Chinese Almond Cookies

I admire so many things about the Asian cultures, people and their food. I especially love that I get to share in a bit of the culture by living in multicultural Western Sydney. The hustle and bustle of the marketplace, people calling out for you to try their fresh produce, families enjoying freshly made meals, teaching their children about their roots, just fills me with joy!

I wanted to try making something traditional to celebrate Chinese New Year 2019. If you frequent Asian grocery stores like I do, there’s a good chance that you will have seen these cookies before. Some of you may have even had these as treats growing up. The soft, crumbly, almond flavoured delicacies are truly amazing, especially paired with a cup of tea! The great thing about them is, you can have them any time of the year…

Give them a go, with my version of the traditional recipe, below.

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Meal

2 cups Plain flour

1 cup cubed Butter

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

Method:

1) Cream together the butter and sugar.

2) Add in the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and almond extract and combine to form a dough.

3) Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour at least.

4) Roll the dough into balls, place them on a greased and lined baking tray, and flatten them slightly with your palm.

5) Give each cookie a slight egg wash, and place one piece of sliced almond in the centre of each.

6) Bake the cookies in a pre- heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown.

** the cookies will be soft, but will harden slightly as they cool. Don’t be impatient, leave them on the tray to cool completely before packaging the cookies.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and that you have a go at making these cookies for your loved ones! If you would like to collaborate with me, or, if you would like to make any suggestions or even provide some feedback, please feel free to contact me.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @nazzybaker and like and share this post with your friends.

Until next time…. happy baking!

xxx Nazzy Baker xxx

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Nazzy Bakers honey and cinnamon almond Baklava

A long title for this version of a sweet that is believed to have originated in the Ottoman Empire.

A walk through Paddy’s markets in Sydney, saw me purchasing a variety of dried fruit, nuts and an array of trinkets that I thought would be a good idea at the time, until I came home and had nowhere to store them. The fruits and nuts on the other hand, well they have certainly come in handy in my experimental baking sessions. The nuts I chose for this recipe, were honey and cinnamon coated almonds.

I was also lucky enough to get my hands on some freshly farmed honey from my Mother in law (with her permission). These two beautiful fresh ingredients screamed Baklava to me, and I would suggest that the reason why would be that Ramadan is coming up in the next few months. I know tonnes of people that would enjoy a piece of Baklava and a cup of tea after a long day of fasting, and for my friends that don’t fast, well, you could enjoy them anytime you like.

So, without further ado, herewith my recipe:

Nazzy Bakers Honey and Cinnamon Almond Baklava:

Ingredients:

375g Fillo Pastry

500g crushed honey and cinnamon coated almonds

2 tblsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup of honey

3/4 cups water

2 tblsp Cinnamon powder

1 cup of softened butter

Method:

1) Prepare the syrup by boiling together the honey, sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon powder for approximately 8 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool off the heat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2) Grease and line a loaf tin, and layer the Fillo pastry, one sheet at a time into the tin, brushing each sheet well with butter before adding the next sheet. Once you have layered 8-10 sheets of pastry, add your crushed almonds, and continue to layer 5 sheets of pastry (brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next). Add another layer of the nuts, and continue to layer another 5 sheets of pastry, again brushing each sheet with butter. Repeat this process until your nuts are finished, but remember to leave about 10 sheets of pastry to brush with butter and create the flaky top layer of the Baklava.

* Fillo pastry dries out quickly. To prevent this, cover the pastry when not in use with a damp tea towel.

3) Brush the top layer with butter, and sprinkle over some cinnamon sugar. Cut the Baklava diamond shapes at this stage (before baking)

4) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius until the pastry is golden brown and cooked.

5) Remove the tin from the oven and pour over the cooled syrup straight away so that the Baklava remains crisp and not soggy. (You May hear a slight sizzle – don’t be alarmed)

* I got a bit worried at this point, as the syrup was taking a while to penetrate the layers. This is normal!

6) Allow yourself to walk away, and let the magic happen for approximately 3 to 6 hours (depending on your level of patience). My breaking point was 3 hours the bare minimum!

7) Break apart the diamond shapes and plate up your gorgeous Baklava. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week! *You probably won’t need to*

Here it is:

I hope you have enjoyed this post:) If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Facebook messenger, or by email : nazzybaker@gmail.com

Don’t forget to like and share this idea with anyone that you think would enjoy it!

xx NaZzYbAkEr xx

Nazzy’s take on the Argentinian Alfajores 

Friday nights at my place are usually spent watching the food network, Food Safari on sbs, The Living Room’s chef Miguel, and Better Homes and Gardens fast Ed. (It’s a battle of the channels, flicking to each show during ad breaks)

Last Friday night I was inspired by an Argentinian Chef who made the traditional caramel cookie called Alfajores.

Alfajores can be described as a crumbly shortbread cookie, sandwiched with a caramel filling also known as dulce de Leche.

On Saturday morning, I set out to shop for all the ingredients I needed to make the Alfajores. I was determined to nail this recipe so that I can make it again for Eid celebrations in 3 weeks time 🙂

I happened to do just that! They were a huge success, and were demolished in no time by family and friends – which is always a good sign.

Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups flour

2 1/2 cups corn flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup butter

3/4 cups white sugar

3 egg yolks

1tsp vanilla essence

2 cups Dulce de Leche ( thick milk caramel)

Method:

1) Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

2) Add the vanilla essence and beat to combine

3) Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating them into the butter and sugar mixture until fully mixed in

4) Add the baking soda and baking powder and mix again

5) Add in the flour and corn flour, and gently fold through until the mixture forms a dough. This part can get messy, and it helps to use your hands to form the dough.

6) Once the dough is made, wrap it in cling wrap, and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

7) Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper, and then using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds.

8) Once cut, place the dough circles onto a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown.

9) Allow the cookie rounds to cool on a cooling rack

10) Sandwich the cookie rounds together by piping onto one round, the dulce de Leche, and then top with another cookie round.

11) Serve your Alfajores with a cup of tea or coffee 🙂

These are mine:


I hope you have enjoyed this post:) If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Facebook messenger, or by email : nazzybaker@gmail.com
Don’t forget to like and share this idea with anyone that you think would enjoy it!
xx NaZzYbAkEr xx