Almond is not just a delicious nut we can have as a snack, it's also one of the most used ingredients in all kinds of cookies, cakes and other sweet treats. In this case, Chinese Almond Cookies which are beautifully simple, crisp, buttery, and full of almond flavour.
Don't be fooled by the name, Chinese almond cookies can be found all around the world, and there are many similar versions by appearance involving almonds. There are Spanish almendrados, qurabiya (a shortbread biscuit made with almonds), and even Turkish acıbadem kurabiyesi. For now, let's focus on the Chinese almond cookies and what makes them so delicious.
As some other treats originating from China, this biscuit also has a special good luck component attached to it. Literally, because this is a cookie with an almond embedded in the centre which represents said good luck, and cookies symbolize coins. Yes, fortune cookies, move over – almond cookies are a perfect dessert to an Asian inspired meal.
When it comes to main characteristics, the cookie itself is dry, crispy, and sweet - originally known as a walnut cookie in China which first appeared in the 16th century. Few treats have such a long and rich history.
The recipe was first created in the emperor’s palace, where it was considered a royalty cookie. However, when the recipe later became available to the commoners, it was so popular that some will even call the Chinese walnut cookie (its original form) a National Cookie. There is even a National Chinese Almond Cookie Day celebrated on April 9th and is now a trademark in Chinese-American cooking since it was brought to America with the immigrants in the 19th century. It was typically served during Chinese New Year but now it's available year-round.
It's not used just to satisfy a sweet tooth... In some Chinese restaurants, they are served to cleanse the palate after several courses, rather than being regarded as a dessert. Basic Chinese Almond Cookie recipe includes flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, butter, egg, almond extract, whole almonds with optional other nuts, lard, egg yolk, grounded almond, and corn-starch. These cookies were traditionally made with lard in China, but nowadays it's most often replaced with butter. It all comes down to personal preference when we mostly have an easy access to all ingredients.
If you're interested in making your own Chinese almond cookies, be sure to check out these recipes. For a special taste, you can pair them with ice cream as an easy holiday dessert or simply with a cup of coffee or tea. And don't forget to celebrate the next April 9th with a fresh batch of these delicious treats. Enjoy!