Chinese Almond Cookies – Fill the Cookie Jar

It is time to Fill the Cookie Jar with New Year’s Cookies. Be sure to scroll past the recipe to see the recipes from the other FTCJ Bloggers.

Since our posting date for this month’s challenge is a week after the start of 2016, I decided to pick a cookie for Chinese New Year (February 8 this year). Nope, not Fortune Cookie or the Feng Li Su (Pineapple Cakes) which I adore and could use some updated photos.

Instead I chose these crispy crunchy Chinese Almond Cookies.

Chinese Almond Cookies - crispy crunchy cookies with an almond in the center found at many Chinese restaurants. Recipe adapted from Martin Yan.

Have you ever had these in a Chinese restaurant? I have been in love with them since my childhood when I use to get some at the grocery store in “a little pink box tied with string”. Crunchy and almond-y and highly addicting.

Years ago I was given a signed copy of Martin Yan’s Feast (affiliate link!).

autograph of Martin Yan

As I lovingly perused this book when I received it, carefully marking pages of recipes to try I was beyond thrilled to find the recipe for my favorite cookies on the very last page! I could make them myself. And then I forgot about it for 15 years. Ooops! Seriously, I have made more than a few other recipes from this book (the Char-siu, Chinese Barbecued Pork, is one of my favorites), but somehow I never got around to these.

Now these are not exactly like the ones you find in the store or a restaurant. He uses butter and shortening instead of lard. And he also adds brown sugar. I borrowed the egg yolk wash from another recipe I discovered when I was looking for the name of these.

If you want them to look more “copycat” like, swap the brown sugar for more granulated sugar and maybe add a drop or two of yellow and red food coloring to make them a bit more pale orange.

If you cannot find blanched almonds in the store, fear not, it is so easy to do at home. Put the raw almonds (not salted, or flavored) in a bowl and cover with bowling water just until the skin begins to pucker, about 30-45 seconds.

how to blanch almonds

Don’t let it go any longer or the almonds will lose their crispness!

Quickly drain them and cover in ice water. Drain again and the skin should slide right off.

how to blanch almonds

Chinese Almond Cookies

Serves 40
Prep time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Occasion New Years Eve, Winter
Region Chinese
From book Martin Yan's Feast: The Best of Yan Can Cook
Chinese Almond Cookies - crispy crunchy cookies with an almond in the center found at many Chinese restaurants. Recipe adapted from Martin Yan.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 40 blanched almonds


  • 1 egg yolk


If you cannot find blanched almonds: put raw almonds in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over them just until the skin begins to pucker. Drain immediately. Cover with ice water for a few minutes. Drain and remove skins. Place almonds on a (paper) towel to blot dry


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until a dough forms.
Shape dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to two days).
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide dough into 4 parts, then each part into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Slightly flatten each ball into a disk and press an almond in the center. Brush with beaten egg yolk if desired.
Bake until lightly brown about 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Daily Dish Magazine

Until next time, happy eating.



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  1. Cynthia L

    I have had these cookies at a Chinese restaurant and loved them. I have never made them though. That is about to change. They look yummy. Thanks so much for being a part of the Fill The Cookie Jar group. I am always excited to see what you make.

    1. Audrey

      I don’t know what took me so long to get around to making them. They are so easy.

  2. Cindys Recipes and Writings

    Love this cookie! Almonds are so good for you!

    1. Audrey

      That’s good, because I ate more almonds that I used on the cookies. 🙂

  3. Saundra @ Famished Fish

    I always wanted to try these and now I have a recipe! Thank you!

    1. Audrey

      I hope you enjoy them!

  4. Tina

    Oh! I know what I am going to be making very soon! I love almonds!

    1. Audrey

      they are so yummy!

  5. Joanne/WineLady Cooks

    Excellent Audrey, what a great idea to focus on Chinese New Year. I would love to give your recipe a try, they look gorgeous and we do enjoy almonds.

    1. Audrey

      I thought I might be the only one to have that idea.

  6. Heather @ Join Us, Pull up a Chair

    They look really good and I love the little trick about removing the skin from almonds.

    1. Audrey

      I panicked when I realize I bought the wrong kind. Then I realized it was probably cheaper to buy raw and blanch them myself anyway.

  7. Walking on Sunshine Recipes

    I love these cookies! I haven’t had them in years. Thank you for sharing with Foodie Friends Friday linky party! Your recipe received the #3 most clicks and will be featured on Daily Dish Magazine tomorrow! Hope to see you again next week for another fun party!

    1. Audrey

      Eek! always exciting to make the feature on FFF! THANKS!

  8. Katie

    How interesting and different!!!! Pinned to my baking board – thanks for linking up at Happiness Is Homemade this week!

    1. Audrey

      Thanks, Katie!

  9. Jamie

    Oh, I love it!! We would always get these at the Chinese restaurant after dinner. My brother and I called them toenail cookies, since it always made us laugh!! I can’t wait to make my own! #HomeMattersParty
    Jamie recently posted…The Plans I Have For You Devotional and Journal Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    1. Audrey

      That is funny!

  10. Janie

    Hi Audrey,

    Your almond preparation technique is very useful for me. it helps me to make the delicious cookies.
    I will share your Chinese recipe to my friends.

    Thanks for good tips!
    Janie recently posted…SAVE REF SPACE: Useful Tips on How to Maximize Refrigerator Space?My Profile

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