Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chinese Walnut Cookies

Walnut Cookies

I’d not heard of The Dumpling Sisters until their newly published book passed my way recently. This endearing name for Amy and Julie Zhang highlights their passion for dumplings. It’s a lovely book with recipes for easy homemade Chinese food, but it’s heavily meat orientated, so not really one for me. However, there were a couple of baking recipes in the back which drew my attention and their sweet and salty walnut cookies were one of them.

The cookies are easy to make and sooooo moreish. A speciality of Chinese New Year,  these hup toh soh are supposed to resemble a brain and thus boost mental capacity. Any excuse to eat a few more. They are crisp on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle with crunchy bits of walnut to give a bit of bite as well as flavour. They may not be the prettiest biscuits in the tin, but they tasted so good, I made a second batch soon after finishing the first.

Unusually, the recipe contains cornflour as well as a mixture of butter and lard and used granulated sugar rather than caster. Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly either time. The first batch I made with half wholemeal flour and coconut oil instead of lard. The second batch I made the same way, except I substituted buckwheat flour for the cornflour to make them a little bit healthier. The buckwheat batch were, surprisingly, crisper and lighter than their predecessors, but were equally as delicious. The good thing about all of them is that they are quite small, so I feel justified in having two rather than one with my cup of tea.

Chinese Walnut Biscuits
Yields 40
Delicious light nutty cookies that are crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle with a good nutty flavour.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g unsalted butter
  2. 75g coconut oil
  3. 190g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
  4. 65g buckwheat flour
  5. ΒΌ tsp sea or rock salt (I used Himalayan pink rock salt)
  6. Β½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. 110 golden granulated sugar
  8. Β½ tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 egg - beaten
  10. 30g walnuts - finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and coconut together until well combined. Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the vanilla extract and just over half of the egg, reserving the rest for the egg wash.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir along with the walnuts until a ball of soft dough is formed.
  4. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture between your hands to form balls and place a little apart on a large lined baking tray.
  5. Press finger or thumb into the middle to flatten and indent them slightly.
  6. Brush all over with the remaining egg.
  7. Bake at 170℃ for about 20 minutes or until golden.
Adapted from The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook by Amy and Julie Zhang
Adapted from The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook by Amy and Julie Zhang
Tin and Thyme http://tinandthyme.uk/
Bake of the Week LogoI’m sending these gorgeous walnut biscuits off to Bake of the Week at Casa Castello – in my book, these are more biscuit than cookie.

 

 

Bookmarked RecipesIt also goes to Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes as these cookies were the very first recipe I bookmarked from The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook.

Other biscuits and cookies containing nuts you might like

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Emily
    6th July 2015

    I love Chinese cuisine but have never heard of these. Love nutty flavours too so I’m sure I’d love them x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      No, I’d not come across them before either Emily, but I think I might be enjoying these on a regular basis now πŸ˜‰

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      Thanks Becca, now is your chance to try some walnut cookies – recommended πŸ™‚

  2. Leave a Reply

    Laura@howtocookgoodfood
    6th July 2015

    I have heard of the dumpling sisters and would love to look at their book. I think the cookies sound so good, something very original about them πŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      Thanks Laura, you’re right, they do seem a bit different, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. What I do know is they are very edible πŸ˜‰ I find our local library is a great place to skim through new books.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Roz
    6th July 2015

    these sound really interesting, I’m a big fan of nuts in biscuits so will bookmark this to try!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      No it didn’t at all Kerry. I was surprised to begin with, then remembered that until a few years ago, I never used caster sugar as it was so much more expensive than granulated.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      Thanks Angie. I do try and make my bakes healthier than most, although not perhaps as healthy as yours and certainly not as beautiful πŸ™‚

  4. Leave a Reply

    Galina V
    6th July 2015

    I love walnuts, would love to try this recipe. I haven’t heard of the Dumpling sisters before, but saw an article in one of the magazines recently. A delicious recipe!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      It’s a good book Galina – if you eat meat and fish. The biscuits are fabulous.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Camilla
    6th July 2015

    Love these pretty little cookies and walnuts taste fabulous in baked goods! Thanks for linking to my biscuits:-)

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      Happy to do so, your biscuits sound fabulous Camilla. I can attest that these are decidedly good too πŸ™‚

  6. Leave a Reply

    Sarah
    6th July 2015

    I think they look rather cute, Choclette! Must have a wee nosey at their cookbook. πŸ™‚

  7. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    6th July 2015

    Interesting ! I plan these for tomorrow. With half butter/half lard (have some in the fridge), organic rice flour instead of buckwheat flour (to make it more Chinese, ha, ha ….) and much more walnuts 0.75 grams of chopped walnuts per cookie is not very much, or do you think it is enough ?

