Chinese New Year peanut cookies

One of the bad things about being away from home is missing out on Chinese New Year festivities. Sure, I can deck my place out in decorations, but it’s just not the same. My family isn’t here, you don’t have cheesy Chinese New Year songs playing everywhere you go, and you don’t have all the food and goodies that come along with it. Plus, it’s hard to have much of a festive spirit when you have to go to work…

I was lucky enough to go home for Chinese New Year last year (after not celebrating it at home for a whole 7 years), and it was GOOD. Unfortunately I do not have such good fortune this year, and will in fact be working everyday for a 12 day stretch at the time.

Having said that, there is no way I am going to miss out on the food of Chinese New Year… so I made some peanut cookies last week. These (along with pineapple tarts and arrowroot chips) are my favourite Chinese New Year treats, and I was actually worried that the peanut cookies I made would not live up to my high expectations. I’m very picky with my peanut cookies you see.

I hate recipes that are too finicky, so loved how my grandma’s yam cake recipe used a simple “cup ratio”. So when I chanced upon Quinn’s post on peanut cookies, where she used a similar “cup ratio” recipe, I knew I had to try it out. You can use ANY cup you wish – in fact, I used a chinese rice bowl. Just be sure to use the same cup throughout, and stick to the 2:2:1:1 ratio.

These cookies turned out beautifully, and had the “melt in your mouth” quality that is essential for peanut cookies. I used corn oil for the “fat” component of the cookies as it was all I had to hand. I would have preferred to use lard (I know it’s unhealthy but it’s the secret to the best “melt in your mouth” cookies), but it was cold and wet outside and I was too lazy to go out and buy some. But no matter, as they were still yum. :)


Chinese New Year peanut cookies
Based on Quinn’s recipe

  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar (alternatively, use castor sugar)
  • 1 cup corn oil (alternatively, use lard or butter)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Dry fry the peanuts in a wide non-stick pan (over medium heat), until they start to become fragrant and lightly browned. Take care to make sure you do not burn the peanuts.
2. Pulse the peanuts in a food processor, until it becomes a fine powder.
3. Heat the oven to 180′C.
4. Place the ground peanuts, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer*, and mix until well combined.
5. With the stand mixer on (medium speed), slowly trickle the corn oil into the bowl containing the peanut/flour/sugar mixture. Mix until it forms a cohesive dough. You may need more or less oil depending on the weather/humidity. A good guide is to try forming a ball from the dough – it should not crumble.
6. Form the dough into 2cm balls, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press down lightly with a chopstick (alternatively, use a straw or a clean pen cover), this forms the typical indentation you see in the cookie.
7. Glaze lightly with the beaten egg.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they turn a lovely shade of golden brown.

* if you have a food processor, you can use it to mix the cookie dough as it will lead to less washing up! Alternatively, you can use a wooden spoon/your hands to mix the dough together.

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47 thoughts on “Chinese New Year peanut cookies

  1. Ooooh, beautiful they are! Well done! I love making asian style cookies … don’t have to deal with the dough spreading during baking. Ha! ;P

  2. These look delicious. I am a big fan of peanut cookies myself. I can eat lots of them during CNY. My mom made them with chunky peanut butter with great results as well but I can’t remember the ratio. I have to ask her for recipes again. Yours look yummylicious. Thanks for sharing. Great looking photos.

  3. This is one of my favourites! And yes I can’t wait to see you and try these! eheheh.. I haven’t been home for CNY since I came here 7 years ago. Each time was either during Easter or in June/July.. shame..

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  5. If i were to use lard how do i use it? Melt the lard and add it in to the dough. Very urgent as i wanna try this recipe before chinese new year!! :)

    • I’d cut up the lard into little bits and rub it/work it into the dough with your hands – again till it forms a cohesive dough. If you have a stand mixer or food processor you should be able to use it to mix it up for you.

      Hope the cookies turn out well! :)

    • I actually buy ready roasted peanuts (which are usually de-skinned) from the supermarket.. and I dry fry them again. You should be able buy raw peanuts which have been de-skinned though, probably worth looking for it as I imagine it’ll be quite tedious to de-skin 2 cups worth of peanuts…

  6. Hiya, was googling for places in London that serves yee sang and found your blog. Have you come across any restaurants in London that have this dish? Am keen to get some this year.

    Thanks in advance.

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  8. More recipes for this coming new year…. ;)

    “兔年吉祥!
    Tù nián jí xiáng!
    Good Luck in the Year of the Rabbit!”
    Happy Chinese New Year 2011 to you….

  9. YUM. All I have to say. My sister came down stairs tonight and had a fit about how my mom didn’t pick her up any Chinese dessert cookies for her cultural party tomorrow in her class. Me, being the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING sister I am, volunteered to make her something. I’ve been seeing the peanut cookies around since it is the Chinese New Year, so I decided to actually try them. These are SO GOOD. They taste like Blarney Stones, a Welsh dessert that my grandmother makes quite often. THANK YOU SO MUCH :)

    • Yes, you can use salted peanuts – I’d sieve some of the salt away though, or your cookies might be too salty even if you omit the salt from the recipe.

      As for the butter, you can either: 1) melt the butter, let it cool, and use it as you would with the oil; or 2) work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with your hands, until it forms a cohesive dough. Option 2) is more messy and requires slightly more work on your part.

      And 180′C = approx. 350F.

      Hope that helps!

  10. The best peanut cookies recipe! so easy to make, so nice to taste, so addicted to eat, you’re right I just keep wanting to make some more as soon as we ate one batch after another. thank you for posting your delious recipe to shear, I am glad I discover you page.

    • The easiest option would be to melt the butter in the microwave on med high (cut into small chunks, and cover with clingfilm as it can pop vigorously), let it cool, and then use it as you would with the oil.

      Alternatively, you can soften the butter by having it out of the fridge for a short period of time (but ideally it should still be cold-ish), cut the butter into cubes, then work the butter into the flour/peanut mixture – either with your hands, or with a food processor.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Just made these, they were so easy and taste gorgeous! I used raw peanuts with their skins on, dry fried them, rubbed them together in a colander to remove the skins and then ground them in the food processor.

    I wonder would they also taste good (although not authentic!) with a little melted chocolate poured into the dent after they were cooked?

    Going to try the almond cookies and the tang yuan next. Thanks for the recipes!

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  15. I have looked everywhere for this recipe…I first found it for cny in 2005 and then I couldn’t locate it again. Thankfully I googled correctly and saw you excellent photos, recognized them, and then the ingredients, right away. Thank you, thank you. I’ll be SO interested in any more cny dessert recipes (I already make the excellent almond cookies). Beautiful work on this blog.

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