The Project : Food in China

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The almond cookie is believed to have been derived from the ancient Chinese walnut cookie (a butter cookie with a walnut in the center), which was thought to bring good luck. The almond cookie originated as Chinese biscuit, but in order to save money, they flattened it in the 1800s, and the walnut was replaced with the almond. They flattened it because the ingredients were becoming more expensive.


2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226g) butter, margarine, or lard, softened
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
48-50 whole almonds, blanched

Glaze: (optional)
2 egg yolks beaten with 4 teaspoons of water for glaze
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C.

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Cut in softened butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add beaten egg, and almond extract, mix well.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Place an almond on top of each cookie and press down to flaten slightly.

Glaze: (optional)
Lightly brush the top of each cookie with the egg yolk glaze.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. Cool on rack.

Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen cookies.