Monday, February 1, 2010

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies

Posted by Quinn at Monday, February 01, 2010

These are not peanut butter cookies, they are not western peanut cookies. These are Chinese New Year Style Peanut Cookies. They are made up of five ingredients and that's it. They are essentially roasted peanuts, sugar, salt, plain flour and lard. Lots and lots of pork lard.

Fresh pork lard rendered from a large piece of pork belly fat. The pork belly fat can be obtained from butcher stall (they usually give you for free or you get a large bag for just a mere 50cents). Wash, clean them thoroughly, dry them very well and cube them into bite size. Place them in a hot wok with no oil. The fat would slowly render and before you know it, they would be cooking in their own fat. Drain the pork fat cubes for other use such as Hokkien Mee and pour the oil into a heat resistant bowl. Cool down well and you'll eventually get a white mass that look like shortening, the only difference is that this taste a gazillion times better than shortening!

A good substitute for butter if you're not a vegetarian and very good in producing flaky egg tarts and to make black sesame filling for tang yuan or steamed buns. I always buy pre-packed peanuts. They come in roasted and salted. What I do is I place them in a colander and shake off the excess salt. Then dry roast them in a wok and stop just before it starts turning oily. This twice roasted method gives it a very fragrant after taste and I definitely like it better this way.

Spread them out on a half sheet pan and cool them down completely. Recipe is always 2-2-1-1. It's a ratio rather than a recipe. Simply use any cup (just make sure you measure out all the ingredients with the same cup!) you like and measure two cups full of the roasted peanuts. Pop that into a food processor. Into the food processor goes another 2 cups of plain flour. Doesn't have to be exact; scant, more or less is absolutely fine. Throw in 1 cup of icing sugar or you can also use castor sugar. The icing sugar will help prevent your peanut from being overly grinded into peanut butter. It basically prevents paste formation before you add your lard. Add in a pinch of salt now if your peanut is not pre-packed salted and roasted.

Pulse the ingredients until fine powder. I usually like to leave a bit of bites in my cookies so I stop them before they came too smooth and fake tasting. Now, you can let the food processor run and dribble in a cup (same cup like previous!) of cooking oil but if you use lard like me, I turn the powdered ingredient onto a work table. Throw in a cup of solidified lard and work the dough until it's shiny and lumpy. You might need more or less lard/oil depending on your flour absorption. I always use a cup scant of lard. Form them into balls. Poke them with a long slender straw and glaze.

Bake until done, typical cookie temperature, 170°C to 180°C for 15 to 20mins. The one made using lard has the lightest, flakiest, melt-in-mouth feeling. I hope everyone is not sick of hearing the word 'melt-in-mouth' yet due to the pineapple tarts overdose previously. These are so light, like what I've told Pei Lin, my favourite cookie texture is where when I hold it, it doesn't crumble in my hand that I have to be so careful with it. But when you pop it in the mouth and press it against your lelangit (a Malay word for palate), it crumbles/crushes, followed by a melt-in-the-mouth effect where your tongue and palate kept demolishing it. And that piece of cookie end with a push of saliva down my throat. Talk about food writing...Ahhhh....kinda hard to describe sometimes.

Make these, they are so easy and yummy you'll never buy those from pasar malam (night markets) in Malaysia anymore!

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20 comments on "Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies"

Anncoo on February 1, 2010 at 1:28 PM said...

hehee...Quinn, you really made this from scratch~good job :) Are you going to bring this back home?

Angie on February 1, 2010 at 2:01 PM said...

CNY upon us! I will be posting pineapple tarts, peanut cookies and Kuih Bangkit next week too. (already ate all the cookies! Ha!) Btw, looking forward to meeting up with you soon :)

Gattina on February 1, 2010 at 3:22 PM said...

Both your pineapple tarts and peanut cookies are look like lil' jewl!!! I personally luuuuve peanut cookies, wish I was your neighbor :D

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) on February 1, 2010 at 3:47 PM said...

Nowadays hard to find peanut cookie with lard oil, are you going to bring some back to MY? I wish to try out, hehehe..

Elin on February 1, 2010 at 7:22 PM said...

Wow..looks great..melt in the mouth type :) Taking them back to Malaysia :) *wink I hope I get to taste them :p

Cuisine Paradise on February 1, 2010 at 11:50 PM said...

Wow.. Great!!! Quinn.... This is one of Rey's favourite CNY cookies this year too :p Wow.. keep all the CNY cookies coming up!!! So what's next on your list :p Kueh Balu? Kueh Lapis? Or... :p

Honey Bee Sweets on February 2, 2010 at 12:08 AM said...

Wow Quinn, your peanut cookies looks so much better then mine! It's wonderful how you describe your cookies...melt in your mouth. :) I have actually purposely left some coarsely grinned so that I have some texture to the cookies. :)

pigpigscorner on February 2, 2010 at 8:22 AM said...

Anything with lard is good =) Guess I have to start baking CNY cookies soon too!

