These classic Chinese walnut cookies are super easy to make at home. They're crunchy, toasty and not too sweet. Have them with a cup of tea or as an after dinner dessert.
Happy Year of the Ox! To kick off the new year, I wanted to bake something festive so I chose these Chinese walnut cookies.
I tried these cookies for the first time from a local bakery not too long ago. There's a famous bakery just down the street from my house that sells some of the biggest ones I've ever seen – one cookie took up the entire palm of my hand! They're earthy and nutty. But I was most pleasantly surprised at how crispy they were.
While these cookies are not that big, that simply means you can have more than one. They're super fast to whip up and have a very rustic, homey look to them.
Tips for the best walnut cookies:
- Always toast your nuts! I know it seems like an extra step that adds 10 minutes or so to the whole process, but it's worth it! Toasting adds an extra depth of flavor and makes them extra crispy, which adds to the overall texture of the cookie or whatever it is you might be baking!
- The egg wash is also a bit of an unusual step for cookies. But it helps give the walnut cookies that classic sheen.
- After you shape your dough into balls, use your hand to flatten them a little bit so that they form a few crackles. These help create the iconic bakery-style look!
So, whether you're looking for something quick and easy to bring to your Chinese New Year celebration or anytime of the year when you just want a lightly sweet afternoon treat, these cookies will hit the spot.
This recipe was slightly adapted from Omnivore's Cookbook.
Chinese Walnut Cookies
- 55 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 45 g (¼ cup) brown sugar
- 115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 230 g (2 cups) cake flour
- 1 large egg, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 65 g (½ cup) finely chopped toasted walnuts, plus an extra 15 or so untoasted walnut halves for decor
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F).
- When your oven is heated, weigh our 65g of walnuts and toast for 5-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn, you'll know they're ready when your kitchen starts to smell toasty and fragrant.
- Let your nuts cool a bit before chopping them finely or pulsing in a food processor. Set aside.
- Add the butter and both sugars to a medium mixing bowl. Cream together until light and fluffy.
- Crack your egg into a bowl and beat. Add about ¾ of your egg to your butter and sugar, mixing until well combined. You'll be reserving about 2 tablespoons of it for the egg wash later.
- Next, add your cake flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and chopped walnuts. Mix until a smooth dough forms. The dough will be quite dry but keep working with it until everything is incorporated.
- Using your hands form round balls about 37g each. You should end up with about 15 total.
- Place your balls on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. They won't spread much, so just make sure they're evenly spaced. Press them a little bit with your palm to flatten. It's okay if cracks appear, that's all part of the look!
- Take your 15 walnut halves and press them onto the top of each cookie.
- Add a tablespoon of water to your reserved egg to make an egg wash. Gently brush each cookie with it.
- Bake for about 20-23 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and let rest on your baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Eat straight away or store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week (but they won't be quite as crunchy by the end of it)!