SHARING CULTURES THROUGH HOLIDAYS & FOOD
April Food Days
One of the things we all looked forward to when ordering out or eating Chinese Food in a Restaurant where the Fortune Cookies and Almond Cookies. April 9th is ‘Chinese Almond Cookie Day’. Besides the Chinese Restaurant you might look in the Asian Section in your local market and find some packaged Chinese Almond Cookies, however, you don’t know how long ago these were made and do they truly still have almonds in them? Almond Cookies are flavored with Almond Extract and therefore, don’t really need Almonds in them, but it has always been traditional for bakers to put an almond slice or half an almond the center of the top of the cookie.
If you are an Almond Cookie lover and don’t want to have to wait until you go to a Chinese Restaurant or find them in the market, you can make your own Chinese Almond Cookies. It is really quite simple. Traditionally, these cookies are made with lard as the fat. The lard gives them a distinctive flavor but if you do not like using lard (I don’t), you can use butter or shortening. The butter will definitely change the flavor of the cookies, but not detrimentally. I really like them with butter, as I use butter in practically all of my baked goods. Another ingredient that gives the Almond Cookie its flavor and crispness is Rice Flour which fairly easy to find in the market. If your local market does not carry Rice Flour, an Asian Market certainly will. If you have no access to an Asian Market and your local market does not carry Rice Flour, you can always purchase it on-line or you can just make the cookies with All-Purpose Flour. Try the recipe below and see if you like them. You can always adjust them to your taste preferences.
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening or Lard 1/2 cup Rice Flour
7/8 cup Granulated Sugar 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Sesame Oil 1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Egg 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract 1/4 cup chopped Almonds
- Cream together the Shortening and Sugar until they become fluffy.
- Stir in the Egg, Sesame Oil and Almond Flavoring; beat until well blended.
- Combine the Flour, Salt and Baking Powder; beat into the Shortening mixture.
- Stir in the chopped Almonds.
- Use a tablespoon to drop the Dough onto greased cookie sheets.
- Place 1 or 2 slices of Almonds on top of each Cookie; bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the Cookies are a light golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool; store tightly covered.
Yield: 18 Cookies