Amongst my favorite Chinese New Year goodies, almond and peanut cookies vie for top place. I love their nutty crunch, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and most of all, their craggy looks (yes, I have a thing for deceptive looks). No one will mistake these cookies to be beautiful works of art, with their crackly tops, uneven, almost lumpy surface and pale beige color. But beneath the plain facade lies a impressive treat, meltingly rich and aromatic. I love this recipe because not only do you have ground almonds in the batter, but there are roasted almonds bits in it as well, providing some sublime crunch with every bite. Make sure to use corn oil, as opposed to plain vegetable or groundnut oil because you need a neutral oil with no distinctive scent so that the fragrance of the almonds can really shine through.
(makes about 55 cookies)
150g self-raising flour
80g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
110g corn oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
80g almonds, roast, cool and grind to a fine powder
40g almonds, roast, cool and chop finely
milk/ egg wash (mix together 1 egg yolk/ t tbsp milk and 1 tsp water)
1. Sift together flour, icing sugar, salt and baking soda into a large bowl.
2. Stir ground and chopped almonds into flour mixture.
3. Using a spoon or your hands, stir in oil and vanilla until mixture forms a soft ball of dough.
4. Pinch off teaspoonfuls of dough and roll into small balls. Place on baking sheet and flatted slightly. Alternatively, to get a uniform shape, you can mould the dough in a bottle cap. Line the cavity of a bottle cap with cling wrap and press dough into the cavity until it is level with the top of the cap. Pull out the cling wrap to release the dough. Place moulded cookie onto a baking tray.
5. Brush cookies with egg/ milk wash and bake at 170C for about 15 minutes until the cookie tops have dried out and the bottoms are golden brown.