And a very happy Chinese Almond Cookie day to you!
Yes, it’s a thing; today is officially recognised as the day for celebrating the greatness that is Chinese Almond cookies.
Because, no matter how strange, off beat, left field, or weird and wonderful a food may be, it is, after all, food and all food should be celebrated.
And what better way to show our happiness of food then to celebrate it with its own special day. Sure, a large slab of penuche may not be everyone’s cup of tea (like how, it’s basically fudge!?!?!) but, on July 23rd this enticing little sweet treat is celebrated as does Welsh Rarebit on September 3rd and Vichyssoise on November 18th.
Seriously, nearly ever single day in the year is a celebration of one food or another (hot tip: tomorrow is Cinnamon Crescent Day! )
But back to today. Today, April 9th, is the day of the Chinese almond cookie.
And it falls on a weekend, how perfect is that? The perfect excuse to wake up on a lazy Saturday morning and bake a batch of delicious almond cookies to snack on all weekend.
Bring on the almond cookies people!
NOT QUITE A TRADITIONAL RECIPE
When searching for a “traditional” Chinese almond cookie recipe for this post I quickly found that – just like any “traditional” recipe out there – the views on what constituted a “traditional” Chinese almond cookie were (putting it lightly) conflicted.
And when you’re considering a country that covers 9,596,961 km2 (making it the second largest country by land area, btw) of which is home to more than a billion people (of more than 52 distinct ethnic groups) it’s not difficult to see thow the make up of a Chinese Almnd Cooke would change from one place to another.
However, when using the mandarin term 杏仁餅, it seems to generally refer to these cookies which are eaten during lunar new year celebrations; given to friends and family as gifts. I’ve also seen them referred to as a palette cleanser between meal courses.
However, seeing as Chinese Almond Cookie day comes around after Lunar New Year I think the celebration can include any Chinese cookie that bears at least a hint of almond-iness about it (one recipe I found could only be identified as an almond cookie by the single almond placed in the centre!)
And that is what I have done. Using this delicious little recipe as my starting point and going for a sweet butter-cookie style that is just bursting with almond goodness.
I have, of course, tweaked it a little; I have replaced the processed sugar with a more “health conscious” maple syrup which pairs with the almonds brilliantly.
And there it is, a very quick and simple cookie recipe that will certainly keep your weekend sweet snacking cravings happy all weekend long!
Recipe Adapted from these Chinese Almond Cookies
Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe
Prep Time: 45 mins || Cook Time: 15 mins || Makes: 10 – 16 cookies
- 150g Butter, melted and cooled
- 250ml Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 350g Plain flour, sifted
- 100g Almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Whole almonds for decoration
- Whisk together the butter, maple syrup and almond extract. Add the egg and whisk until combined. And the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt and stir together until a cookie dough forms, adding a little more flour iff necessary (the cookie dough should be a little sticky and shouldn’t hold it’s shape too easily).
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F
- Remove the cookie dough from the fridge. Scope out a piece of cookie dough – Using 1/4 cup measures for large cookies (makes about 12 to 15) or tablespoon measures for small cookies (will make between 24 and 30 cookies) – and roll between your hands to form a ball.
- Place the cookie ball on a lined baking sheet and press lightly with the palm of your hand to form a disc about 1cm thick. Press a whole almond into the centre of the cookie. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- In batches, bake the cookies (12 – 15 minutes for larger cookies; 8 – 10 minutes for small ones) until lightly browned on top.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.