CHINESE ALMOND COOKIES

Happy Chinese New Year!   Chinese year 4714 began on February 8, and is the Year of the Monkey.  The monkey is the ninth animal in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle (other monkey years include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and  2004).

People born under the monkey sign are purportedly clever, and intelligent, especially in their careers and financial affairs.  “They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile,” and “their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life.”  But they are also “jealous, suspicious, cunning, selfish, and arrogant.”  They are perfect matches for those born under the sign of the ox and rabbit and are bad matches with those born under the sign of the pig and tiger.  Check your compatibility with monkeys here.

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I baked a batch of Chinese Almond Cookies.  I remember having these in Chinese restaurants as a kid growing up in New York, but I don’t see them anymore.  Give these a try — who knows, maybe your family will go ape for them.  :)

CHINESE ALMOND COOKIES
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Recipe type: Cookies
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2-3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ⅓ cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Cut butter into pieces and add to flour. Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the beaten egg and almond extract, and process until combined and dough forms. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Press an almond on top of each cookie. Using a pastry brush, brush tops of cookies with egg yolk mixture. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

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Ready for their egg wash

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The egg wash gives them a nice gloss

Beautifully golden and glossy

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I think they should start serving these in Chinese restaurants again

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Happy Year of the Monkey!

GRAPEFRUIT AND RED ENDIVE SALAD WITH BABY LETTUCES

I recently discovered Sweet Scarletts — sweet red grapefruit from the Rio Grande Valley.

scarletts

These are the sweetest grapefruits I have ever tasted.

IMG_2334 IMG_2337We’ve been enjoying them in salads, and thought I’d share one that was particularly nice.  I started with beautiful baby lettuces from Sustainable Harvesters, which I bought at the Eastside Farmers Market.  Next I added sliced red endive, grapefruit, and chopped pistachios.  Finally, I drizzled a simple dressing over it made with olive oil and Peach Balsamic Vinegar from Texas Hill Country Olive Company (which I also bought at the farmers market).  So pretty, and really great tasting.

GRAPEFRUIT AND RED ENDIVE SALAD WITH BABY LETTUCES
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Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 heads baby lettuces (a mix of red and green is pretty), chopped
  • 1 head red endive, sliced
  • 2 large red grapefruits, peel and pith removed, cut into sections (reserve 1 tablespoon juice for dressing)
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons peach balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon reserved grapefruit juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Divide lettuces among 2 salad plates. Scatter endive over lettuce. (Note: If you carefully slice the bottom of the endive and hold it together, you will have a rosette-like piece to place in the center of the salad). Arrange grapefruit sections over salad. Sprinkle pistachios over salad.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, peach balsamic vinegar, and grapefruit juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Great colors

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Slice the end of the endive carefully for a pretty endive rosette