Chinese Almond Cookies

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  • Chinese Almond Cookies are simple, crisp, buttery, and full of almond flavor.  It’s a perfect treat to make for Chinese New Year!

    Chinese almond cookies and a glass jar of the cookies.

    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 served with a cup of coffee.

    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.

    Chinese almond cookies served with a cup of 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.

    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.

    Almond Meal and Almond Flour in packages.

    The almond meal that I use for today’s recipe is from Trader Joe’s (you see the bits of dark almond skin), but Bob’s Red Mill has both types (Natural Almond Meal vs Almond Meal/Flour).

    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.

    Chinese almond cookies and red envelops on a wooden tray.

    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!

    Chinese almond cookies and a glass jar of the cookies.

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    4.08 from 38 votes
    Chinese almond cookies served with a cup of coffee.
    Almond Cookies
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    40 mins
     

    Chinese Almond Cookies are simple, crisp, buttery, and full of almond flavor. It's a perfect treat to make for Chinese New Year!

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
    Keyword: almond, almond meal, cookie
    Servings: 54 1-inch cookies (or 27 1 ½ inch cookies)
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    • 120 grams almond meal/flour (1 cup; See Notes)
    • 180 grams all-purpose flour (1 ½ cup; See Notes)
    • 120 grams sugar (⅔ cup minus 1 Tbsp)
    • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 120-150 ml neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (½-⅔ cup, more or less)
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • Roasted unsalted almonds (for decoration) (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

      Almond Cookie Ingredients
    2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a stand mixer. With your mixer on low medium speed (with the beater attachment), mix all together.
      Almond Cookies 1
    3. Slowly add oil and mix until a cohesive dough forms.
      Almond Cookies 2
    4. The dough should be just enough to hold its shape when you try to roll into a ball. If they look more like crumbs, add 2-3 tsp. (10-15 ml) vegetable oil at a time.
      Almond Cookies 3
    5. Weigh the dough to make 0.4 oz/10 g (1 inch cookies) OR 0.7 oz/20 g (1 1/2 inch cookies) rounded portion and roll it 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.
      Almond Cookies 4
    6. (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.
      Almond Cookies 5
    7. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl.  Using a pastry brush, lightly glaze the top of the cookie balls with the egg yolk.
      Almond Cookies 6
    8. Bake at 350F (180C) for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies become slightly golden. Let them cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.
      Almond Cookies 7
    Recipe Notes

    Almond Meal: 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.

     

    All-Purpose Flour: A properly measured cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4.25 oz (120 g). The weight for 1 cup of all-purpose flour varies depends on how you measure it. When you measure flour by volume, please follow the methods below. I’ve tested this method many times, and if you do it properly, 1 cup is VERY close to 120 g each time. Use the following method:

    1. Fluff up the flour several times with a spoon.
    2. Using the spoon, sprinkle the flour into your dry-cup measure.
    3. Scrape off the excess with a knife.

     

    Recipe is slightly adapted from Through The Kitchen Door, originally from My Secret Recipe Series: New Year Cookies by Alan Ooi.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 10, 2013.  The content has been updated with more information in January 2017.

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