Monday, 6 February 2012

Chinese New Year cookies

So I'm a bit behind on this posting - I was trying to get this sorted for the start of the Chinese new year which is now about 2 weeks ago, but better late than never.

This particular chinese new year celebrates the year of the dragon - which is me. Apparently its supposed to be a good year for luck... I'm still waiting for that, but I shall be patient.

Every year in London, they have a celebration in Trafalgar Square and Soho. So off I went to brave the cold (and train delays, I might add) to go and partake in the experience of all things Chinese. After some alfresco chicken and noodles we followed the crowds around Soho, in search of the dragon who visits all the restaurants and eats the lettuce or vegetables left out for him. This is a form of good luck and fortune for the restaurants I am told.

So this year I made some chinese cookies, 4 different varieties; sesame seed, peanut butter, almond and fortune cookies. I have no idea which is my favourite - they are all just really yummy and moreish and really didn't last long at all!

Chinese almond cookies:-

120g plain flour
120g ground almonds
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

120g butter - softened
60g raw sugar
1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
whole almonds


Sift the flour into a bowl, and mix in ground almonds, baking powder and salt.
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Then beat in egg and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat oven to 160C or gas mark 3.

Shape dough into balls, 2-3 cm round. Place dough balls about two inches apart on a greased baking tray and press an almond into the center of each cookie.

Bake for 15 mins or until cookie is slightly firm. Then turn up the temperature to 180C or gas mark 4 and bake for a further 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking tray for about 5 minutes. Remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.


Chinese almond cookies

Chinese peanut butter cookies ingredients:-

8 tblsp crunchy peanut butter
240g plain flour
100g icing sugar
200g softened butter
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4.

Place the peanut butter, flour, sugar, butter and salt in a bowl and mix with electric beater until well combined.
Mix until it forms a cohesive dough. You may need more or less butter depending on the consistency. A good guide is to try forming a ball from the dough – it should not crumble.
Form the dough into about 2cm balls, and place on a greased baking tray. Press down lightly with a chopstick end, this forms the typical indentation you see in the cookie.

Lightly glaze the cookies with the beaten egg.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they turn a lovely shade of golden brown. Cool completely before transferring from baking tray.

Chinese peanut butter cookies

Chinese sesame cookie balls ingredients:-

300g plain flour
1 tsp bak­ing powder
1/2 tsp bak­ing soda
120g sugar
3 tblsp hot water
2 tblsp veg­etable oil
1 egg
Sesame seeds to coat cookie balls
Veg­etable oil for deep frying


Mix sugar and hot water (not boiling) together and let cool. Add egg to sugar mixture. Add the oil.

In a medium bowl, com­bine flour, bak­ing pow­der and bak­ing soda together.

Add wet ingre­di­ents (sugar+ egg mix­ture and oil) to flour mix­ture. Mix together with your hands to form a dough. Wrap in plas­tic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Once chilled, cut dough into two - put one half back in the fridge. With the other, use to roll dough into small pieces - about 1.5 cm wide balls.

Spray a lit­tle water onto the dough balls and roll them in the sesame seeds.

Heat the vegetable oil - but not too hot. Deep fry in low tem­per­a­ture oil, rolling the balls in the oil as they cook, until they turn slightly golden brown - this takes about 2 mins. Remove from oil and drain on absorbent tissue.

Cool completely before transferring to storage containers.

Chinese sesame cookie balls

Chinese fortune cookies ingredients:-
2 egg whites
60g cup flour (sifted)
100g sugar
2 tblsp water
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Before starting the cookies make slips of paper to fill the cookies. Simply download, print and cut the paper into strips. I used this website for the sayings. Keep to one side.

Preheat oven to 200C or gas mark 6.

Place egg whites in a bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until very frothy, almost soft peaks.

Add sifted flour, sugar, almond, and vanilla then mix again.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of water to thin the batter.
On an un-greased baking tray place 1 tablespoon of batter and spread thinly to make small circle about 5cm wide. I started with 2 cookies at a time until you get used to the process.

Bake in the oven for about 6 minutes until edges start to turn brown. Working quickly remove from the oven and turn the cookie over. Add one of the 'fortunes' and fold the cookie up so that the sides touch each other and pinch tightly. Bend cookie over the edge of cup, to give it the well known curve. Place in muffin tin to further cool in the curled position.

This whole process should take about 20 seconds or less. As the cookie is extremely hot when it comes out of the oven, I used a teatowel to do most of this, but you can get special gloves to use - I just don't have them!

Pass to your friends and surprise them with individual fortunes!

Chinese fortune cookies

Oh and later on, we opted for our excursion, with a mini dragon in tow, we took him on a little private tour!! I think he rather enjoyed a glass of wine...

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