With today being New Year's Eve, many are planning a party to see in 2013. Usually, the New Year's party is the grand finale of the holiday season and many like to make this party extra special. The Chinese New Year isn't until February 9th, but we can celebrate our new year in this country with a sweet treat that has an Oriental flair to it.
The recipe I'm passing along is for a cookie that would be a nice pick-up treat at a party you may be hosting or attending. "Chinese Almond Cookies" are rich cookies that are decorated with either an almond or have a red indention on the top. You can decorate them either of these two ways and they have an almond flavor, which comes from almond extract.
You'll see by the recipe that these cookies are mixed in a different way than most cookie recipes. Most cookies require creaming of the fat with sugar, followed by adding the eggs called for, then the dry ingredients. This one works like you're making pie crust. You being by mixing the dry ingredients, followed by cutting in the shortening. You then add the egg and flavoring, mixing to form a dough. From here, the dough is shaped into balls, then once placed on baking sheets and flattened, they can be decorated with a blanched almond. Or, for an eye-catching appearance, you can take a chopstick and dip the blunt end into red food coloring, then press into the top of each cookie. If you don't have a chopstick, I use a toothpick to give a similar effect. They are then ready for the oven.
To make these cookies extra special, serve them with some type of Oriental tea, such as jasmine. This will create a great conversation piece and would be fun to serve not just at New Year's, but you can serve these on February 9th, when the Chinese New Year is celebrated. They're enjoyable and make good eating, however you choose to serve them!
Speaking of the new year and resolutions, you may have decided to eat more healthy this coming year. I did an article last year on eating more vegetables for the new year. Here's the link to it, just in the event you missed it:
If you're going to a party tonight, please be safe and drink responsibly....and have fun with this interesting cookie!
CHINESE ALMOND COOKIES
- 3 C. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- 1-1/2 C. Shortening
- 1 Large Egg, beaten
- 1 Tsp. Almond Extract
- red food coloring or blanched almonds for decoration
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or a fork; with hands, work the dough in the bowl for 8-10 minutes (a heavy-duty stand mixer with a flat beater works well here); combine egg and almond extract and add to the mixture, mixing well; shape dough into balls the size of a walnut; place on ungreased baking sheets and make a depression on the top with your thumb; dip the blunt end of a chopstick or a small wooden spoon into red food coloring and press into the top of each cookie, or place a blanched almond in the center; bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes; remove from baking sheet and cool on cooling racks.