Traditional peanut cookies, a must have for the Chinese New Year. Unable to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my family this year makes me extremely homesick and nostalgic, especially missing all the delicious food the most. And the peanut cookie is one of them I am craving for. We used to make this cookie at home every new year, my mum and sister will just sit in the kitchen whole day, roasting and chopping peanuts, then roll them into balls. And usually I will be on the duty putting the little peanut on top of each of them before baking them in the oven. The peanut cookie will smelled up the whole house and you simply couldn’t resist the temptation to steal one or two of the cookies when they are straight out of the oven.
Useless Fact: Peanut is actually not a nut? Peanut is actually an edible pea, and because it is grown underground, with a nutty flavour, hence the name : Pea + Nut = Peanut. Although a peanut is not a nut, in the culinary arts peanuts are utilised similarly to nuts.
This Chinese New Year peanut cookie is absolutely out of this world! It is extremely soft and crumbly. Once you put in your mouth, it will just crumble and melt into a smooth peanut paste! Oh so good is like eating a whole spoonful of peanut butter inside your mouth. I find myself eating one after another, non stop. It is highly addictive!
You probably won’t believe me if I tell you how easy it is to make this cookie again. Is true!!! All you need is lots of ground peanuts, canola oil, flour, sugar, salt and that’s it! That’s right, no butter needed! You can grind your peanuts to very smooth and fine, but I prefer a bit of texture in the cookie so I grounded the peanuts coarsely with an electric grinder. When you have all the mixture in a bowl, it should be moist and oily, but non sticky. You should be able to roll a spoonful of mixture into a ball without crumble. This is the part best to get the kids involve for some rolling fun.
I’ve seen many versions of this peanut cookie with a simple circle imprint on top by pressing the back end of a ball point pen on it. But I stick to our traditional ways how we usually make them by putting 1 quarter of the peanut on top. A little bit more peanut won’t hurt. However, stacking them up in a container with the little peanut poking out can be bit challenging.
Ingredients (my version derived from this recipe)
(yield 30 – 40 cookies)
1. 300g peanuts, fried/roasted and ground until fine
2. 200g castor sugar
3. 250g all purpose flour
4. 200ml of canola oil (use sparingly and use only enough to bind the mixture)
5. teaspoon salt
6. handful of peanuts, fried/roasted, halved then cut into quarter when still hot.
7. one egg white for the glazing finishing touch
1. Preheat the oven at 200°C and lay out 2 baking sheets with greased baking paper or silicone mat.
2. Grind the roasted peanuts till fine and put them in a large mixing bowl. The oil from the ground peanut will make them stick into lumps, use fingers to break them apart.
3. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into the peanut mixture and mix them together until well combined.
4. drizzle half of the oil into the bowl, use hand and knead the mixture together.
5. Pour the rest of the oil while still kneading the mixture until all the sugar melted and you can roll the mixture up into a ball without sticking to the bowl or your fingers. Then test it with a small lump of the mixture and roll into a ball between your palms. If it doesn’t crumble, then your mixture is ready. If not, add just bit more oil until you can roll them into a ball.
6. wash, clean and dry your hands. Sit down, turn on the TV and switch to your favourite channel and ready for some ball rolling action.
7. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into your palm, and roll them into small balls. Place them on the baking sheets.
8. Put a little quartered peanut on top of each ball, then glaze it with the egg white. Put in the oven for 17 mins or until golden brown.
Note: once cool down on the rack, put them in an air-tight seal container. Alternatively, you can store in any container with a screw top lid, then seal it with sticky tape for that authentic home made cookies look.