Chinese Almond Cookies

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he prepares for the year of the tiger with Chinese almond cookies. ~Elise

Chinese almond cookies are a trademark in Chinese-American cooking. Often relegated as a second string sweet to the more entertaining fortune cookie these don’t get the respect they deserve. Sure, they don’t tell you what a charming personality you have or offer a string of lotto numbers, but they do have a crisp bite and delightfully sandy texture. Almond flour, almond extract, and slivered almonds ensure that you get an intense flavor that will eclipse any paper filled treat.

Set out a plate of these for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Almond cookies symbolize coins and will be sure to bring you good fortune. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 5 dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups of almond flour, lightly packed
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Thinly sliced almonds

Method

1 Place the almond flour, salt, and butter into an electric beater with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture will become coarse and chunky looking.

2 Add one of the eggs, reserving the other for later, and the almond extract. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.

3 Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda then add to the butter mixture at low speed. Mix until just combined.

4 Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for two hours to chill.

5 Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the other egg into a bowl and beat it.

6 Take pieces of dough and roll them into balls about three-quarters-of-an-inch wide. Place them on the sheet about an inch apart and then press them down slightly with your palm to make a coin shape.

7 Place a slivered almond onto each cookie and lightly press it into place, then paint the surface of the cookie with some of the beaten egg using a pastry brush or your finger (this will give the cookie a lacquered appearance once it bakes).

8 Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges just begin to tan. Cool on the sheet on a wire rack.

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44 Comments

  1. Susan

    When I was a kid (back in the olden days, as my kids say) the Chinese restaurants in the Wash, DC area always provided these almond cookies for the table when the check was presented. They were one of my very favorite cookies. While fortune cookies are fun, these are truly delicious. Thanks for the recipe, Garrett.

  2. Andrea

    Our neighbors used to bring us a box of almond cookies whenever we collected their newspapers for them when they were away. They are among my favorite cookies– thanks for the recipe!

  3. Taysia

    Where would I find almond flour?

    Most grocery stores carry it. All specialty store for sure carry it. ~Garrett

  4. Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

    The Chinese almond cookies I’ve had have not been overly sweet, which I tend to favor. Will look forward to having these as a light dessert, with a cup of tea, after I get my dim sum on.

  5. Jinsi

    Is almond flour the same as gound almond?

    Yes, you can make almond flour by slowly and carefully grinding bleached almonds into a flour. However, this can be dicey as it’s a VERY quick jump from almond flour to almond butter. Bob’s Red Mill makes a great and affordable almond flour which you usually find in the baking section of stores. ~Garrett

  6. Jools

    Is almond flour the same as finely ground almonds? I was wondering if I could use it for these cookies.
    These are such a great idea as Chinese New Year is just around the corner. It falls on Valentine’s Day this year.
    I’m just thinking of how I can incorporate a Valentine’s twist into these and kill two birds with one stone.

  7. Lai

    I hate those cookies so, so, so much. They’re a staple at Hong Kong weddings, where they are NEVER eaten.

    Well, Lai, I appreciate that random bit of trivia. Still, this is a pretty darn tasty recipe that I bet could change your mind. In the U.S. people love these, but Hong Kong is an unique culture in between China and England that has its own tastes and food trends. ~Garrett

  8. Aaron

    These look great. Do you think step 1 would work with a hand mixer?

    I think you could give it a go. ~Garrett

  9. Trish in MO

    Almond flour! Never heard of it; no wonder why the cookies are so goood. I have to look more closely at the one ‘finer’ grocery store I have near me. I know the others don’t have it. (I live in the Kuntry..hehe)

    I love your recipes; thanks Garrett!

  10. Diane

    I just love almond cookies. As a kid, that was the much anticipated treat after a wonderful Chinese meal in Windsor, Canada. What a delightful trip down memory lane.

    By the way, I’ve just bookmarked this site. Thank you for making it so easy to print your recipes without pictures or ads. This is just such a user friendly site.

  11. Emma

    I love, love, love these cookies! When I lived on the West Coast, my office always brought treats in for Chinese New Years and I couldn’t trust myself around these. I haven’t had them for a few years now… I’m so excited to give them a try!

  12. Cookin' Canuck

    These bring back lots of good memories of celebrating Chinese New Year in Vancouver’s Chinatown. I’m looking forward to introducing these cookies to my kids.

  13. Toni

    These look very crunchy. While I’m a fan of almond anything, I always pass these up in Chinese food restaurants. Garrett, do they have a more chewy consistency, or are they more the hard, tooth breaking variety I find at local Chinese food restaurants? :)

    They are light and crispy. ~Garrett

  14. Jane

    Thanks Elise and Garrett – these look wonderful. Do you think that I could use egg replacer for this recipe? I have a friend who is vegan and would probably love them.

    No. You cannot replace the egg in this. ~Garrett

  15. Karen B

    Do you think one of the butter substitutes such as Smart Balance sticks could be used intead of two sticks of butter? I would love to cut the cholesterol down a bit on these! I love almond anything but am on a reduced cholesterol diet!
    Thanks for great recipes!

