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Test Recipes: Chinese Almond Cookies
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 16776766

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:21 pm    Post subject: Test Recipes: Chinese Almond Cookies Reply with quote


Article Digest:
Chinese-style almond cookies have been sold in the Chinatown of Los Angeles for over fifty years. When I found this copy cat recipe by Todd Wilbur, I knew I had to give it a try.

One of the ingredients in Todd Wilbur's recipe is lard. From experience, I knew the Armour brand lard just wouldn't do. (In the past, when I used Armour lard in sweet pastries, it seemed to produce weird off flavors.) After asking every one of my local supermarkets and boutique grocers for high quality leaf lard, I realized that I was not going to be able to find it. So, I tried the recipe with butter and with Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening (which is made with mechanically pressed organic palm fruit oil that hasn't been additionally processed in any way). Both recipes were delicious - as expected, the shortening almond cookies had a lighter, crispier texture, but not quite as much fullness of flavor. Many tasters did comment that the shortening made almond cookies had a stronger almond flavor and may have tasted a little sweeter. In the end, the recipe I recommend is has a mix of both butter and shortening. If you do choose to use shortening, I recommend avoiding any that contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

For the all butter recipe, I assembled all the ingredients: 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (60 g) almonds), 1 cup (200 g) sugar, 1 large egg, 12 ounces butter, 1 ounce water, 1 teaspoon almond extract, and 24 almonds.
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I used a blender to grind the 60 g almonds into a fine powder. Because the almonds had a tendency to stick to the sides of the blender carafe, I had to use a spatula to scrape down the sides a few times to get an even grind.
[IMG]

This is what the almonds looked like after the grind.
[IMG]

I whisked the flour, salt, baking soda, and freshly ground almond powder together.
[IMG]

Then I used a stand mixer to cream the butter (shortening or butter/shortening combination) with the sugar, egg, almond extract, and water. If the butter isn't fully softened, the sides of the mixing bowl will need to be scraped down once or twice before the mixture will be smooth and without lumps.
[IMG]

I added the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mixed briefly to combine. I then formed the dough into 1-in. dough balls. I then pressed an almond or almond half onto the top of each ball. Refrigerating the dough balls for fifteen minutes results in better shaped cookies. If the dough contains no butter and only shortening, refrigerating makes no noticeable difference. For the record, the recipe yields about four half sheet pans with six dough balls each. These cookies spread out while baking, so a decent amount of space (about two inches) is needed between the balls.

I then took another large egg and beat it lightly. Using a pastry brush, I brushed egg onto the surface of each dough ball.
[IMG]

After baking for twenty minutes in a 350F (175C) oven, I cooled them on a wire rack.

[IMG]

Chinese Almond Cookies (makes 24 cookies)
Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flourwhiskmixform into 1-in. (2.5 cm) ballspress almond onto each ballrefrigerate 15 minutesbrushbake 250F (175C) 20 min.cool on wire rack
1 tsp. (4.6 g) baking soda
1/2 (3 g) tsp. salt
1/2 cup (60 g) almondsgrind to powder
6 oz. (170 g) buttercream
6 oz. (170 g) palm oil shortening
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp. (5 mL) almond extract
1 large (50 g) egg
1 ounce (30 mL) water
24 almonds
1 large eggbeat lightly

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Sonali
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: aluminum foil ? Reply with quote

Looks yummy. Can a oiled aluminum foil be used instead of parchment paper on the baking sheet ?

I would appreciate if you could check out my foodblog & give your feedback. Thanks !

Sonali
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Sonali
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops..forgot to list my blog. here it is :

http://spicehut.blogspot.com


-Sonali
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:56 pm    Post subject: Re: aluminum foil ? Reply with quote

Sonali wrote:
Looks yummy. Can a oiled aluminum foil be used instead of parchment paper on the baking sheet ?

It is actually not necessary to use parchment paper or foil. I did a batch directly on the sheet pan and it came out just fine. You do spend a tiny bit more energy cleaning the pan because there will be more fat on the pan than if you had lined it.
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blessedmomma



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject: grinding almonds, or any other nut for that matter Reply with quote

will I get acceptable results using a small coffee bean grinder or a hand held blender? You know the small wand blenders?
Thanks, Heather
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:54 pm    Post subject: Re: grinding almonds, or any other nut for that matter Reply with quote

blessedmomma wrote:
will I get acceptable results using a small coffee bean grinder or a hand held blender? You know the small wand blenders?
Thanks, Heather

Chances are if you use an immersion or stick blender you'll make a mess as the almond pieces get flung everywhere. A coffee grinder will work perfectly fine however.
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Shannon
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:05 am    Post subject: shipping Reply with quote

These cookies are my mother's favourites and I would like to make a batch and send them to her. It would take about 4 days from making the cookies for them to arrive at her door. Will the cookies still be moist if I put them in a airtight container or vacuum bag?
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nyangelina
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:06 pm    Post subject: i love almond cookies Reply with quote

thank you for posting this recipe. I've been looking for this for awhile.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: shipping Reply with quote

Shannon wrote:
It would take about 4 days from making the cookies for them to arrive at her door. Will the cookies still be moist if I put them in a airtight container or vacuum bag?

These cookies were never all that moist (unless using the all butter version - then they are a little tender) - they're light and crispy... Four days should be fine - she'll probably need to eat them within the next two or three days after she receives them though.
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*morningstar



Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Posts: 15
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the recipe and on the top of the recipe card, it says to bake at 350, but in the recipe card it says 250. Is this a typo?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: typo

Yes it was. Fixed!
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Not An Artist



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made these yesterday and they are delicious!

Only one quibble ~ 6 ounces (butter, shortening) is not 120 grams, it is more like 168 grams.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not An Artist wrote:
Only one quibble ~ 6 ounces (butter, shortening) is not 120 grams, it is more like 168 grams.

Ah, you're right. I was doing some quick mental math on 340 g divided by two is of course 120 g (I'm an idiot Smile ). I've made the changes - it's 170 g. That's for catching that error!
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Alex
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must the almonds be blanched to make the almond meal?
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hitchhiker72
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:50 pm    Post subject: Great site Reply with quote

I began reading this site when it just began but forgot about it for a while and only just rediscovered it. It's really gone from strength to strength! Going to try out some of the recipes....

Thank you!
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