Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Year of the Dragon~ January's Give-Away and Chocolate Almond Cookies

In eight days, on January 23rd, the Chinese New Year begins--the 4709th Chinese Year.  This year's celebration centers on the Year of the Dragon, so I have appropriately sewn an apron with whimsical dragons to honor it, as well as, created a Chocolate Almond Cookie for the sweetness of life.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year has become part of our family since the addition of our own little "Sweetness," Madison.  She brightens our life everyday with her precocious personality, sweet smile, and loving demeanor.
The Year of the Dragon is a legendary creature from the sky, which in China, means from heaven and a symbol of power.  The dragon is an auspicious animal and the 5-clawed one appears on the yellow imperial robe and nine dragons are engraved on the wall of the Forbidden City in Bejing, the imperial palace of the Ching Dynasty. 

Sweets are a part of the New Year and I remember when we were in Taipei in 2010, bringing Maddie home, the bakery cases were lined with all sorts of scrumptious desserts.  Pineapple cakes or turnovers caught my eye and I learned that pineapple means, "prosperity to come."  Today, I made a simple almond cookie, but added chocolate to the dough.  Easily you can omit the chocolate to make them more traditional, but like Maddie, these cookies are creative and different...in a good way!

Chocolate Almond Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond flour (Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur)
1/4 cup dark Dutch cocoa
1 large egg, separated--use on the yolk in the dough and save the white for attaching the almond
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

granulated sugar
almonds, blanched or with skins

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the both the extracts and the almond flour.  Beat on medium for 1 minute.  Add the egg yolk and beat to incorporate, scraping the sides.

Add the dry ingredients--flour, cocoa, and salt and with the mixer on medium, beat to combine.
Use a tablespoon scoop to measure out the dough.  Roll it into a ball and set on the parchment paper.
When you have the pan filled, use a tamper or the bottom of a glass, dipped in granulated sugar to press down on the cookies and flatten slightly.
Beat the egg white to break it up, then, dip the almond into it and press into the center of the cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. 
Remove to a rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough--you should be able to get 2 1/2 dozen cookies from this recipe.
I packaged the cookies in a Chinese take-out box to send to Maddie with a Dragon tag, wishing her a Happy New Year. 

This week, I'll be coming up with more sweet treats for the New Year to share. Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. Looking forward to making the cookies, thanks for posting the recipe Susan! Happy New Year too! Robin

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  2. what a great dragon apron. almond cookies sound good.
    stamping sue
    http://stampingsueinconnecticut.blogspot.com/

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  3. These would be great, right about now, with my morning coffee!

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  4. Oh man. Sweet treats for our sweet Maddie.

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