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.
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.
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.
Making Chinese almond cookies is extremely easy. It’s a fun activity to do with your kids.
To prepare the cookie dough:
- Sift the dry ingredients
- Add the butter
- 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)
- Add the egg and almond extract
- Mix until it just forms a dough. Do not over mix!
- Wrap up the dough and chill it in the fridge. You can chill the dough in the freezer if you’re short on time.
Once the dough is chilled, it’s ready to be made into cookies!
- You will need to scoop out 2 teaspoons of dough.
- Roll it with your hands.
- The dough will become a dough ball.
- Lightly press the dough ball and press an almond onto the center.
- Brush it with egg wash.
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.
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.
More delicious holiday baking recipes
- Easy Milk Bread Rolls
- Soft Cinnamon Rolls with Sesame
- Sesame Checkerboard Cookies
- Kabocha Pumpkin Pie (a Lighter and Fluffier Pie)
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.
Chinese Almond Cookies
- 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
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
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 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.
Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.