Saturday, 20 July 2013

Chinese Walnut Cookies

The Chinese emphasize a lot on auspicious things. What I mean is it is really important to eat auspicious food (normally food with auspicious sounding names), wear auspicious clothing (red or bright colours) especially on important days such as the Chinese New Year, or pick auspicious dates for certain events such as wedding. Even naming a new born child, the parents would pick auspicious words with significant meanings, or even go as far as consulting a fortune-teller to calculate the elements and signs to advise what name best suits the child and would bring good fortune and luck. 

The Chinese word for walnut is 核桃 (he tao - 'he' pronounced like 'her' without the 'r'). The word '核 he' has similar pronunciation to the words 和 'togetherness' and 贺 'celebration'. Since it was the one year anniversary for the cafe I work at, I thought walnut cookies would be an auspicious gift for my boss, congratulating them on their feat and wishing them good luck for the future. And because everyone that works there is like a family, I also wish that this family will stay together through thick and thin and work together towards making the cafe better.  

This was my first time attempting these little morsels. Although they didn't turn out as 'short' as I'd like them to be, they are still delicious. And what more, it is the intention and the meaning behind these cookies that count. And also, my boss likes them :P. 

[Walnut Cookies 核桃酥]
40g lightly toasted walnuts, finely chopped
250g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
120g shortening or butter 
90g finely ground raw sugar
1/2 tsp salt
30g egg (half a beaten egg)

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. 
2. Beat together shortening, sugar and salt until pale, light and fluffy. 
3. Add the egg and mix until well combined. 
4. Add in the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined. 
5. Add in the toasted chopped walnuts and mix until combine, forming a dough. 
6. Cover with cling film and let sit for approximately 20 minutes. 
7. Divide into little portions and gently roll into smooth balls. Flatten slightly, pressing down in the middle of the dough with your thumb. 
8. Place on pre-lined baking tray and bake in preheated to 170C oven for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. 

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