Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chinese Walnut Cookies aka Hup Toh Soh

Chinese Walnut Cookies

This recipe for Chinese walnut cookies will have you coming back to it again and again. The biscuits are deliciously crisp on the outside & slightly chewy in the middle. They contain buckwheat flour, wholemeal spelt and coconut oil, so they’re a bit healthier than most cookie recipes.

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.

Chinese New Year

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.

Hup Toh Soh or Chinese Walnut Cookies

Unusually, the recipe for hup toh soh contains cornflour as well as a mixture of butter and lard and it uses granulated sugar rather than caster. Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly either time. I made the first batch of Chinese walnut cookies 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.

Other Nut Biscuits and Cookies You Might Like

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these Chinese walnut cookies, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Chinese Walnut Cookies. PIN IT.

Chinese Walnut Cookies

Chinese Walnut Cookies – The Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Chinese Walnut Biscuits
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 
Delicious light nutty cookies that are crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle with a good nutty flavour.
Course: Afternoon Tea, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords: biscuits, buckwheat flour, cookies, walnuts
Servings: 40 cookies
Author: Choclette
Ingredients
  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g coconut oil
  • 190 g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
  • 65 g buckwheat flour
  • ¼ tsp sea or rock salt (I used Himalayan pink rock salt)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 110 golden granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg - beaten
  • 30 g 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℃ (325℉, Gas 3) for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook by Amy and Julie Zhang

Sharing

I’m sending these gorgeous little Chinese walnut biscuits off to Bake of the Week at Casa Castello. In my book, these are more biscuit than cookie.

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

42 Comments

  1. Emily

    6th July 2015 at 9:11 am

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 11:15 am

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

      Reply
  2. suelle

    6th July 2015 at 9:53 am

    I like the sound of these!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 11:16 am

      I was surprised at just how good these were Suelle.

      Reply
  3. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    6th July 2015 at 10:27 am

    These sound lovely, I love the flavour of walnuts. I don’t think I’ve ever had walnut cookies though!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Becca, now is your chance to try some walnut cookies – recommended 🙂

      Reply
  4. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    6th July 2015 at 12:33 pm

    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 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 4:37 pm

      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 😉 I find our local library is a great place to skim through new books.

      Reply
  5. Roz

    6th July 2015 at 1:16 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks Roz. Your thumbprints looked rather splendid too.

      Reply
  6. Kerry @ Kerry Cooks

    6th July 2015 at 2:51 pm

    How interesting! I guess the granulated sugar didn’t make it gritty at all? These look delicious!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 4:34 pm

      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.

      Reply
  7. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    6th July 2015 at 5:12 pm

    These walnut cookies look lovely! I love the fact that it uses different kinds of flours and coconut oil.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 5:27 pm

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

      Reply
  8. Galina V

    6th July 2015 at 5:38 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 7:28 pm

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

      Reply
  9. Camilla

    6th July 2015 at 5:44 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 7:29 pm

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

      Reply
  10. Sarah

    6th July 2015 at 7:16 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you Sarah. Cut? Yes. And tasty? Yes, yes yes 😉

      Reply
  11. Henk Kooiman

    6th July 2015 at 9:53 pm

    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 ?

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th July 2015 at 10:23 pm

      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 🙂

      Reply
  12. manu

    7th July 2015 at 8:12 am

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th July 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you Manu, do give they ago, they are great little biscuits.

      Reply
  13. Henk Kooiman

    7th July 2015 at 12:12 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th July 2015 at 7:28 am

      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.

      Reply
  14. nadia

    7th July 2015 at 3:56 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th July 2015 at 7:30 am

      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.

      Reply
  15. Janie

    8th July 2015 at 6:18 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th July 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Shhhh, Janie, don’t give away all my secrets 😉

      Reply
  16. Glamorous Glutton

    8th July 2015 at 7:14 pm

    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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th July 2015 at 9:26 pm

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

      Reply
  17. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry

    9th July 2015 at 9:54 am

    I always love the combination of more unusual grains and nuts so these have got me excited.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th July 2015 at 5:14 pm

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

      Reply
  18. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    10th July 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Wow! These look amazingly good! I love walnuts in cookies. I wonder how easy they would be to degluten?

    Reply
    • Choclette

      11th July 2015 at 12:07 pm

      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.

      Reply
  19. Elaine Livingstone

    12th July 2015 at 2:39 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      12th July 2015 at 5:11 pm

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

      Reply
  20. Henk Kooiman

    14th July 2015 at 10:23 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th July 2015 at 8:52 am

      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.

      Reply
  21. Dom

    18th July 2015 at 3:03 pm

    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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      19th July 2015 at 10:00 pm

      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.

      Reply

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