These Almond Cookies are quite light that melt ever so slightly in your mouth. I’ve added in toasted almonds for that added little crunch inside which works a treat. It’s very easy to make and great for Chinese New Year but of course who wouldn’t want this all year round.
Almond Cookies (adapted from With love, from Little Nyonya by Baba Philip Chia)
Makes: 50 cookies
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
100g icing sugar
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almond
1/4 tsp salt
150ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven at 175°C.
2. Place the slivered almonds onto a lined baking tray and bake for a 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly golden in colour and allow to cool.
3. Chop the slivered almonds into small pieces and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, plain flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground almonds and salt and mix together.
5. Add in the vegetable oil and vanilla essence to the dry mix and mix well until it is mostly all combined.
6. Mix in the chopped almonds until just combined.
7. Either roll out the dough and use cookie cutters or just use your hands/food gloves and take a tablespoon sized piece of dough and roll into a ball. Place onto a lined baking tray and flatten it gently.
8. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are slightly golden and cooked through.
When Chinese New Year comes along, it’s always the delight of receiving red packets and eating copious amounts of food and snacks. One of my favourite snacks is the melt-in-your-mouth Peanut Cookies and honestly it’s difficult to just stop at one. It’s also very easy to make with very few ingredients. I found a fantastic recipe by Alan Ooi in his book In Love With Cookies, which I do recommend taking a look at his book because there is a great number of yummy cookie recipes in there to try.
Peanut Cookies (by Alan Ooi)
Makes: 120 cookies
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
230g peanut oil
250g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
450g plain flour
2 egg yolks
1. Preheat oven to 165°C.
2. In a blender, grind the peanuts into a powder. Being careful not to over grind as it will turn into a soft paste.
3. Place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until well combined.
4. Divide the dough into small round pieces. Arrange in a baking tray and brush a layer of egg yolk on top of the cookies.
5. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown.
One of the popular Malaysian Chinese New Year snacks is the melt in your mouth peanut cookies. The green pea variation is a more recent creation but retains that melt in your mouth texture and lightness due to its use of oil instead of butter and a lovely roasted ground green pea flavour that is perfect as a slightly sweet and salty snack.
Green Pea Cookies (adapted from In Love With Cookies by Alan Ooi)
Makes: ~110 cookies
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
250g peanut oil
200g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt (optional if using Khao Shong Roasted Green Peas )
360g plain flour
350g ground green pea (390g ground roasted green pea/Khao Shong Roasted Green Peas)
2 Egg Yolks
1. Preheat oven to 165° C (329° F).
2. Ground the roasted green peas (if not already purchased grounded) in a food processor.
2. Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until well combined.
3. Roll the dough into balls. Arrange in a greased baking tray.
4. Brush the tops with egg yolk. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Once a year, in late January or early February, Chinese New Year comes along celebrating the next animal. Chinese New Year isn’t as extravagant in Australia but in recent years, the festivals in the Chinese dominated suburbs have gotten larger and larger. I have never experienced an “authentic” CNY in Malaysia, where my parents were born, but they have certainly tried to bring their Malaysian/Chinese culture to Australia. One of the things I love doing is making treats and snacks to celebrate CNY and one of the tastiest treats is the Dragon Cookies. These cookies are so light, it should practically melt in your mouth as soon as you put it in there! It should be crispy and easy to break. It has such a pleasant, slightly buttery flavour but I can’t really describe it. All I know is, it tastes good. Check out the recipe from Home-made Cakes & Pastries – The Best of Patsie Cheong, it’s so easy to make!
150g Icing Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 Egg White
30g Milk Powder
60g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1. Place the softened butter, icing sugar and eggs (yolks and white) in a bowl.
2. Beat until creamy and light.
3. Slowly stir in the sifted cornflour, milk powder, plain flour and then stir in the vanilla essence.
4. Put it in a piping bag and press out the pattern. This mixture can get quite soft if it’s humid, so it’s best to do this part quickly.
5. Put in oven, bake at 150C for 15 mins or until hard all the way through. (Should come out light yellow in colour) Leave to cool.
This is a really simple recipe, but the “Dragon Cookies” can be easily to overcook if you don’t keep watch of them in the oven. As you can see, a few of mine are a tad too golden brown. However, they still taste good, it’s just doesn’t melt in your mouth as well. I have made this every year for the past couple years, and if you have kids it’s great fun for them to pipe and try different shapes, letters, or anything you can think of.
Pineapple Tarts are one of my favourite Chinese New Year treats. That’s not to say you can’t have it any other time of year but these bite sized pieces are even more joyous in times of celebration. I’ve always loved the sweet and slightly sour pineapple filling with the buttery dough that melts in your mouth. Also these tarts come it various sizes or shapes that always makes it more appealing.
Probably every year we try those home made Pineapple Tarts sold in your typical local Asian Grocer and it’s always a tad too sweet and the tart isn’t as soft as I would have liked. So I have wanted to try to make my own tarts for ages but the thought of making the filling just seemed like too much effort.
However, It just so happened we ended up having large, old pineapples sitting around so what else could we use it for but pineapple jam? My mother was the one wh actually made the jam, just from adding pineapples into a pot and letting it dry up and adding sugar so I don’t know the exact quantities she used, I think just tasting as she went along and added sugar when needed. However, I’ve provided a recipe from one of my favourite Asian/Malaysian Food websites, Rasa Malaysia for the filling and pastry. We did use the pastry recipe from there and I think it worked out quite well, you can read my impressions further down.
4 large pineapples
300 g sugar
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
250 g liquid glucose
2 Tbsp wheat flour or wheat starch (Tung Mein Fun)
1. Slice and grate pineapples till fine. You can use a food processor do grate it.
2. Strain the grated pineapple till dry.
3. Let it simmer in a wok toll the juice has dry up. Add sugar and, star anise, cinnamon stick and clove.
4. Stir till the pineapple has thickened and dry. Add maltose or liquid glucose.
5. Stir till the pineapple filling is thick, sticky and dry.
6. Add wheat flour. Continue to stir for about 10 minutes or until filling is dry.
7. Leave to cool and shape into small balls.
Note : You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate it.
500 g butter
140 g powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
650 g all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk plus 1Tbsp water
- Preheat oven at 150° C.
- Cream butter and sugar till white.
- Add in egg yolks and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
- Fold in flour gradually.
- Insert pastry into cookie press and press into strip of about 3 inch each. (Or just take a small spoonful of the pastry, flatten it and take another spoonful of the jam and use your hands to shape it into a ball)
- Put the rolled pineapple filling onto the pastry and roll it up.
- Brush with egg brush.
- Bake for 30 minutes or when tarts is light golden brown in color.
You can shape these tarts any way you want, and as mentioned in the Rasa Malaysia recipe, they roll it up like a sausage roll of sorts. We stuck to the ball method and just used a fork or a toothpick to engrave the lines on to make it look more like a pineapple.
You can also use a mold designed for these tarts and they come in various shapes like a flower or hearts. I’ve purchase one from Brown Cookie but for since this particular dough is quite soft it gets quite difficult to remove from the mold.
The pastry recipe is surprisingly very good as just how I like it! It’s soft and simply melts in your mouth as you take a bite. I’ve actually made this a number of times since my mother had made an enormous quantity of pineapple jam.
It really does depend on how you like your pineapple tarts, some like the shortbread style tarts that are slightly harder and crisper but I’m a big fan of these softer tarts. If you’re like me and prefer these ones, this is a great recipe to try.