These are a staple in traditional Chinese restaurants. Unfortunately, the store-bought variety tends to be hard and tasteless. But this version is wonderfully light, with a crisp edge and chewy center. The traditional cookies are also a dull, dark yellow from an egg yolk wash. I use an egg white wash to get the same glazed effect in a creamy shimmer. Finally, the slivered almonds on top add a nice crunch and a fresh, toasted nut flavor.- Pichet Ong
Chinese Almond Cookies
By Pichet Ong, Author, The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts
Makes 3 dozen
1 3/4 cup (272 grams, 9 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (210 grams, 7 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (132 grams, 4 3/4 ounces) almond flour
1 cup (226 grams, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (60 grams, 2 1/8 ounces) slivered almonds
1 large egg white
1. Sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda and set aside. Put the almond flour, butter, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Paddle on medium speed until the mixture resembles cornmeal, 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the egg and almond extract and mix until well-incorporated. Turn the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until no traces of flour remain.
2. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a 1-inch thick disc, cover tightly, and refrigerate until hard, at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. Form the dough into 1/2-inch balls and put on the baking sheets 1 inch apart. Use the palm of your hand to press the balls into 1-inch circles. Press 4 slivered almonds into each cookie, decoratively arranging them to look like an X. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg white, then bake until golden and crisp around the edges, 15 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.