Chinese Almond Cookies are simple, crisp, buttery, and full of almond flavor. It’s a perfect treat to make for Chinese New Year!
These Chinese Almond Cookies are one of the easiest cookie recipes I’ve tried. All you need is simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, roll into small balls, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The cookies are crisp, buttery, and full of almond flavor!
Chinese Almond Cookies for Lunar New Year!
In Japan, we celebrate the New Year on January 1st (read more). As I married a Taiwanese American husband, I started to celebrate Lunar New Year as well. Since the holiday is a regular day here in the U.S., we typically go out to eat at Chinese restaurants to celebrate with his family and friends instead of cooking up a storm like most families do in Asia.
One exception is I make these almond cookies. I learned from my Chinese blogger friends in Asia that these traditional Chinese almond cookies are enjoyed during the Lunar New Year. Almond cookies symbolize coins so people make or buy these cookies to bring good fortune.
Almond cookies have a crisp bite and sandy crumbly texture. When you bite, almond meal/flour and almonds on top give really nice almond flavor in your mouth. And these cookies are delightful with a cup of tea or coffee.
Almond Meal vs. Almond Flour
You can use either almond meal or almond flour in today’s recipe. But what is the difference?
Almond meal and almond flour both consist of ground almonds, but here is the difference.
- Almond meal is coarsely ground and made from almonds with their skins.
- Almond flour is finely ground and made from blanched almonds without skins. Other names for almond flour are powdered almonds and almond powder.
The obvious difference is in how they look. Almond meal is speckled with bits of almond skin while the blanched almond flour is creamy tan.
If you’re wondering if you can skip the all-purpose flour and use 100% almond meal or almond flour for these Chinese almond cookies, I would not recommend so. You have to include the all-purpose flour to make these almond cookies. You could add a few drops of the almond extract for even more intense almond taste.
Serve these cookies for the upcoming Chinese New Year and if you celebrate this holiday. I hope you have a wonderful celebration with your family and friends.
新年快乐 (Xin Nian Kuai Le)!
Happy New Year!
恭喜發財 (Gong Xi Fa Cai)!
Wishing you a prosperous new year!
- 1 cup almond meal/flour (If you use almond meal (ground almond with skin), you may need to add more oil. Adjust the oil amount as you combine the dough. You should be able to make the dough into balls.)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour) (If you use a measuring cup, follow this method: fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. Otherwise, your flour ends up with more than 180 g.)
- ½ cup sugar (½ cup + 2 Tbsp to be precise)
- ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ cup neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (may need more oil)
- 1 large egg yolk
- roasted unsalted almonds (optinoal; for decoration)
- Gather all the ingredients. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a stand mixer. With your mixer on low medium speed (with the beater attachment), mix all together.
- Slowly add oil and mix until a cohesive dough forms.
- The dough should be just enough to hold its shape when you try to roll it into a ball. If they look more like crumbs, add 2-3 tsp (10-15 ml) vegetable oil at a time.
- Weigh the dough to make 1-inch (2.5 cm) cookie (0.4 oz, 10 g) or 1 ½-inch (3.8 cm) cookie (0.7 oz, 20 g). Roll the dough into a ball with your palms. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat until all the dough is used up. You can make a 10-gram ball using a teaspoon measuring spoon.
- [optional] If you want to put a piece of almond on the cookie, hold the cookie ball on your palm and gently press the almond into the dough.
- Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly glaze the top of the cookie balls with the egg yolk.
- Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies become slightly golden. Let them cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store on the countertop for 4-5 days or in the freezer for a month.
- Fluff up the flour several times with a spoon.
- Using the spoon, sprinkle the flour into your dry-cup measure.
- Scrape off the excess with a knife.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 10, 2013. The content has been updated with more information in January 2017.