Whipping up a batch of Chinese restaurant style almond cookies in your own kitchen is quite an easy and satisfying task. The aroma alone as they are baking fills the house with a wonderfully inviting smell that draws a crowd in to wonder when the cookies will be ready to eat. Almond cookies are one of the traditional cookies served in most Chinese restaurants. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s before they became popular in the United States. When these cookies were first created they were made with a butter cookie dough recipe and included walnuts, since this particular nut represented good luck and served with a hot cup of Oolong or Green tea.
Most people have been misinformed as to the nature of almonds. Almonds, although continued to be referred to as nuts are not an actual nut. Instead, almonds are a fruit from the kernels of the almond tree. This fruit is very healthy and contain a good source of calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin E and potassium. Almonds also contain an antioxidant called oleic and some traces of the mineral boron that aids in the prevention of osteoporosis. Almonds are a nutritional powerhouse of goodness, most of the fat within almonds is deemed monounsaturated and they contain approximately 170 calories per ounce.
- 4 ½ cups of flour
- 2 ¼ sticks of butter
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 teaspoons of salt
- 3 teaspoons of almond extract
- 1 cup of blanched almonds
- Blanch the almonds by placing the nuts in a small bowl and pour boiling water over the nuts, just enough to cover them.
- Allow the almonds to sit in the hot water for about three minutes.
- Drain the water from the nuts, rinse them well under cold water and remove the skins from the almonds.
- Slice each almond in half and place on a paper towel lined dish to allow the nuts to cool and dry completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350’.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
- Add in the butter, eggs, and extract and mix well.
- Knead the cookie dough in the bowl for a few minutes until soft to the touch.
- Pull approximately a tablespoon of dough from the bowl and roll it into a ball.
- Place the cookie balls on a cookie sheet, separating the cookie balls 2 inches apart from each other.
- Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press down on the cookie dough balls to flatten into a cookie shape approximately ¼ of an inch in thickness.
- Place a sliced almond in the center of each cookie with the rounded side facing up and gently press down just enough to set the nut into the dough.
- Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove cookie tray from oven and allow cookies to rest for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Let cookies cool completely before placing them on a serving tray or in the cookie jar.