Chinese Almond Cookies

Macau Almond Cookies

Makes 1 dozen medium-sized cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup almond powder

3/4 cup mung bean flour

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tsp almond extract

2 Tbsp water

flour, for prepping cookie mold

Equipment:

mixing bowl

almond cookie mold

pastry brush

cookie sheet lined with parchment

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients together until you get an evenly mixed cookie dough. The dough will look crumbly and on the dry side, but should stick together when you firmly press the crumbs together.

2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Dust the inside of the mold generously with flour using a pastry brush. Take care to get into all the nooks and crannies of your mold design. Stuff the mold with the correct amount of dough until it is just full. Press the dough in firmly.

3. Give the mold a hard and deliberate smack against a durable, edged surface to release them. Use one hand to hold the mold and your other hand to catch the cookie, or use the release technique I used when making mooncakes. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies look just set on the outside. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool while still on the hot baking sheet. Let the cookies cool completely before serving. Happy Chinese New Year!!

Fried Red Bean Puffs

I think I need to go to Hong Kong..

Fried Red Bean Puffs

15 – 17 puffs

Ingredients:

– 300g glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour) (separated)

– ½ cup cold water

– 1 cup water

– 100g Chinese brown sugar in pieces or light brown sugar

– 220g smooth red bean paste

– vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

In a baking sheet, lined with a few layers of paper towels. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, add 100g glutinous rice flour. Slowly pour in ½ cup cold water. Stir and mix with one hand until the dough comes together. If it is too dry, add little more water. If it is too wet, add little more flour. Pinch the dough into about 1-inch irregular pieces.
In a medium pot, add 1 cup water and the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-low heat. Cook until the sugar has melted. Add the dough pieces and cook through, about 3 – 5 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add 150g rice flour. Stir together with a wooden spatula.
On a lightly floured (rice flour) working surface, place the hot dough over. Add another 40g of rice flour. Carefully knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is sticky, add little more flour. Divide the dough into 2 parts.
Roll 1 part of dough into ¼-inch thick with a rolling pin. Use a 3½-inch round cutter to cut out rounds. Repeat with the other part of dough. Gather the scrapes and roll it into ¼-inch thick dough again. Continue to cut out rounds. Make 15 – 17 rounds in total.
Place about 1 tablespoon red bean paste in the center of each round. Fold the dough over to make half-moon shape. Press the edges firmly to seal.
In a wok or medium pot, add enough vegetable oil to reach 1-inch deep. Heat the oil to 350˚F (160˚C). Fry the puffs in patches until golden brown, turning them often for even cooking. Transfer the finished puffs to the prepared baking sheet. Let them drain and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips:

Glutinous rice flour can be found in Chinese supermarkets or Amazon.
Chinese brown sugar in pieces can be found in Chinese supermarkets. Learn a bit more here.
I made my own red bean paste. For a short cut, you can buy pre-made one from store or Amazon. It won’t be as good, but easier.
If the dough gets hard and dry during the kneading process, add a little bit of warm water to soften it.
The ¼-inch wrappers seem very thick. But once they are fried, they will be thinner.
To make the wrappers easier to wrap, roll the red bean paste into half-moon shape.
When enjoying the puffs, make sure they are cool enough to eat. I burnt my tongue while doing a taste test. Ouch!
The puffs will not taste as good when they are cooled. Reheat them in microwave for 15 seconds. They will be warm again, but soften with a chewy texture.