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Before practicing Asian medicine, I was a florist. Our flowers were shipped in from a distributor in Chinatown in San Francisco. Every year at Chinese New Year boxes of delicious almond cookies arrived with the flowers. We feasted on the decadent little treats while arrange the next dozen roses…and the next…and the next…you get the picture. Years later, I started playing with recipes until I tweaked one enough to have the flavor with out the preservatives. These are my favorites.
This recipe is not identical to ones from China town. Now knowing those to be laden with chemicals I went on a search for a comparable recipe. These taste better.
Use a food processor to combine sugar and salt until very fine and powdery, about 60 seconds.
Add the almonds and process until well chopped, about 20 seconds or longer if you prefer smaller chunks. Don't have a food processor? I actually do this step by hand with a mortar and pestle.
Add the butter, vanilla and almond extract and pulse or stir until very smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Add the flour and pulse until a soft dough forms.
Chill the dough
Portion the dough into halves, roll dough into a log shape about 10-12 inches long and 1 1/2 in diameter. Wrap and freeze for later use or chill for about 1 hour before baking.
Bake the cookies
Before baking, remove chilled dough from the fridge and allow to set at room temperature while oven heats.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place rack in center of oven.
Use floss to slice off dough in 1/2 inch sections. You can use a knife to cut the cookie dough, but you may need to reshape the cookies into rounds.
Position cookies on sheet about 1/2 apart, place an almond half or sliver on the top of each cookie pressing it in gently.
Bake 8-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet and enjoy.
Health benefits: Almonds are neutral and sweet, nourishing Qi and Jing. The cookies are sweet overall so they will nourish yin. Avoid eating too many though, they are rich and will make damp conditions worse.