The Year of the Snake!

Hello friends, and Happy New Year! Are you celebrating the Year of the Snake?

Before Nick and I had children, I would often go back to Vancouver to see my extended family for Chinese New Year. That’s all in the past, I’m afraid: can you imagine dragging a couple of little kids 5000km each way, just for a short holiday? Oh, the jet lag…

Still, I’m sad that my young children won’t have early, fond memories of the holiday parties, the feasting, the family time. We do our own small celebration in Kingston and I imagine they’ll be nostalgic about those memories, but it’s not really the same.

Funnily enough, though, my son’s school is creating its own celebration. Today in his kindergarten class, one of the teachers is cooking dragon noodles; there will be red paper envelopes with lucky money (a chocolate coin) inside; and my son and I baked almond cookies to share with everyone, to symbolize a sweet year.

And this is one lovely place where my far-flung family and my current community meet: in my mother’s recipe for Almond Cookies, which she’s made every year since I can remember. Here it is.

Almond Cookies

9 oz flour
6 oz butter
4 oz icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 oz ground almonds
Almond essence
Vanilla essence
That’s the entire recipe, as written! They were cryptic in the olden days.
– I use whole spelt flour and granulated sugar with no troubles
– I don’t measure the “essences”, but a 1/2 teaspoon of almond and 1 tsp of vanilla seems about right
– You need whole, blanched almonds for decoration, 1 per cookie.
– The recipe makes about 3 dozen small cookies.
– This is a crisp, subtle cookie. If you’re looking for a super-sweet, ooey-gooey, over-the-top cookie, you’ll be disappointed. If you love shortbread and almonds, though, they’re utterly addictive.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two or three baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg yolks, almond extract, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and ground almonds. Add the flour to the butter mixture. The dough should be stiff.
  3. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls, press a whole blanched almond into the top of each cookie, and arrange on baking sheets. These don’t grow much, so they can be 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until pale golden.
I hope you enjoy them! We certainly do.



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One Response to “The Year of the Snake!”

  1. MelodyJ says:

    I don’t celebrate but I’m always up for a good cookie recipe. Thanks!

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