Chinese New Year is the biggest festival for Chinese spread all across the world. In the festival spread over for fifteen days, traditionalism, legends and history jostle for a space against each other.
The Chinese New year calls for arrangements for the ensuing fifteen days prior to the advent of the New Year and a high point in the Chinese New year is the reunion dinner. Sweets and fruits during the Reunion dinner is served in what is known as a Tray of togetherness, and in numbers of eight, as eight is believed to be a lucky and a number which symbolizes fortune.
In most of the food served and prepared during this time, symbolism plays a huge part. The Chinese people firmly believed that preparing and serving desserts, heralds in a beautiful and sweetened life in the coming New Year. Gong himself wrote, that a Chinese cookie pockets which are called Gok Jai which were a childhood favorite. This Gok jai were made of sesame seeds, grated coconuts and peanuts.
Cookies are nothing but sweetened biscuits, sometimes prepared with nuts, almonds and other ingredients. Sugared fruits were used in the cookies as it was firmly believed that they will sweeten the coming year. There are lots of meanings and symbolism attached to various fruits too, like dried apricot signifies gold or wealth, apples signify wisdom or peace, cashew nuts or yāoguǒ symbolize gold or money, because the Cashew nuts shape was similar to the gold bars of ancient times. Then Peanuts, known as huāshēng , represented health, long life, birth of prosperity, continuous growth, a multiplication in wealth and good fortune etc. it was also considered to be a good omen if one ate a turnip cake.
Let us then take a look at what are the particularly interesting cookie options made especially for the Chinese New Year. The recipes about to be shared are easy ones, made to please everyone, and will not require difficult typically Chinese cooking procedures.
Chinese Almond Cookies – This is a simple cookie liked by most , especially during the Chinese New year. For sixty to eighty cookies, It requires plain flour, butter softened at room temperature, castor sugar, ground almond or almond meal, potatoes starches, mung bean flour (can be substitute with potatoes starches), egg yolk . it is made of almond and some people also sprinkle almond flakes on top of the cookies. The shape of the cookie is mostly that of snowflakes, but one can choose any shape that one so desires. The easy almond cookies recipe is as follows-. Preheat oven. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Now, beat the butter or margarine, shortening, and white and brown sugar. Now add the almond extract. Beat the butter or margarine, the shortening, and the white and the brown sugar. Now add the eggs and almonds extracts, and keep on beating till well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Now roll the dough and scour with a burnt log and cut it into small pieces and refrigerate overnight for better consistency. Dip the cookies in an egg batter before baking them in the pre heated oven. Sprinkle almond flakes before putting them in the oven.
Sesame cookies – This cookie like the almond cookie, was traditionally made with lard, however with the recent concern with health all around, can be substituted with butter. Ingredients required for making this are all purpose flour, baking powder baking soda salt butter ,softened white sugar, brown sugar, egg almond extract white sesame seeds, as needed egg, lightly beaten (optional). Let us have a look at the how to procedure. Preheat oven. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Now, beat the butter or margarine, shortening, and white and brown sugar. Now add the eggs and sesames, and keep on beating till well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Now roll the dough and cut it into small pieces and refrigerate overnight for better consistency. Dip the cookies in an egg batter before baking them in the pre heated oven.
Matcha and Pistachio Nuts Butter Cookies – This is a favorite during the festive season, as Pistachio nuts are most popular during the New Year, because the name Pistachio in Mandarin means “Happy Nuts’. With a preparation time of fifteen minutes, and a baking time of twenty minutes, this seems an easy recipe to try during the busy New Year. Ingredients required are as follows – Plain Flour, Matcha Powder, Unsalted Cold Butter, Icing Sugar, Egg, and Pistachio Nuts. So get going and make the happiness cookie! The recipe is as follows – Mix flour, matcha powder and icing. Slowly mix in beaten egg and fold the mixture together with a spatula. Now mix the chopped pistachio nuts and continue to stir till it forms dough. Now roll the dough to form oblong/square shape. Cut dough into slices; place it on baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in a pre heated oven.
Kueh Bangkit – Another very popular Chinese New Year cookie is the Kueh Bangkit or the Tapioca Cookies. These cookies have a lovely fragrance and a melt in the mouth texture, which makes them irresistible. These cookies require a baking time of twenty minutes and also a preparation time of twenty minutes. The ingredients required are the Fried Tapoica Flour, Thick Coconut Milk, Icing Sugar, Egg Yolks, Pandan Leaves, Kueh Bangkit Mould. The method is as follows – Beat the egg yolks and sugar together constantly, keep adding coconut milk to its fold. Now take 200g of cooked tapioca flour and fold in the coconut milk mixture already prepared. Mix thoroughly. Let it stand for some time and cover it with a wet cloth. Now sprinkle some tapioca flour in the baking container and fill it with the prepared mixture and press tightly.
Arrange on prepared baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake in preheated oven.
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