I posted these cookies a long time ago, but I recently received a request for the recipe again, so this one's for you Phyllis - Enjoy!
These cookies are a long-time family favorite going back to my childhood - and they're a particular favorite of one of my brothers. The original recipe was lost during a move many years ago, and despite our trying, we were unable to find a suitable replacement. We had all but given up when I stumbled upon this recipe and thought it looked promising. But to be completely sure, I needed to know if they would pass my brothers scrutiny. So the next time we got together, I placed a container full of these tasty morsels in front of him and opened the lid. He gasped, and exclaimed, "Chinese Almond Cookies!" He then proceeded to eat nearly all of them - so yeah, they passed the test.
Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer and combine well. Use a #50 scoop to portion the dough. Knead each portion 5 or 6 times to soften, then roll into a ball, make an indentation with your thumb, and press a blanched almond into the depression.
If the dough cracks like the ball on the right, knead it a few more times and try again.
Pop them into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
The cookies should barely turn a very light golden brown color.
These cookies are soft and chewy and will remain that way if you store them in an airtight container.
Chinese Almond Cookies
makes about 40 cookies
2 ¾ cups (365g) all purpose flour
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)
1 cup (176g) vegetable shortening
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
40 blanched almond (optional)
To Blanch Almonds:
Boil almonds in water for 1-2 minutes until the brown papery skins start to loosen and wrinkle.
Remove from boiling water and cool in ice water.
Drain and slip skins off by gently pinching one end of the almond. The nuts should slip right out of their skins.
Allow almonds to dry.
To Make Dough:
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the flour mixture and shortening until combined.
Add the egg, milk, and almond extract; mix well.
To Bake the Cookies:
Use a #50 cookie scoop to evenly portion dough and knead in the palm of your hands 5 or 6 times, then roll into balls; place balls of dough on a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan, 12 at a time.
Make a depression in the center of each ball of dough with your thumb and gently press a blanched almond into the depression.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until they just start to turn light golden around edges.
Cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.