Chinese New Year: Almond cookies, with crunch!

Most Malaysians equate Chinese New Year with a few important things = family, friends, FOOD, and well, food. And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without all those typical CNY cookies – pineapple tarts, peanut cookies… and so forth.

I made some almond cookies last year, but wasn’t altogether pleased with their texture. You see, to me almond cookies should have a slight crunch, yet be slightly melty. My version from last year tasted good enough, but it didn’t have much of that ‘crunch factor’. I know I’m being pedantic, but if you’re going to stuff yourself with cookies, it might as well be ones you love!

chinese new year almond cookies 3

I found this recipe in one of the cookbooks I bought in Penang (oh yes, I totally buy local cookbooks whenever I go home – then lug them all back to London), and thought it looked promising. And it did deliver!

These cookies have a nice crunchy/firm exterior, with a slight melty interior. If you have never tasted such almond cookies, you must think I am completely bonkers. I know it sounds mad, but it works. Remarkably well, might I add.

chinese new year almond cookies 5

As always, I managed to eat 5 cookies in the first hour post-baking. I then had to take fairly drastic action to keep them all away in a sealed container, so I can’t get to them before Chinese New Year comes along! Yes, I am THAT lazy. If it’s sealed/hard to get to, I rather not eat it. Ha!

If you prefer a soft/completely ‘melt in the mouth’ almond cookie, you’ll prefer my recipe from last year. But if you prefer one with a slight crunch, try this one. I think you’ll like it!

chinese new year almond cookies 2

Chinese New Year Almond Cookies
Adapted from My Secret Recipe Series: New Year Cookies by Alan Ooi
Makes approximately 50-60 cookies, depending on size

  • 100g ground almonds
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar (I might cut down the sugar to 75g next time, as I prefer a less-sweet cookie)
  • 3/4tsp baking powder
  • 3/4tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 100ml corn oil, or other flavourless oil (you may need a little more/less oil depending on the climate you are in)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

1. Sieve the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into bowl of your stand mixer.
2. Add the ground almonds to the flour/sugar mixture.
3. With your mixer on medium speed (with the beater attachment),* slowly trickle in the corn oil into the bowl containing the flour/sugar/almonds. Mix until a cohesive dough forms. You may need more or less oil depending on the humidity/moisture levels – the aim is to reach a dough which is just able to hold it’s shape (and doesn’t crumble) when you attempt to roll it into a ball. It’s rather dry here in London at the moment, so I had to use an extra 10ml of oil before the dough came together.
4. Heat the oven to 180’C.
5. Roll the dough into ~2.5cm balls, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper/a silpat mat. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
6. Using a pastry brush, lightly glaze the tops of the cookie balls with the beaten egg yolk.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies become slightly golden.
8. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then tuck in.

* You don’t need a stand mixer to do this, you can use a handheld mixer/food processor/a spatula. I use my stand mixer because it’s permanently out on the counter, which makes it the easiest option. I told you I was lazy.

chinese new year almond cookies 4

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45 thoughts on “Chinese New Year: Almond cookies, with crunch!”

  1. Tried out your recipe today but I used so much more oil! I just kept adding until a crumbly, but workable dough formed, so I’m not sure how much more oil exactly but I reckon it was about 100ml more. Weather was cool and rainy and I used canola oil, by the way. Did I do something wrongly?

    The end-product looked great and tasted good too, except for some astringency. Is the astringent taste normal or is it me?

    I might bake with this recipe again, and if I do, I think I will use icing sugar or grind sugar until it’s extremely fine, so they don’t show up all sparkly in the cookies.

    1. Hmmm I don’t know why you needed to use so much more oil. Possibly 1) the measurements of flour/ground almonds were different, or 2) you aimed for a more cohesive wet dough (With mine, I could just about form a ball from the dough, if I was too rough with it, it would crumble slightly. I find that adding too much oil can sometimes lead to an extra oily cookie, as the almonds themselves are quite oily!)

      Re: astringency… I definitely didn’t have that. Caster sugar is very fine and shouldn’t leave sparkly crystals in your cookie. Did you use white granulated sugar instead of caster sugar? Coz I’d imagine that would give a slightly rough texture as the granules won’t all dissolve. You can always use icing sugar instead of caster sugar, but icing sugar makes your cookie more “melty” as opposed to “crunchy”.

      I hope that helps, give me a shout if you have any other queries!

      1. What almonds did you use? Mine was blanched ground almonds, and I followed your recipe exactly before I came to a dry and crumbly dough that wouldn’t hold. Luckily, the cookies didn’t turn out oily at all! 😀 I also used caster sugar… and I definitely didn’t know that using icing sugar would give it a more melty mouthfeel. Do you know why that happens?

        You know, I noticed that I get that astringency only if I eat something else at the same time. It tastes fine if I eat only the cookie at any given time. Strange, isn’t it!

        Otherwise, this recipe really gives very delicious cookies and it cannot be any simpler! I’m definitely keeping this. 😀 My mom suggested using coarser ground almonds or some chopped almonds.

      2. I used plain ground almonds, didn’t dry fry them as I was too lazy. 😀

        Not sure the chemistry behind why icing sugar makes it more melty, but it certainly seems that way from previous baking attempts.

        The chopped almonds are definitely a good idea, I thought about it last year, then obviously forgot to implement it when baking. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. ncie one suyin! came over from sylvia’s cos she said she made your cookies. i like cookies with a crunch more than the melt-inyour-mouth sort, think it makes them more interesting and moreish (dangerous). happy cny xxx

  3. Hi! I actually made peanut and almond cookies from your blog last year for my sons class. They loved it! Perfect recipe as well as one of his classmate has dairy allergy. I sort of added olive oil into my canola oil and mixed it, as I ran out of canola and it was a Sunday. 😦 it taste wonderful! No olive after taste! Hahahaha… For this year I’ll make these cookies for his class to share as well.

