Looking for recipes for CNY cookies 2024? Made with only 4 or 5 ingredients and mixable by hand, these easy Chinese Cashew Cookies are the perfect treat for Lunar New Year! Quick and easy, they're ready in under 30 minutes (if you're not making your own cashew flour.) (I have also tested a gluten-free version.)
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Easy: Chinese Cashew Nut Cookies are deliciously crumbly and nutty, but can be made with only 5-ingredients and mixed by hand. Ready to eat in under 30 minutes if you have cashew flour on hand, but I also show you how to make your own cashew flour.
- Readily available ingredients: the ingredients can all be found in a regular grocery store, and no trip to the Asian market is required.
- Flexible: with the same ingredients, you can also make peanut cookies, walnut cookies, and almond cookies, as long as you have peanuts, walnuts and almonds too!
You will only need 4-5 simple ingredients:
- Cashews: you can use lightly toast whole cashews, then process into a fine powder (it's blended the same way as peanut flour) OR use shop-bought cashew flour to save time. (If using the latter, and you want it ot be more fragrant, dry fry the cashew flour over low heat before making the cookie dough) If you want a cashew decorating each cookie, you will need extra whole cashews (1 per 2 cookies.)
- All-purpose flour: if you're out or have celiac disease, you can use regular rice flour but the texture will change. (Do not use glutinous rice flour.) To be honest, wheat flour cookies taste better. The rice flour version is sweeter and flatter so I suggest reducing the amount of icing sugar and checking on the cookies 2-3 minutes ahead of time. (Scroll down for a compare-and-contrast photo of the 2 types of cashew cookies.)
- Icing sugar: also known as powdered sugar, this gives the cookies a finer texture. However, it clumps like crazy, and you'll need to sift it before hand to avoid biting into small pockets of sweetness (the small lumps of icing sugar from not sifting.) If you're lazy and finicky, use caster sugar instead but note that the sweetness will change a bit, and that you'll need less oil for the cookies (If not they'll be very crumbly.)
- oil: traditionally, lard was used (and gives a better texture.) For health reasons, the modern Chinese kitchen uses a neutral vegetable oil. (Do NOT use olive oil) The amount of oil is a guideline- it can vary quite a bit depending on the humidity where you live, as well as the dryness of your ingredients- add ½ the amount stipulated, mix, before adding Tablespoon by Tablespoon till you get a pliable dough (shown below.) You may even need a bit more than I've recommended!
- salt, this is optional but I find it enhances the flavor!
The regular cashew cookie made with all purpose flour is on the left: as you can see it's thicker. For some reason the rice flour one has baked more quickly and become a bit too brown.
Again, wheat flour on the left, rice flour on the right.
Q: Can you guess which is the gluten-free cashew cookie?
A: the one at the bottom.
📖 Variations & Substitutes
- Peanut Cookies, Walnut Cookies, and Almond Cookies: traditional Chinese nut cookies are all made with the same ingredients and in the same way as cashew cookies. The only change is the type of nut flour used! For slightly different cookies, click here for Cantonese Hup Toh Soh, and here for American Chinese almond cookies which are crispy, not crumbly.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
If making your own cashew flour: dry fry the cashews on low heat (or bake them) till fragrant and golden. Allow to cool then process into flour.
Pre-heat the oven at 350F/ 170C/ 150C fan.
1a. Add the sifted dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well. (If you used salted cashews to make cashew flour, omit the salt.)
1b. Add in half the oil or melted lard, then mix well.
2a. See the lumps above? That's what happens if you use unsifted icing sugar. You can use the back of a spoon or spatula to break them, but you won't be able to completely remove them. (It would be faster to sift.)
2b. The above dough has had oil added to it, but not enough so, as you can see, it's still quite dry and separate.
3. Keep adding the oil, tablespoon by tablespoon, and mixing till you get a pliable dough, as shown above.
Note: If you use too much oil, the cookie will be fragile.
4a. Traditionally people would weigh the dough to get the cookies the same size but it's too much work.
4b. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out approximately equal amounts of dough onto parchment paper or Silpat.
5a. After you've scooped all the dough, roll between your palms to get smooth balls.
5b. You can either press down with your finger OR press a half-cashew on top of each ball.
6a. Egg wash before you bake- it will make the cookies look MUCH better so don't omit this step! (See Expert Tips for substitutions if you're out of eggs.)
6b. Insert the tray in the middle rack. (You'll only need 1 tray.) Bake at 350F/ 170C/ 150C fan till golden brown (around 15 minutes.)
🥡 How to Store
These last in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days, depending on the humidity where you live. (If you want to keep it longer, add more sugar, which is a preservative.)
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: If you're out of egg, you can use a milk+honey wash. You'l need ½ Tablespoon of milk mixed with ¼ teaspoon of honey (or simple syrup) to get the nice brown color.
🥗 Other Chinese New Year Recipes
Enjoyed this easy Chinese New Year cashew cookigRecipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below! If you REALLY liked this Lunar New Year snack, please consider supporting it by buying me a bottle of soy sauce! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Chinese Cashew Cookies (No Mixer)
- 4.4 oz whole cashews Substitute: equal amount of cashew flour (125g) + 14 more if you want to decorate your cookies
- 2.8 oz icing sugar (80g) Substitute: caster sugar, but you will need less oil
- 2.2 oz all purpose flour (62.5g)
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt Optional. Some don't like saltiness in their desserts but I find it enhances the flavor. Omit if using salted cashews to start with.
- 4.5 oz vegetable oil (130g- this is a guideline, as it will change depending on the age of your ingredients and the humidity.) Substitute: lard. Use a neutral oil, not somethign like olive.
- ½ egg For egg wash. Use a small egg
Making Cashew Flour
- Dry fry the cashews on low heat (or bake them) till fragrant and golden. Allow to cool then process into flour.
Baking Cashew Cookies
- Pre-heat the oven at 350F/ 170C/ 150C fan.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well. (If you used salted cashews to make cashew flour, omit the salt.)
- Add in half the oil or melted lard, then mix well. Keep adding the oil, tablespoon by tablespoon, and mixing till you get a pliable dough, as shown above. Note: If you use too much oil, the cookie will be fragile.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop out approximately equal amounts of dough onto parchment paper or Silpat.
- After you've scooped all the dough, roll between your palms to get smooth balls. You can either press down with your finger OR press a half-cashew on top of each ball.
- Egg wash before you bake- it will make the cookies look MUCH better so don't omit this step! (See Expert Tips for substitutions if you're out of eggs.)
- Insert the tray in the middle rack. (You'll only need 1 tray.) Bake at 350F/ 170C/ 150C fan till golden brown (around 15 minutes.)
Note: the nutritional information is an estimate automatically calculated using the WPRM recipe maker and I am not responsible for its veracity.
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