Monday, 30 July 2012

Chinese Almond Cookies for the Olympics

Chinese Almond Cookies

One of my friends is running an "inverse sweepstake" for the Olympics. The idea is that you don't have to put in any money to participate, but there are also no prizes - just penalties. Luckily for me, the penalties involve baking, so I was happy to sign up.

Each person is allocated a country (I drew China), and penalty events might occur at any time throughout the Olympics, including:
  • a competitor from your country setting a world record
  • your country taking bronze, silver, and gold in the same event
  • Mayor of London Boris Johnson insulting your country (during the Olympics)
  • a competitor from your country failing a drugs test
There are twenty-odd different penalties in all. And, of course, the most important is the one that has caught me out: a competitor or team achieving a score which is an exact multiple of 100. Yesterday, the Chinese women's archery team scored exactly 200 points in their first round, narrowly beating the Italians (who scored 199!) before going on to take the silver medal. This nice round score means I had to bake for the other sweepstake participants.

Since my country is China, I decided I wanted to make things more interesting (read: harder for myself) and bake Chinese treats. These almond cookies are light and crumbly, and make a nice change from my usual baking.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Almond Cookie Recipe
Makes 35-40

350g (2 cups) plain flour
½tsp baking powder
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
240g (1 cup, 2 US sticks) butter
200g (¾cup) white sugar
1 egg
2½tsp almond essence
40 whole almonds
2-3tbsp milk

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt in a large bowl (sift if necessary to remove any lumps).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the egg and almond essence to the butter and sugar, and beat to form a homogeneous mixture.
  4. Combine with the flour to form a soft dough, press it together with your fingers, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) before shaping the cookies.
  6. Form the dough into small balls, about the size of a walnut (in its shell).
  7. Roll each ball between your palms to make a smooth sphere.
  8. Space the balls out on a baking sheet, about ten to a sheet (they will spread to double or three times their original size, so leave plenty of space)
  9. Press an almond into the top of each ball, and flatten (to about 1cm thick) with the palm of your hand.
  10. Brush the top of each cookie with a little milk.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on the trays for a couple of minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack.


christine said...

these sound lovely and light, oh, and almondy, gotta be a winner:)x

joanne fox said...

A fun idea and a nice recipe too!

Slamdunk said...

I love your way of celebrating the Olympics Rachel. And, I am always game for cookies--yum.

Rachel said...

It sounds a good deal more interesting than the usual sweepstake!

Mike Harvey said...

That sounds like a fun idea. It's a good job that it's gold, silver and bronze and not gold, silver or bronze otherwise you'd need to go into production line mode the way the Chinese seem to be going.


Andrew Graeme Gould said...

What a clever idea, Rachel! The cookies look and sound delicious!

Roz said...

What a great addition for a Chinese or Asian dinner! Hope you're enjoying the Olympics!

AVCr8teur said...

That is some tough competition and your cookies turned out great!

Blond Duck said...

How cute!

Mo said...

What a fun game. Who got the badmington teams?

BusyMomofTwins said...

Visiting from SITS. These look wonderful!

Gillian said...

What a great idea, your biscuits look delicious, trouble is I probably wouldn't do too well as my baking skills are not up to scratch. One of my goals was to make some headway this Summer but I've yet to start :(

Fitnessbuster supporting you in improving your fitness and nutrition.

Michelle Ordever said...

What a fun way you celebrated the Olympics! The cookies look and sound delicious - going to pin these to make soon!

Thanks for sharing this at #FlashbackFridays!

lynda - Healthy crafty mommys said...

Visiting from flashback fridays :) These look exactly like the ones in the restaurant. I love Chinese cookies /:)

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