Happy Homebaker on February 2, 2010 at 9:28 AM said...

I like the your peanut cookies they are so lovely! I like the way you use a straw to make the indentations :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on February 3, 2010 at 2:28 AM said...

Quinn, I've got to agree with you both of us are such perfectionists when it comes to the things we heart, i.e. baking, cooking & photography. And your vivid description of the perfect texture still lingers in my head! Argh ...!

Hmm ... Beautiful peanut cookies! Betcha family can't wait to have you back home! =)

Food For Tots on February 3, 2010 at 4:12 AM said...

These cookies remind me of my mom's CNY baking. Yours look absolutely beautiful! Must taste great too. ;)

Elin on February 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM said...

Quinn dear thanks so much for the votes and the fierce campaigning you have done for me there LOL! I appreciate muchie and btw I owe you some cookies * wink wink :))

Quinn on February 3, 2010 at 11:15 AM said...

Hey all,

Yes I will be bringing these peanut cookies along with my different types of pineapple tarts and butter cookies back home for my mum so she could save a couple of cheap bucks! It's not so much of saving really, it's so much so that she could brag to her relatives and all our friends (and embarrassed me!!!)saying her daughter just graduated from Australia, with a Masters in Engineering and she can also bake so well, here you go, have a try, they're yummy! I just wanna make mum happy really.

Angie: Thanks for dropping by! And I would love to try my hands on Kuih Bangkit but unfortunately, no one at home likes it so I decided I shouldn't bake something that no one in my family enjoy munching on.

Gattina: Awww...come on, if you're my neigbour, you'll be complaining I'm putting so much weight on you. Potlucks and parties once a fortnight and dessert every week, can you imagine??? I love peanut cookies too!

Sonia, Elin: Ahem...Sounds like a strong hint that I should be bringing these lard loaded peanut cookies for our cookies swap. We'll see how but most probably yes. I just cannot turn people down sometimes, you all are too sweet!!!!

Ellena: Next is butter cookies and I'm done. I wish I have kuih bahulu mould so I could make takoyaki as well but that will be on my shopping list when I work. Lemme take a pic and show you the oven I've been baking with, then you'll understand why kuih lapis will never happen in my kitchen!

HBS: Thanks! Yours look great too really! I just like mine smaller in size so I could pop the whole thing in mouth straight away and I did left some coarse too. It melts in the mouth with some coarse bits left for you to nibble!

Ann: Still haven't start baking CNY goodies??? Bake some for hubby and yourself since both of you wont be going back home for CNY!

HHB: Thanks! Yeah, my family has always been using a straw to poke the surface like that. Every single time when grandma finish making the dough, no one wants to roll them round, no one wants to glaze them too but everyone fights to poke them with straw and pop them in the oven. We once dropped the whole tray before it even reach the oven and my oh my, we were forbidden from kitchen to help out during CNY ever since!

Pei Lin: Haha! Yeah, mum kept telling me how much she cannot wait to see me this Sunday at the airport. Not to see me, but the cookies, the macadamia nuts and mangoes and peaches she so badly wanted from me from Aussie!!!!

Food-4-tots: Yeah, these are a general reminder of everyone's grandmas and mums it seem. I guess this one exist in every household, it's a must. Just that I make it better and loaded them with lard instead. Mmmmm....

Elin: Don't be silly, what's with the thanks??? I really think you deserve it so you have my vote! Hope you'll win!!! Pinky promise bout the cookies yeah!!!

Shirley T on February 4, 2010 at 2:05 AM said...

Hi Quinn, Your peanut cookies look very tempting! And thanks for the recipe, I use it to bake almond cookies and it works great at my kitchen. Check out here:

pigpigscorner on February 7, 2010 at 8:56 AM said...

I made this today too but with almonds. SO GOOD!

Simonne on February 7, 2010 at 6:32 PM said...

mind asking where to get lard oil in kl for making peanut cookies ?


Shirley @ Kokken69 on February 8, 2010 at 8:51 AM said...

Wow, baking with lard - it has never occured to me...Thanks for sharing. Despite its artery clogging possibility, I would still gladly eat any pastry made with lard - especially if it has the melt in your mouth, flaky texture. Thanks for enlightening and your cookie looks really good!

Quinn on February 9, 2010 at 11:55 PM said...

Shirley T: Nice almond cookies. They look very nice. Great Job. Thanks for the mention by the way!

Ann: Yes I saw your almond cookies and they look gorgeous!!!! Thanks for the mention!

Simonne: Just shot you a mail and nope, I'm sorry I can't help. Make your own lard dearie!

Shirley@Kokken69: You're welcome. Baking with lard is simply amazing but not everything though, peanut cookies, almond cookies, and tau sar piah are to mention a few.

Lilian on August 10, 2011 at 2:53 AM said...

can i substitute with melted butter?

Quinn on September 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM said...

Lilian, sorry for the late reply. Yes you could certainly substitute with melted butter. I did not want dairy to shine through here so I'd use lard or ghee, anything but butter but it is a personal preference :)

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