If the cookies are on the verge of burning, that’s where it’ll show first.
Remove them from the oven and enjoy!
What you’ll be left with are fragrant, crunchy and buttery Chinese cookies, quickly followed by a plate full of crumbs.
I’m taking a few back to DC with me this afternoon, because there’s nothing quite like getting over a Super Bowl beating than with a face full of cookies.
- 1⅓ cup almond flour, lightly packed
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Sliced almonds
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine almond flour, butter, and salt. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes or until the mixture is combined.
- Next, add one of the eggs and the almond extract. Beat together until just incorporated.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda.
- Gradually add flour mixture to the ingredients in the stand mixer. Mix until combined.
- Transfer cookie dough to a piece of plastic wrap and form the dough into a disc. Wrap dough up and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Once you're ready to start baking, preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and have a pastry brush handy.
- Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and begin forming balls about 1-inch wide.
- Place dough balls on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart and gently press each one down with your palms and flatten into discs.
- Next, brush the tops of the cookies generously with the egg wash, and place an almond sliver on top. Press the almond in gently to make sure it stays.
- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the egg-washed cookies turn a golden color.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool some more.
- Makes 3 dozen almond cookies.
- The finished product can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.