Chinese peanut cookies are often baked and given away as gifts to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They are really easy to make, have a delicious peanut buttery taste and an extremely crumbly texture.
The recipe uses roasted peanuts. Roasting brings out the full flavour of peanuts. You can buy pre-grounded peanuts but I prefer to roast and ground them myself. With spices, for example, they start to lose their flavour when they are ground so it's best to grind your own spices immediately before using them, rather than using pre-ground spices. I think it’s the same for peanuts - freshly ground peanuts taste better than pre-ground. It’s also worth spending the time freshly roasting peanuts so that you can wrap yourself up in the smell of the peanuts roasting in the oven as it permeates through your kitchen.
• 250g whole blanched peanuts
• 200g plain flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 110g icing sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 140ml peanut oil
• egg wash – 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of water
Roast whole blanched peanuts in an oven at ~180C for around 10 minutes until toasted and fragrant (make sure that they don’t burn). Let the roasted peanuts cool and then blend to
ground the peanuts (the peanuts can be ground to different textures – fine and coarse).
Mix together the ground peanuts, flour, baking powder, salt and icing sugar in a bowl until well combined. Add in the peanut oil slowly, bit by bit, mixing together and using your hands to knead the mixture until it just comes together and forms a dough. The mixture should be moist and oily but not sticky, you should be able to roll a spoonful of mixture into a ball without crumbling.
Roll into 2-3cm balls and flatten slightly, place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and brush some egg wash on top.
Bake at ~170C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
The peanut cookies are a bit like a short and crumbly pastry. It comes out of the oven looking rustic, uneven and cracked.