Old School Chinese Almond Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 egg yolks, divided

½ cup melted lard (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon almond extract

18 toasted almonds

Sift together all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Sift the mixture together again to make sure that all the ingredients are light and well-incorporated.

Next, beat 2 egg yolks into the room temperature lard. Beat in almond extract. Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, then knead the dough with your hand to create a dough ball. Try not to overwork the dough—it will be similar to a crumbly pie crust in texture. Cover with an overturned plate, and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and toast the almonds for 5 minutes. Cool completely before using. Beat the last egg yolk, and set it aside.

Now, raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Take the dough, and divide it into 18 equal pieces. Press and squeeze each into a small disc, and transfer to a baking sheet so the cookies are placed at least 2 inches apart (they will spread out). Brush all sides with the beaten egg yolk. Press one toasted almond onto the center of each dough ball. They may crack a little bit—that’s ok. Just gently squeeze them back together if there are particularly large cracks. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Recipe adapted from The Woks of Life.

Yield: 18 servings