Operation Bakery Clone: Chinese Almond Cookies

I was a fan of the Top Secret Recipe books when I discovered them a few years ago. As their title suggests, the recipes are formulated to mimic restaurant dishes and commercial food products. There are recipes for everything from Big Macs to Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. 

This recipe is supposed to clone Twin Dragon Almond Cookies. I'm not familiar with that particular brand-- I just know that these crunchy little cookies are just like the ones that are often served with dessert at Chinese restaurants. They're less delicate than shortbread but have a similar crumbly, sandy quality. 

I made some substitutions (using shortening, unblanched almonds, and whole wheat flour) so the colour is darker than the bakery versions. I've made them before following the recipe exactly as written and can confirm that it does indeed make some pretty tasty clones.

Recipe after the jump!

Chinese Almond Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lard
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 cup (2 tbsp) water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt.

In a blender, grind 1/2 cup of the almonds into a fine powder and add to the flour.

Cream sugar, lard, almond extract, 1 egg and water. Add to dry mixture and mix thoroughly.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Press on remaining almonds in the center of each ball, flattening it slightly with fingers. Brush each cookie with beaten egg.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges.

Recipe source: Top Secret Recipes 

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