Chinese Almond Cookies

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on July 30, 2011

 

I’ve searched high and low for a good Chinese almond cookie recipe with no luck. The problem with trying many of these recipes only to find that they did not turn out as expected, is that the ingredients are so costly…especially if you are using ground almonds or almond flour (otherwise known as almond meal). Most recipes that I have come across use almond flour…but the almond taste was not pronounced enough for me unless you add a good quality almond extract. So I decided to take on the challenge but instead of using almond flour, I decided to use almond paste. As a result I came up with a winning recipe!

The recipe is very easy to put together and has great almond flavor without being overpowering. The consistency is perfect and you can either pipe out the batter or scoop it out for better portion control. Eat them as is or make little sandwiches with your favorite jam or other filling. I made a few with some of my delicious chocolate frosting and everyone swooned.

These should definitely be on your Holiday baking list. They are crispy on the outside and remain soft inside. You can control the texture profile, so if you prefer your cookies crisper, just use 2 teaspoons of baking powder and if you prefer them softer, use 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Another key for a delicious cookie is to make sure to use a soft, fresh almond paste (not marzipan which is for decorative purposes).

If you have almond paste left over, wrap it well in plastic and store it in the freezer. If you leave it out or store it in the refrigerator it will dry out over time.

One last note, the traditional cookies are brushed with a beaten egg before baking which gives them a golden sheen on top. If you prefer to go the traditional route, increase the granulated sugar in the recipe to 3 oz. If you are going to dust them with powdered sugar as I did, leave the recipe as is, unless you prefer a sweeter cookie.

Chinese Almond Cookies (makes about 2 dozen cookies)

4 oz almond paste

2.5 oz granulated sugar (or increase to 3 oz for a sweeter cookie)

4 oz salted butter (1 stick, softened)

1 egg yolk (.6 oz)

2 egg whites (2 oz)

5.5 oz flour (1 cup plus 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Sliced or slivered almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting

1 beaten egg ***optional to brush on dough before baking

Chocolate frosting ***optional for sandwich cookies

Jam of your choice***optional for sandwich cookies

Cut the almond paste into small pieces and add this and the sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to begin incorporating the sugar and the almond paste together. When ready, it will resemble a coarse meal. Next add the softened butter and mix well until all the butter is incorporated.

Add the egg yolk and the whites to a small bowl and then add this to the mixture. Put all of your dry ingredients into a separate bowl and add into the wet ingredients. The mixture can be scooped or piped and is very easy to work with.

I prefer to scoop them because of the portion control and because they all bake evenly. If you are putting a piece of almond on top of each one you can do it now before you bake them. This mixture can also be pre-scooped and frozen. When ready to bake, just take the balls of dough from the freezer, place on a parchment lined sheet pan and follow the same baking directions. If you are going to make the more traditional looking version, make sure to brush on the beaten egg with a pastry brush before baking. Bake them for approximately 10-12 minutes at 350°F until they just begin to take on a little color. If you like them a little crisper you can bake them a little longer. I put some almonds on the ones that I dusted with powdered sugar, but I the ones I made into sandwiches with chocolate frosting were made without almonds.

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