  4. I just made these and they turned out very tasty, though they were more melty than crunchy. I halved the recipe, processed some granulated sugar, and used canola. Thanks for the great recipe :)!!

  5. Great postings! The food simply make me miss Malaysia more, but thanks for sharing recipes 🙂
    I was looking for rotiboy/Mexican bun recipes and chance upon our blog. Will you please email me the recipe? I was unable to leave a post there. Appreciate it!

  6. This is great! The cookies turned out very gooood. Although, I barely ate this before. I have question.. So, I need more oil than you suggested apparently, I don’t know why haha. Anyway, can oil affect the final result? Mine was melty on the outside and crunchy inside. My hubby & friends commented it was good as it was crunchy (inside).. How bout yours? Is it supposed to be crunchy inside out? Thank youuu!!

  7. Hi, I tried your recipe the other day, the cookies were delicious! However, the sugar in the cookies were not fully melted, I can taste the sugar Crystal while I was eating. How do I ensure that the sugar is melted?

    P.S. I am rather new to baking.

    Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Jess, sorry for late reply!

      What sugar did you use? You need to use caster sugar (finely ground) to ensure you can’t taste the sugar crystals. Normal sugar (granulated) isn’t fine enough.
      Hope that helps!

    1. Icing sugar makes a more tender (‘soft’) cookie, castor sugar makes a more ‘crunchy’ cookie. I find that having a bit of baking soda helps with the crunch too, but am not sure of the science behind it!

    1. Either. I prefer to dry fry in a pan as I have more control. You can also bake in a low 150’c oven, but you have to watch closely and toss/stir halfway to ensure they’re browned all over.

  8. i love this almond recipe !! it’s taste really wonderful.. it finished within a day, as my family likes it.. and it’s easy to make as i am new to baking.. but, can i use the fan-forced oven to bake it? and also, what if i let the dough to rest about 30 min or chill it, will it taste much better?? if i were to make more of number of the cookies, i just double or triple the recipe at once, right? thanks !! 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Glad you like the recipe.

      1. Yes, you can use a fan-forced oven (you may need to reduce the heat to 170’c, or cook for less time).
      2. Resting/chilling the dough makes it easier to handle – not sure about the taste.. you’ll have to try and report back!
      3. Yes, just 2x or 3x the recipe as required.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

  9. Hi! I just want to thank you for posting this lovely recipe up 🙂 Stumbled upon it while searching for CNY almond cookie recipes, and I am so glad I gave it a shot!

    I dry fried the ground almonds and chopped almond pieces (which I later added to the batter), and it really made the cookies more fragrant. Totally worth the extra effort! I also added about half a teaspoon of almond extract to enhance the almond flavor 🙂

    For others struggling with the amount of oil to add, the dough is not really that cohesive- my dough balls crumble on me when I’m not gentle enough. But with some care it is definitely workable! So be careful not to add unnecessary oil 🙂

  10. Hi I have been a silent reader for some time. I used the exact same recipe from another source, with fine grain sugar and it turns out to be “crunchy” as the sugar did not fully melt. To my surprise, people who tried like it still. They thought the crunch might have come from almond bits haha.. I thought of trying icing sugar but was afraid the outcome might be too floury as icing sugar is a mixture of cornstarch and sugar. Have u experimented with icing sugar before?

    I also noticed the bottom of the cookie to be slightly burnt at 180C and I tried 170C or 180C with shorter timeframes but it was not fragrant enough. I wonder is it a problem with the baking pan? Is it too hot? Any way to prevent it?

    Btw, I have made the peanut cookies with your “2:2:1:1 old school recipe” for a few years already. Its super popular and nice! 🙂

    1. I haven’t tried it with icing sugar, I think it would make the cookie much more “melt in the mouth” as opposed to “crunchy”. Did you use caster sugar, or was it granulated sugar? Sounds like it doesn’t matter though as you still enjoyed the result!

      If the cookies are browning too fast, I would turn the temperature down and cook for longer – 170’c is reasonable.

  11. Hello! Just tried out this recipe and the almond cookies taste amazing!

    However I need help on two questions of mine!

    1. Why wouldn’t the balls that I send to bake not hold its shape, but instead flatten out during baking? Is it because I added too much oil? But it felt rather on the wet side because the dough was a little hard to be rolled into a ball shape.
    2. The cookies on the left side of the pan browned at the bottom but not the right side cookies, any suggestions as to help with this?

    Thank you so much for the amazing recipe again! Would definitely make it again :>

    1. 1. If the dough wasn’t holding its shape well, it might have been too much oil, especially if you say it felt wet. In the future you can either add some extra ground almonds (if you have any) or flour.
      2. Uneven browning is due to uneven heat distribution in ovens – a very common problem (one that I have too!). Rotate your baking tray halfway through the baking time which will help both sides brown evenly.

      Hope that helps.

  12. Hi, yr recipe looks really good and I’ll like to try it. But ground almond is expensive. Can I use the ready to eat type of whole almond pack and ground them? Wondering if it will be bitter taste. Many thanks for your advise! K

    1. You can grind the almonds (use deskinned almonds) with a food processor, but it can be difficult to get them to a fine powder. You will still be able to make the cookies, but they will be slightly less “smooth” due to almond bits. Not necessarily a bad thing though!

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