    Never even heard of the stuff. Give it a shot and let us know if it works. ~Garrett

  16. Denise Cottrell

    I have taken Chinese cooking classes from “authentic” chinese chefs, and they never use almond flour. That being said, Trader Joe has almond flour that is considerably less expensive than Bob’s Red Mill–and I mean considerably!

    I’ll have to try this recipe. Let it not be said that I don’t have an ‘open mind’!

    This is an “authentic” Chinese-American recipe. Not a Chinese recipe. (Huge difference.) You won’t find these in Hunan, but you will find them in the U.S., England, and Hong Kong. ~Garrett

  17. TexasDeb

    Do you think step 1 would work in a food processor? Don’t have a stand mixer and hand mixers typically aren’t sturdy enough for a stiff dough. I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy almond flour – think this might be it.

    I think a food processor would work in a pinch. Just be sure to pulse rather than set on full on liquify. ~Garrett

  18. Alexa

    I love Chinese almond cookies– It was the first cookie recipe I attempted when I moved on my own. I was missing a bunch of ingredients so I had to improvise. They turned out really good but nothing like what I had intended. These look so lovely. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. nia

    Does it go without saying that if you have a nut allergy, these are not the cookies for you, or is there a way to modify, and still get to enjoy?

    Yeah… you can’t take the nuts out of these cookies. No way. ~Garrett

  20. Caroline

    I made these on a whim while snowed in yesterday. I was out of slivered almonds (I omitted them) and almond extract (I used rum flavoring instead). Perhaps because of my non-almond substitutions, I found the flavor to be too sugary and not almondy enough. However, they do have a nice sandy crunch and are the perfect mate to a cup of tea.

    You can see my results here.

    Yes, taking out the almond flavor would cause these cookies to not taste like almonds. Again, nothing in this recipe should be substituted, otherwise it won’t look or taste right. ~Garrett

  21. Cristina @ TeenieCakes

    I can’t wait to make these. I love almond cookies. I remember my Mom buying a box once in a while of Twin Dragon Almond cookies (in the pink box). Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  22. DD

    My dad was recently in town for my wedding in Bhutan, and took my Bhutanese siblings-in-law (and our 8 nieces and nephews!) out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. He wanted to get these almond cookies for dessert so the kids could try them, but we don’t even get fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants in Bhutan, so I might just have to make these (with the hand-churned butter that we get from the village, natch) so the kids will know what they’ve missed out on!

    Sidenote: my dad is originally from Taiwan and my mom from Shanghai, and our whole family enjoys these cookies–Chinese-American they may be, but they appeal to us all!

  23. Rachel

    I’d just like to say that GONG XI FA CAI is the Chinese way of pronouncing it. Gung Hay Fat Choy is in cantonese. (:

  24. AndreaD

    I made them. I made my own almond flour first. I blanched the almond, let them dry (no almond flour), but when you grind them in a processor, don’t do it for too long, you’ll have butter.

    They taste exactly like the ones I got as a kid, in Chinese restaurants of course. Lite, crunchy and sandy, but not too sweet. Great recipe, thanks so much. I gave some to my Chinese neighbor, he liked them, or so he said. Anyway, I love them!

  25. Jo from London

    Another place you will definitely find ground almonds (almond flour) is in any kosher deli/section of a supermarket. Passover baking recipes are entirely based on them, as is much general Jewish cooking. This recipe very much reminds me of my grandmother’s almond macaroons!

    Happy New Year to all the Chinese readers!

  26. Christina

    I made a batch of these cookies and when it was time to take them out of the oven, they really flattened a lot! Instead of almond flour, I used finely ground almonds that I blanched and dried. I’m thinking that the flour content might have been a bit too low because they had no body–all of my cookies came out as flat as can be even though I had kept them ball-shaped. Or maybe the dough wasn’t cold enough? Mine was in for

    They will flatten a lot, so I think you’re okay. =) ~Garrett

  27. Kate

    Just finished making these. Not only do they taste amazing, my entire apartment smells fantastic. Just in time for me and my family to celebrate the New Year.

  28. Melanie

    Thanks for this excellent recipe, Garrett. I couldn’t find almond flour at my local grocery store, but they did stock ground almonds, so I used that instead. The cookies taste fantastic! However, I did find that the egg “glaze” turned out to be yellow and splotchy and not very attractive. Would it be better to use just egg white to coat the cookies before they’re baked? Do you think it made a difference that I used omega 3 eggs (which I find tend to have darker yellow/orange yolks)?

    I used whole eggs for a more authentic feel. This recipe does fine using egg whites only as a glaze which will give it a much more refined appearance. It depends which you prefer. As for the Omega 3 eggs, then yeah, it might have made some difference, but I can;t imagine much of one. ~Garrett.

  29. Linda

    Garrett!!! thank you for this amazing recipe. I just pulled the last batch out of the oven. They taste fantastic – just in time for our honoring the Chinese New Year (we aren’t Chinese though). These will be perfect as a dessert. Oh, I would highly recommend using almond flour instead of trying to substitute. I don’t think this recipe would come close to excellent as it does otherwise. None of our grocery stores had almond flour, however. If anyone lives in Northern Ohio, you can find Bob’s Red Mill at Marc’s! Our Trader Joe’s didn’t have it. Thanks, again, Garrett for another great recipe. Happy New Year!

