Best Peanut Cookies : Chinese New Year Baking

It's going to be Chinese New Year in a few days time, hooray! If you're doing some baking, either for the fun of it, for the love of it or both, I highly recommend you trying out this peanut cookie recipe. Not only will you stop buying the manufactured ones from outside but you'll also have a hard time to resist them once the first one melts in your mouth. I've tried both variations, substituting icing sugar with castor sugar and vice versa, and personally I still prefer the absolutely melty and gorgeous ones with icing sugar. 

These peanut cookies will raise the standards for all peanut cookies and if you need a little more crunch, I'm sure you can try adding 1 tsp of baking soda! I'm not going to try to sell them to you anymore because you'll understand once you bake them yourself.(:

Traditional Chinese Peanut Cookies (花生餅)
(Adapted from Dodol  & Mochi Who Adapted from Amy’s)

* This recipe yields a rather big batch. *

600 g raw peanuts — preferably skinned
* I buy skinned large ground nuts, or kacang tanah besar in Bahasa Malaysia. *

325 g sugar — separated
* Sifted powdered sugar for a superfine, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Caster or granulated sugar for that little crunch in the melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Either way, they're good. *

375 g all-purpose flour — sifted once
½ ~ 1 tsp salt
* I like mine saltier with 1 tsp salt. *

3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
* Amy uses 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter and 1 Tbsp softened unsalted or salted butter. Albeit optional, I don’t think they should ever be skipped! *

Enough neutrally flavored oil - **I used around 350ml of oil.
* E.g. corn, sunflower-seed or rice-bran oil. Note: You’re going to need quite a fair amount of it. *

Enough peanut halves — skinned

1 egg — at room temperature
Pinch of salt

  1. Instead of roasting them in a wok with all the constant stirring and “shoveling” for a good chunk of the hour, I toast the peanuts in baking sheet(s), in an oven of 180°C for 15 minutes. By then, they should smell nuttier and look somewhat toasted. Remove the nuts from the oven and set aside to cool in the sheet(s) completely before use.
  2. In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulverize the toasted peanuts with about 60 g sugar until you get a finely ground texture, though, slightly larger bits here and there are inevitable. The cookies will turn out fine anyway.
  3. Combine the ground peanuts with the remaining sugar and (A), then mix in the peanut butter until it is well dispersed in the mixture.
  4. Mix in enough oil to the peanut-and-flour mixture, working it ever so slightly until you’ve gotten a dough that doesn’t fall apart and doesn’t stick to your hands badly. No fixed and fast rules here. Dough too wet and sticky? Mix in additional flour! Dough too dry and crumbly? Mix in more oil!
  5. Divide the dough into walnut-sized portions — or slightly smaller, if that’s what you prefer. Roll each into a ball and place on parchment-lined baking sheet(s). Gently press a peanut half slightly in the center of each of them.
  6. Lightly beat together (B) and apply this slightly salted egg wash on the shaped dough.
  7. Bake at 180°C, for 20 ~ 25 minutes, until the cookies look golden brown and slightly crackled. Don’t fret! The cookies will “shrink” up a wee bit as they cool.
  8. Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the baking sheet(s) for 5 minutes or so to set their underside. Then, carefully transfer the cookies to the cooling racks and let cool completely before storing airtight. These peanut cookies in fact taste better as they age.
** My personal notes.

* I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover*


Zoe said...

Hi Nigel,

I'm a Singaporean living in Melbourne. Love reading your blog. Great that you are sharing lots of great recipes especially the local ones. Cheers!


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