Although I’ve been eating the stuff for years, it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve realised that I can make my own celebratory food for Chinese New Year. Last year I tackled the traditional Chinese New Year’s cake (年糕), and I was surprised to learn that although it was time consuming, it was quite easy to make.
This year, I decided to make peanut cookies, or 花生饼, which turned out to be even easier than the cake and super tasty! Rolling the dough into balls can take a long time, so I highly recommend you get someone to help with that to speed up the process.
These Chinese peanut cookies are neither chewy nor crunchy, but are incredibly crumbly and almost melt in the mouth as you eat them. They are sweet and very peanutty – and let me assure you that you will not be able to stop at one! I would have no hesitations making these all year round, but I think restricting myself to eating them only at Chinese New Year makes it a bit more special when we do have them :)
I wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year and may the Year of the Snake bring you good fortune and prosperity!
Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies
recipe from A Table for Two
300g peanuts, fried/roasted
200g castor sugar
250g all purpose flour
200ml of vegetable oil (use sparingly and use only enough to bind the mixture, around 150ml – 170ml)
1 teaspoon salt
handful of peanuts, halved
1 beaten egg
1. Grind the roasted peanuts till fine and put them in a large mixing bowl. The oil from the ground peanut will make them stick into lumps, use fingers to break them apart.
2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into the peanut mixture and mix them together until well combined.
3. Drizzle half of the oil into the bowl, use hand and knead the mixture together.
4. Pour the rest of the oil while still kneading the mixture until all the sugar has melted and you can roll the mixture up into a ball without sticking to the bowl or your fingers. Then test it with a small lump of the mixture and roll into a ball between your palms. If it doesn’t crumble, then your mixture is ready. If not, add just bit more oil until you can roll them into a ball.
5. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Wash, clean and dry your hands. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into your palm, and roll them into small balls then place on the baking tray with baking paper.
6. Put a little halved peanut on top of each ball, then brush some beaten egg on top of the ball as a glaze. Put in the oven for 15-17 mins or until golden brown.
7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container.