I see that today is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day, and I say to myself, “You mean those stupid little cookies on the Chinese buffet are actually something?” I mean, you know as well as I do that when you go to a buffet, there’s really not any room left in the belly for anything except maybe a fortune cookie. Unless of course they have ice cream. There’s always room for ice cream.
So, today when it came down to trying to eat this cookie on the day that was named for it, I couldn’t, for the life of me, think of where I’ve had it. Panda Buffet, maybe? I gave them a call. They said they were out. That shouldn’t have surprised me considering whenever I go there, they’re always completely out of Panda of all things. The other decent Chinese buffet that I dig also does not carry this almond “dessert,” although I ate there anyway and tried to pretend the cookie they had was an almond cookie.
I could have convinced myself it was almond, if the server hadn’t told me that it was chocolate, which it clearly was not. Thankfully, the sushi chef cleared it up for me, revealing that it was a “regular cookie,” and since it’s not “National Regular Cookie Day,” this news meant I was going to have to make almond cookies today.
There was good news and bad news on this front. The good news was that I’d only have to buy almond extract and almonds to make these things. The bad news was that when I started preparing them, I noticed that the recipe said that the batter needed to cool in the fridge for 2-hours. Needless to say, I cheated. And, I cheated in many more ways than one, so much so, that I used a Chinese spoon to scoop the batter, hoping that it might legitimize my creation.
Firstly, the recipe called for almond flour. I just don’t know what that is, and I’ve never needed it before, so I’m not about to buy a pound of it. Instead I crushed up some of the raw almonds and mixed them in with some of the flour and pretended that it was all as it should be. Also, instead of refrigerating the batter for two hours, I just put it in the freezer for fifteen minutes, then kept rolling it into little balls and pounding them onto a cold pan, a few every 3-4 minutes, with my latex glove covered hands. That did the trick.
As far as how they turned out? Well, considering the nature of Chinese desserts, they really didn’t have to taste that great, did they? I mean, in a culture that serves a choice of syrup coated fruits and mysteriously spiced cakes next to a cooler of ice cream for dessert, I’m thinking I might have made the cut. My wife told me that she didn’t remember ever eating a Chinese almond cookie before, but she thought I probably “nailed it.” For clarification, I asked her did she mean that it tasted like something she would immediately choose a scoop of freezer burnt ice cream over, and she responded, “definitely!”
See you Tuesday for Cinnamon Crescent Day.