Sunday, November 8, 2009
Chinese-Style Almond Cookies
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Almost everyone is familiar with the almond cookies that are served in Chinese restaurants. Did you know they are not Chinese? They originated in the West, and while they have been adopted by the Chinese, they are a creation of American-Chinese restaurants that spread, with affluence, back to the East. While they love sweetness, the Chinese are more likely to combine sweet with savory rather than serve a separate course of each. These days you will find Chinese bakeries and the desserts they sell are a testament to the ready acceptance of sweets by the Chinese people. The bakeries are important because most Chinese homes don't have an oven, so they can't do their own baking. I'm not the person you want to teach you the ins and outs of moon cakes, but I can walk you through the very simple steps required to make Chinese-style almond cookies. This is a lovely recipe to have in your arsenal and the cookies are truly simple to make. The recipe was created by Nancie McDermott. Here's how it's done.
Chinese Almond Cookies...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspooon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperatue
6 tablespoons shortening
1 large egg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
16 to 32 whole almonds, with or without skins
1) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk or sift to combine. Set aside.
2) Combine butter, shortening, egg, sugar and almond extract in another medium-sized bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until all ingredients are combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3) Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until everything comes together into a smooth dough. Dough is easier to shape when cold. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5) Divide dough into two cylinders. If you opt to make 16 large cookies, roll each cylinder to a diameter of 2 inches. To make 32 smaller cookies, roll each cylinder to a diameter of 1-1/4 inches. Cut each cylinder into rounds and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, positioning them about 2-inches apart. Press a whole almond into center of each cookie.
4) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets. When completely cool transfer to a serving dish or an airtight container. Yield 16 large or 32 small cookies.
Other recipes for Chinese-style almond cookies can be found at:
About.Com: Chinese Food - Chinese Almond Cookies
Sunset: Chinese Almond Cookies
Appetite for China: Chinese Almond Cookies