Chinese Almond Cookies

5 from 1 vote
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These cookies are not your traditional Chinese almond cookies. They have a fluffier and cakier texture, browned edges that are light and crispy, with a slightly chewy, sticky, and soft interior. These cookies have a well-balanced buttery sweetness and nutty taste. They are easy to make and perfect for Chinese New Year and holiday gifting.

Chinese almond cookies showing texture

I usually develop recipes based on my love of the dish. Not in this case! Growing up, I never really liked the traditional Chinese almond cookies. They have a sandy and very dry texture. They do not taste sweet. And they’re very almondy. Everything combined, they leave a weird mouthfeel that I’ve never craved.

I remember when I was a kid, we always had lots of cookies at Chinese New Year gatherings. I always reached for the imported buttery shortbread cookies that my parents bought from the American supermarket, and left the traditional cookies behind.

Now that I’m living in the US, I get asked by friends to bring Chinese almond cookies to parties once in a while. Especially around Chinese New Year, people want to see those cheery, shiny cookies on the dinner table for good fortune. So Lilja and I decided to develop an almond cookie recipe that we actually enjoy eating.

Chinese almond cookies served with tea

Why this recipe

Again, these are not the traditional sandy Chinese almond cookies. There are about three dozen recipes out there that yield the traditional texture. Check out the other websites if that’s what you prefer. This recipe has been adapted and localized. Living in the US for five years has made me prefer the buttery, cakey texture. There’s nothing I can do about it!

  • This recipe has a slightly soft, coarse, and chewy texture, with crispy edges.
  • It is more buttery, moist, and cakey than the traditional version.
  • It uses more sugar to achieve a better texture and balance the almond flavor.

The prep is extremely easy. And the result is so much better.

Cooking process

Making Chinese almond cookies is extremely easy. It’s a fun activity to do with your kids.

To prepare the cookie dough:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients
  2. Add the butter
  3. Cut the butter into the flour until it forms a cornmeal-like texture (I prefer to do this with my hands but you can use a KitchenAid or hand mixer as well)
  4. Add the egg and almond extract
  5. Mix until it just forms a dough. Do not over mix!
  6. Wrap up the dough and chill it in the fridge. You can chill the dough in the freezer if you’re short on time.

How to make cookie dough

Once the dough is chilled, it’s ready to be made into cookies!

  1. You will need to scoop out 2 teaspoons of dough.
  2. Roll it with your hands.
  3. The dough will become a dough ball.
  4. Lightly press the dough ball and press an almond onto the center.
  5. Brush it with egg wash.
  6. Bake!

How to shape the cookies

That’s it. The result is fragrant and soft almond cookies that are buttery and moist when warm. And they’re crispier once they’ve cooled. My love for Chinese almond cookies increased tenfold once we developed this recipe.

Afterthought

If you were thinking of serving fortune cookies for your Chinese New Year party, think again! Fortune cookies are not from China and cannot be found in China. See this article to find out where fortune cookies came from. Instead, these Chinese almond cookies should be high on your list. Topped with an almond, these cookies are shaped like an ancient Chinese coin, which represents fortune and prosperity. Brushed with egg wash, they are shiny and cheerful to look at, too. They are not overly sweet and perfect served with tea.

If you’re not a big fan of Chinese traditional cookies, give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Chinese almond cookies close up

More delicious holiday baking recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Chinese Almond Cookies | These cookies are not your traditional almond cookies. They have a fluffier and cakier texture, browned edges that are light and crispy, with a slightly chewy, sticky, and soft interior. They have a well-balanced buttery sweetness and nutty taste. They are easy to make and perfect for Chinese New Year and holiday gifting.

