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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe

These Chinese almond cookies are way better than any restaurant cookie. Flaky-crumbly, yummy, and impossible to resist.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Almond Cookies - copyright House of Annie
Updated 20 Dec 2009
Originally posted 14 March 2007
The first time I ever had these almond cookies was when I received them as a favor for my bridal shower. They were so delicious I literally inhaled those cookies! Aunty Charlene (sister to Aunty Marlene, who gave me that wonderful banana muffin recipe) told me that she got the recipe from her dad a long time ago. Thankfully, she was willing to share her recipe with me and since that time, I’ve made it for countless occasions. I even use them as favors at my kids’ birthday parties now (talk about coming full circle!).

Catching Up

It was through one of these birthday parties that our good friend J and her kids got to try my almond cookies. She has been asking me for the recipe for a long while and I kept meaning to put it up but somehow just never got around to it. The good news is we actually got to bake these almond cookies with J’s kids before we left San Jose. So even though that was a few months’ back and I still had not posted the recipe, at least she got a hard copy of it. (Sorry J for taking so long!)
This almond cookie recipe is very kid-friendly! You basically dump all the ingredients into your mixer, mix till you get a dough, roll them into balls and press down the center with some food coloring. Bake, and tadah! Beautiful cookies.

Beautiful, Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese almond cookies
What I love about this almond cookie is how flaky and yummy they are. The other almond cookie recipe we posted recently is also wonderful but they are chewy and quite sweet. This one is a Chinese Almond Cookie so if you have Asian tastebuds like me and like to have your sweets, well…less sweet, this is the cookie for you. Also, if you’re Chinese (read: pake) like me, this one is the cheaper cookie to bake up. Tee hee! ^_^
And here is the most amazing thing—even though this is an Almond cookie, you don’t actually need to put any almonds in it at all. If you use imitation almond essence (I can’t believe I’m saying this), for all the nut-allergy people in your midst, this could be totally friendly for them. I have a friend who is deathly allergic to nuts and I’ve served him this cookie with no problems (when I use that “fake” almond flavoring).
Of course, if you don’t have any allergy issues, I’d say go with the real almond extract and substitute some of the flour with almond meal. That would kick up the almond flavor big time.

Pure Almond Extract

Pure Almond Extract
Either ways, you can’t really go wrong. The cookie is super delicious and crumbly in texture. It reminds me of another Chinese cookie known as Hup Toh Soh (maybe it’s even the same one and this is just the name it’s known as here in Malaysia).
Try this Chinese almond cookie recipe and let me know if you can stop at just one. I’ve never been able to eat just one at a go. It’s that good.

Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe

makes about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup Crisco shortening (Crisco really is the best brand for this but if you cannot find it, just any shortening will do, and don’t substitute with butter or you will not get the texture right)
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola but any vegetable oil will do)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
2. Sift flour, salt and baking soda (sometimes I get lazy and don’t do this step but it does help the cookie bake up better).
3. Combine all the ingredients and mix till it forms a dough.
4. Roll the dough into balls about the size of large marbles
5. Place them on cookie sheets about one and a half inches apart.
6. Indent the center of the cookie using the back of a chopstick that has been dipped into red food coloring. Press down about halfway through the thickness of the cookie. Alternately, you can put a half slice of almond in the center in place of the red food coloring.

Chinese Almond Cookies Ready to Bake

Chinese Almond Cookies ready to bake
7. Bake 10-15 minutes till the cookies are just lightly golden brown around the edges.
8. Transfer to wire rack and cool.

Chinese Almond Cookies Ready to Eat

Chinese Almond Cookies 2
Cheers, Annie
What cookies are you baking up this holiday season? Leave a comment and tell us about it!


Rachel Cotterill said...

They sound gorgeous, I've saved the recipe and will have a go in the new year :)

Wendy said...

They look nice, very authentic!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Bob said...

I love almond cookies, the ones I have seen always have the almond half in it.

momgateway said...

Never had Chinese Almond Cookies before but they sure look so yummy... I'll try to make it when I get hold of Crisco.

Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 said...

Your Chinese Almond Cookies looks gorgeous, I have not baked Chinese Cookies myself. Gotta try one day too! Happy C'mas and New Year!

Stephanie said...

They look awesome, but I am kind of concerned about the Crisco, as it is partially hydrogenated. Is there any other natural fat you can use in it aside from butter? Maybe coconut oil?

Annie said...

stephanie--yeah, I understand the concern but that's the only way to get that really flaky, crumbly texture. I don't know but maybe palm oil might work too...but then there are concerns with that as well. I think coconut oil is too strongly flavored to work. Oh...lard is probably a good substitute if you don't mind the saturated fat!

Carolyn Jung said...

Ahh, the chopstick trick! I was wondering how you got that red stamp in the center. Very clever.

My Dwelling Place .... said...

Thanks for the recipe will try to bake since Chinese New Year is round the corner. However, if would like to add some ground almond how much do you think I should put so that I still can enjoy the Flaky-crumbly texture.

Dreamz said...

It feels so Chinese New Year :)

Annie said...

Ong--I think if you are planning to incorporate almond meal, try replacing 1/3 of the flour with it. Let me know if that works for you.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Rachel - great! Let us know how they turn out for you!

@Wendy - Merry Christmas to you and yours!

@Bob - with or without almonds, I love these cookies.

@momgateway - hope you get to try them soon!

@Janet - Merry Christmas! Please do try making them.

@Carolyn - is there any other way? ;-)

@Dreamz - we'll have more baked goodies for CNY. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, your almond cookies look so delicious and tempting to me. I would really love to try this up. Are you able to advise me half cup of shortening is equivalent to how many gram? thks

petsforlife said...

hi Annie.
I have tried everywhere to get the almond extract but non of the bakery ingredient supply shop nor the supermarket sells it... I am so upset :(

Does the Almond Essence (small bottle just like the colouring type) works for your recipe? Please advise me.

petsforlife said...

Hi Annie, I made some of these cookies before CNY and daring enough to incorporated 1 cup of ground almond. The cookies are flaky-crunchy. The bites texture similiar to Famous Amos cookies.. to me is hard. (Flaky must be due to the power of shortening... i recon) Wondering if I have made them wrongly? Eventhough is too crispy for me... But everyone else seem to love it! I imagined that yours are Flaky-melts in the mouth! Pure Vanilla Exract is certainly difficult to find in Kuala Lumpur but I managed to find a small bottle (71ml) in Cold Storage(Mc-Cormick) for RM22.90.

I will try without the ground almond... Thanks for sharing the recipe. Next up will be trying The Italian Almond Macaroons ^ ^