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th July 2015

      Rice flour is a nice idea, but I’d go with the stated amount of walnuts as a first off. Chop them fairly fine and they go a long way. More might overwhelm, but you could always do half and half – one lot with the correct amount and the other half with more. Then you can compare and contrast πŸ™‚

  8. Leave a Reply

    manu
    7th July 2015

    They look perfect…I bet they’re delicious too.
    I should give them a go.
    xox

  9. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    7th July 2015

    Just had two, very fresh cookies ! First the alterations: I used lard, as in the original recipe, rice flour instead of buckwheat, and 45 g. of pecans, because I had run out of walnuts.
    It is a somewhat dryish, brittle cookie without being crumbly which makes them very pleasant to eat. Eventhough I raised the quantity of nuts and dry roasted them to bring out their taste even more, I still found the taste of the nuts not very prominent.
    The dough is very easy to make and to work with, although I chilled it for an hour because of the higher ambient temperatures at this time of the year.
    Would I make them again: oh yes !
    Choclette’s suggestion to use buckwheat flour is a very good one. It will enhance the nutty flavour. But that will be for next time.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th July 2015

      Thank you for all your feedback Henk. It’s really good to have and to see how you adapt the recipes. I think the dryness depends on how long you cook them. My first batch were crisp on the outside, but soft and chewy in the middle. The second batch were a lot dryer, I think I gave them an extra 2-3 minutes and the flours may changed things too.

  10. Leave a Reply

    nadia
    7th July 2015

    I’ve never tried Chinese cookies but they do look so delicious! Love the healthy substitutes that you made πŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th July 2015

      Thanks Nadia. Often I use wholemeal spelt, but we do have a local flour mill which produces stoneground local whole wheat flour, so I like to use quite a lot of that too. I’m also a fan of buckwheat flour and often add a bit of this to baking recipes.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Janie
    8th July 2015

    I love the idea that eating them will increase brain power, I’m surprised you stopped at two with your cuppa πŸ˜€
    Janie x

  12. Leave a Reply

    Glamorous Glutton
    8th July 2015

    These look delicious. I’ve never really thought of Chineese food including cookies, other than fortune ones. I love the changes you’ve made. GG

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th July 2015

      I was a little taken aback too GG. I’ve not tried a bought one, but these are certainly very good.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      9th July 2015

      Thanks Bintu. I often add buckwheat to my bakes when I’m looking for something to lighten up wholemeal or spelt.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th July 2015

      I think the answer to that Kate is for you to experiment. I can’t imagine they’d be that difficult. I’d try with standard gluten free flour for the (wholemeal/plain mix and stick with buckwheat or cornflour for the other bit.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Elaine Livingstone
    12th July 2015

    hmmm sound nice but I would substitute almonds or hazelnuts as I cant eat walnuts but the rest sounds interesting.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      12th July 2015

      I’m sure either of those two would work Elaine, though I reckon hazelnuts would be the best. How about Brazil nuts?

  14. Leave a Reply

    Henk Kooiman
    14th July 2015

    Just had another go at these cookies. This time with buckwheat flour (and lard). They are a lot darker than on the photo above and again nice and brittle. It is probably the effect of using lard instead of coconut oil. Anyhow: they are delicious. I do have a slight preference for the rice flour.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      15th July 2015

      The original recipe was for cornflour and I think these photos are actually from the first batch I made Henk which is probably why they are lighter in colour – I also didn’t cook them for quite as long. The 2nd batch with buckwheat were a little darker, but I also cooked them for longer which made them crisper too.

  15. Leave a Reply

    Dom
    18th July 2015

    these look so good. Do they taste a bit like macaroons? I really am intrigued how they taste. So do make us another batch and pop them in the post… or I guess I could make them myself but yours look so pretty xx

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      19th July 2015

      Not much like macaroons no, but they are very good – chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside or bake a little longer and crisp all the way through.

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