China Dessertalmond cookies

Almond Cookies
(Makes 36)

Tasty morsels of almond- flavored dough with an almond nestled in the center.

1 C shortening
1 C sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 C blanched almonds (finely ground)
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
36 blanched almond halves
1 egg yolk
1 T water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix shortening and sugar in large bowl till smooth. Mix in egg, ground almonds, and extract. Sift flour, baking powder and salt; mix in gradually with dough. (Dough will be stiff.)

Shape dough into 36 small balls and place on greased baking sheets. Press almond-half on each ball and flatten with your hand to make a 2" cookie. Brush with egg yolk and water mixture; bake 20 minutes till golden.

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Tips & Glossary

Many ingredients used in Chinese cooking probably aren’t in your spice shelf, but you can find them at Asian grocery stores. To avoid frustration, make a list of the items before trying recipes.

Agar Agar: dried seaweed used as a gelatin. Buy it in sticks (or strips) and soak in cold water to soften.

Chili Oil: buy it or make your own. For a recipe, see Hunan Chicken.

Chinese Cabbage: aka “Nappa”;long, white stalks with light green crinkly leaves.

Deep Frying: use a deep-fry thermometer to reach the recipe's correct temperature; if the oil isn't hot enough, the food will be soggy. When cool, the oil can be strained, refrigerated, and re-used.

Dried Shrimp: tiny, salted, sun-dried shrimp that add a pungent flavor to Asian cooking. Soak before using.

Five-Spice Powder: blend of star anise, cinamon, cloves, fennel and Szechuan peppercorns. Like allspice.

Peppersalt: buy or make your own. Heat 2 T Szechuan peppercorns in skillet 5 min. Grind into powder and mix with 2 T salt.

Sauces: Hoisin (sweet, from soybeans); Oyster (like soy, from oysters); Sweet Bean (canned, salty, from soybeans); Hot Bean (hot & salty, from soybeans and peppers).

Sesame Paste: from gound sesame seeds; substitute with peanut butter.

Sweet Rice Powder: from glutinous rice; used in place of flour in many desserts.

Szechuan peppercorns: dried reddish berries, fragrant and mildly hot.


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