Chinese Almond Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These cookies are not your traditional Chinese almond cookies. They have a fluffier and cakier texture, browned edges that are light and crispy, with a slightly chewy, sticky, and soft interior. They have a well-balanced buttery sweetness and nutty taste. They are easy to make and perfect for Chinese New Year and holiday gifting.
Course: Bakery
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cookies
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 28 cookies

Ingredients

Cookie dough

  • 3/4 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 28 raw whole almonds

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

Make the cookie dough

  • Combine the all-purpose flour, sugar, almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Sift the dry ingredients through a colander into a large bowl. Press the larger chunks of almond flour through the mesh using your fingers.
  • Cut the butter into 1/2” (1 cm) squares, then transfer it into the bowl with the flour. Cut the butter using a butter cutter or your fingers, until it forms a moist cornmeal-like texture.
  • Add the egg and almond extract. Mix until it forms a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and transfer it into the fridge to chill for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Assemble & Bake

  • While chilling the dough, preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • To make the egg wash, combine the egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to mix well. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap to prevent from drying out.
  • To make the cookies, take about 2 teaspoons of dough (14 g), then roll it with your hands into a dough ball. Repeat the process to make all the cookies and place them onto the lined baking sheet, about 2” (5 cm) apart.
  • Press the dough balls lightly with your finger and press 1 almond into the center of each cookie.
  • Brush each cookie thoroughly with the egg wash. (*Footnote 1)
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown.
  • Transfer the baking sheet onto your counter and let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack or plate. Enjoy!

Store

  • Store the completely cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze these cookies, too. Thaw the cookies in the fridge. You can also warm them up in the microwave or in a 350 °F (176 °C) oven before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 79kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1.3g, Fat: 4.9g, Saturated Fat: 2.3g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 49mg, Potassium: 17mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 4.2g, Calcium: 6mg
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Chinese Almond Cookies | These cookies are not your traditional almond cookies. They have a fluffier and cakier texture, browned edges that are light and crispy, with a slightly chewy, sticky, and soft interior. They have a well-balanced buttery sweetness and nutty taste. They are easy to make and perfect for Chinese New Year and holiday gifting.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. a happy cyclist says:

    I love almond cookies! And I agree with your description of a traditional Chinese almond cookie, and as such, it’s best with coffee or tea. Without the pairing of a hot beverage, a dry cookie falls flat. I will give this recipe a try. I am sure it will be delish after a long bike ride.

  2. Christina H. says:

    I was so intrigued by the fluffier, cakier texture of your almond cookies! Unfortunately, my dough ended up too moist and my cookies flattened really quickly in the oven — do you pack in your flour when you measure? I’m wondering if I shorted the dry ingredients by accident since I stir, scoop, and then level. Or maybe I took too long making dough balls, so the butter was too warm? Would love any insight you have, as I love how your cookies look!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Christina, I’m sorry to hear your cookies didn’t come out as expected! I didn’t stir the flour when I measure it. I think it will incorporate air into the flour and might be the reason why the batter is too soft. The other two things I can think of (1) it’s important to chill the dough before baking. (2) if you melt the butter in microwave (and not in room temperature), it might cause a problem. Hope it helps!

    • Marsha F. says:

      Try weighing the flour instead of using the cup measure. It’s a more accurate and reliable way to handle dry ingredients.

  3. jul says:

    can we use coconut flour instead of regular flour? thank you for this recipe =)

    • Maggie says:

      Regular flour is very different from coconut flour. I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer without testing it, and I recommend not to do the replacement.

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi,

    my cookies also turned out flat in the oven and my dough was quite moist as well.

    Did you really use baking soda for your recipe or could it be baking powder?
    I checked all the ingredients and only noticed now that you listed baking soda, but there’s no acidic ingredient like lemon or butter milk or vinegar to activate the soda. So maybe that’s why my and Christina H’s cookies didn’t rise?

  5. Herman says:

    5 stars
    Well, Maggie, I’m happy to report that our new favorite Chinese almond cookie is the one from your recipe. It’s not as grainy as my previous best tasting one, but it definitely now is the best. And so easy to prepare. I weighed the AP flour before mixing the dough and noticed that the number of grams was different from the grams per 3/4 cup, so I went with the cup gram measurement, which was higher. I was thinking that the gram measurement was too low. And the Almond Cookie Award goes to Maggie Zhu! Thanks so much.

  6. Sharlene says:

    Hi. I am interested in making this but I wanted to clarify, should the butter temp be cold or room temp? Can I use a food processor to incorporate the butter and flour together? Thanks in advance!

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      It should be cold (room temperature butter won’t work). And yes you can use a food processor to mix the butter and flour, just be careful not to over mix them. The mixture should look like small grainy texture once mixed, not fine powder.

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