  30. Tori

    Hey, it’s LUNAR New Year, not Chinese New Year.

    Other cultures celebrate it too, it’s not just Chinese (China’s record at co-opting and enforcing most culture in that region makes me annoyed when I hear “Chinese” to describe a holiday that most in East and Southeast Asia celebrate).

    Unless you’re celebrating in the Chinese tradition. Then it’s Chinese New Year going by the lunar calendar. ~Garrett

  31. Cristina at TeenieCakes

    I made a batch of these Chinese Almond Cookies yesterday. They are wonderful! Great texture and a perfect outside crispiness.

    This is among my favorite cookie recipes now and is definitely a keeper. I think they would ship well as homemade baking gifts.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  32. Jill

    I love almond cookies. This is a great recipe and easy, too.

  33. Nikki the Novice

    Best almond cookies ever! To get the texture I wanted – slightly crunchy but mostly soft – I reduced the amount of butter to 3/4 cups. (If you desire almond cookies totally soft, I suggest 1/2 stick of butter).

    Also, because I’m lactose intolerant, I substituted the unsalted butter for Earth Balance vegan margarine sticks with no problems. Because it’s already salted, I omitted the pinch of salt.

    As for flour, I did a whole wheat pastry flour & unbleached white flour mix (as if this somehow makes these cookies any less sinful!).

    P.S. Trader Joes sells almond meal (ground almond flour) for super cheap (in relation to Whole Foods, that is). Good luck!

  34. Theresa

    These cookies were amazing and turned out far better than any store or restaurant-bought almond cookies I’ve tasted. I made these for a chinese-themed neighborhood party and got compliments on them all night. I ground sliced almonds in the coffee grinder to make the almond flour. I’m pretty much a novice in the kitchen, but these were easy for me (after I figured out how to get the almond flour).

  35. Abby1749

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I have been looking for this recipe for a long time. Most Chinese restaurants outside of Chicago never serve these so I am eagerly looking forward to making these. I really prefer these cookies over the fortune cookies.

  36. Deby

    Is there a reason these aren’t tagged as gluten-free? From the recipe, the cookies seem to be gluten-free.

    There is flour in the recipe. ~Garrett

  37. robb

    I didn’t have any almond flour so I ground up sliced almonds and substituted. I made these a little larger than called for and I used a brush for the egg and then sprinkled the top with sliced almonds. They were terrific! I cooked each batch for 15 minutes and it was just right. Thanks for a terrific recipe, Garrett! I will be making these a lot in the future. :)

  38. bobbie

    WOW! these are the best cookies I have ever made. Easy, delicious, and impressive looking. These are NOT the heavy, doughy almond cookies sold in boxes at the supermarket. They are more like amaretti or biscotti – light and full of almond flavor. I am serving them for our lunar new year feast tonight. If there are any left, that is…;=)

    I made it easier on myself and split the dough into two, and rolled them into two small diameter logs for refrigerating. I cut them about 1/4″ thick and laid them on parchment to cook. They spread when cooking. I also turned the pans midway through for even browning.

    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe!
    Bobbie

  39. Yvonne

    Wow, these sound delicious, but how sweet do they end up being? I want to make some for my mom, but she doesn’t like really sweet food like a good health-obsessed Chinese mom (: And I don’t bake enough to know by just looking at the recipe. Thanks!

    They are cookies so they are pretty sweet. ~Garrett

  40. Scott

    Simply perfect! We have been seeking a good Chinese Almond Cookie recipe for some time and decided to try yours. They are not as good as those found in a Chinese restaurant, they are BETTER!!!

  41. Brad Weesner

    These cookies are excellent. If you try Chinese Restaurant Almond cookes, you know how dissapointing they are. These are so FAR superior! Follow the recipe, and you are good to go. I personally add; 1. double the amount of almond extract 2. a full almond, cracked/split sort of on top, 3. with the final egg wash, I sprinkle “raw” sugar crystals on top. These additions are not as powerful as you might think,, helps bring the flavors forward. Too much extract tho will take away from the lovely, subtle (and pricey) almond flour,,Be sure to give these as gifts, bring to church.. they are special, and your friends will be so impressed. Garrett, thank you very much!

  42. Jenny

    Do these cookies keep well? I was thinking about shipping them (it’ll take 2 days for them to reach their destination). My family loves almond cookies. Thanks Garrett!

    They should keep fine. Pack them airtight and with something soft to keep them from breaking. ~Garrett

  43. Laura @ Family Spice

    I am baking these right now for a Chinese-themed teachers luncheon. THEY ARE FABULOUS! I am the queen of modifying recipes and I wouldn’t change a thing. Love that you more almond meal than other recipes do. My only problem is that I don’t want share them!!!

  44. Victoria @ Easy2SaveBlog

    My Mom made this cookie when I was a child. I am going to make them for this New Year’s Eve 2012. Thanks for the recipe.

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