Chinese Hazelnut Cookies + Happy Chinese New Year

Here’s why I love Chinese New Year:-

  1. New Year Eve  is when all the family members gather and have reunion dinner. We always had food cooked by my grandma and aunties. Mostly are my uncles and aunties’ favourite childhood dishes. So you’ll be looking at a crowded table filled with traditional Chinese food like braised pork knuckles, braised ducks with yam, steamed fish and stir fry garlic shoots with prawns….what I called hardcore Chinese food, hehe!
  2. Staying up late especially on the eve of New Year. This is the time when all the women and girls gather in the kitchen, catching up on relative gossips (juicy!) while filling up containers with goodies to entertain guests for the next few days of the Chinese New Year. Yes, we smother our guests with piles of cookies, roasted nuts and seeds and candies! This is also a perfect time for us to taste test all the goodies – just for quality control *wink* wink*.
  3. Visiting other distant families – a great opportunity to savour what goodies they have in store for us. :P
  4. Show off your new clothes. There’s always an under the table competition which lady has the best red dress and bling. ;)
  5. Observe the elders playing mahjong. Although I don’t get the game, it’s still fun to watch the “tension” and suspense developed over the course of the game. Did I mention this game can last all night long? In my family, the winner always ended up paying for dinner (willingly of course!). This is what I call no win, no lose situation. :P
  6. Red packets –> money, money, money! Too bad we only get red packets when we were children (this may be different for every family). So this pleasure no longer applies. Oh well.
  7. And, of course spending quality time with family members that we don’t meet often. (You know I have to add this for good measure ;))

Anyway, I’d love to hear about your family tradition when it comes to celebratory occasion similar to this.

A happy Chinese New Year to those who are celebrating!

This is one of those occasions which made me miss home more than ever. I hope you had a great time with family and friends. :)

The following is a simple greeting card I made for you guys…and Chinese cookies which are a must to entertain guests. Just so you know, the traditional kind is made with peanut meal but I wasn’t going to make my own peanut meal so I’ve used store-bought hazelnut meal instead.

Chinese Hazelnut Cookies

(tweaked slightly from tasteglobet)

Makes about 55 cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes to get the ingredients together

another 15 – 20 minutes to shape the cookies using the bottle cap as a mould

Baking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g (about 5.3 oz) self-raising flour
  • 80g (2.8 oz) icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda (aka baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract / essence
  • 110g (3.9 oz) corn oil – that’s right, you weigh the oil!
  • 80g (2.8 oz) hazelnut meal (it’d work with any kind of nut-based meal i.e. almond, peanuts etc)
  • 1 egg yolk  (or 1tbsp milk mix with 1 tsp water) – this will be the egg or milk wash

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C / 338 degrees F. Line your baking tray with  parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Sift together flour, icing sugar, salt and bicard into a large mixing bowl.

  • Stir in hazelnut meal into the flour mixture.

  • Using either a spoon or your hand, stir in oil and vanilla extract until mixture forms a soft ball of dough.
  • To shape the cookies:

Option 1: Pinch off a teaspoon full of dough and roll into small balls. Then place on your baking tray and flatten slightly with your fingers; OR

Option 2: Mould the dough using a bottle cap.  Line the cavity of  a bottle with cling wrap and press dough into the cavity until it is level with the top of the cap. Pull out the cling wrap to release the dough and place on your baking tray. This will ensure each cookie is uniformly sized.  FYI – I’ve used a 600ml (20 fluid oz) water bottle. Although this may seem small, due to the crumbly  and melt-in your-mouth nature of the cookies, you want them to be bite sized like popcorns. Otherwise, the crumbs will drop all over your new dress and we don’t want that, do we? :)

  • Brush cookies with egg or milk wash.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the top of the cookies have dried out and the bottoms are golden brown.

 
18 Responses to Chinese Hazelnut Cookies + Happy Chinese New Year
  1. Angie's Recipes
    February 3, 2011 | 10:48 am

    Beautiful cookies! And what a brilliant idea of using bottle cap to mould the cookies!
    Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!
    Angie

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:22 am

      Thanks Angie. I thought it was a good idea too. But I think it took a little longer than rolling by hand. That’s the price you pay for uniformity! ;)

  2. Adora's Box
    February 3, 2011 | 1:26 pm

    I just love the texture of crumbly Chinese cookies. These just look so moreish. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:25 am

      Thanks Adora! May I also add that these were so addictive??? I was popping them into my mouth while taking photos.By the my beloved came back from work, they were almost half finish…and I have to lie that the recipe doesn’t yield many cookies, haha!

  3. Helen (grabyourfork)
    February 3, 2011 | 3:40 pm

    Love this tasty variation on peanut cookies. And ah it’s been ages since I’ve played mahjong. I used to play with my Grandma – she was quite a fiend!

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:28 am

      That’s thing with mahjong….it brings out the “competitiveness” in people…(my nice way of putting it. :) Surprisinly unlike other games, this requires a lot of thinking apparently…maybe that’s why until this day I still can’t understand the game, haha!

  4. Lisa
    February 3, 2011 | 7:54 pm

    Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit!!!
    These look delightful. I just made some peanut cookies this morning. Next time, I might try it with hazelnuts!

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:34 am

      Thanks Lisa…Happy Chinese New Year to you too! :) Hope you’ll like the hazelnut version.

  5. Joy
    February 3, 2011 | 9:21 pm

    I am loving these cookies. They look great.

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:35 am

      Thanks Joy! They taste great too! ;)

  6. chocolatesuze
    February 3, 2011 | 10:10 pm

    a bottle cap! that is brilliant! my cookies were all sorts of weird shapes haha i have portioning issues lol

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:37 am

      Yes I must agree with you that it’s brilliant. ;)
      Despite you get various shapes, I think it’s faster rolling by hand right? Maybe my bottle cap was too small, I was getting impatient towards the end….hehe!

  7. OohLookBel
    February 3, 2011 | 11:38 pm

    Your cookies look even better than the ones in Chinese bakeries. I wonder if they use a bottle cap to shape them? It’s brilliant!

    • Emily
      February 4, 2011 | 12:39 am

      Not a professional baker myself, thanks for such a wonderful compliment. :) I think they probably have a mould machine of some sort…the bottle cap is taking me quite some time or perhaps, I’m too comfortable with rolling-by-hand-and-flattened-with-a-fork method, hehe!

  8. A little bit of everything
    February 4, 2011 | 4:15 am

    Happy Chinese New Year Emily
    love the traditions in your family, back home we used to gather all the family on Easter/Christmas/New Year and have tons of food, lots of gossips and cigar (just men) Here in Us is so different.

    Those cookies sound delicious. love the idea of using a cap as a mold. thanks for sharing.
    have a wonderful rest of the week

  9. meemsnyc
    February 4, 2011 | 5:55 am

    Happy New Year. Ooh these cookies look awesome. Like many others, our tradition is that we have a nice dinner for new years.
    http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2011/02/gong-hay-fat-choy.html

  10. Christina_Cookie Gifts
    February 4, 2011 | 6:13 pm

    The Chinese Hazlenut cookies look great, what a perfect way to ring in the new year!

  11. Angela FRS
    February 5, 2011 | 11:01 pm

    Love the bottle cap technique! These look like a delicious alternative to almond cookies.

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