Lunar New Year is a holiday celebrated by many people around the world that traces its origins to Asia and follows the lunar calendar. Many different countries celebrate Lunar New Year, and each one has its own rich and culturally significant practices and traditions surrounding the holiday. One common thread is the incorporation of traditional foods and beverages. Our recipe for Chinese Almond Cookies is a nod to the coin-like treat that symbolizes good fortune for the new year. If you’re looking for a fun beverage this holiday, try making Sujeonggwa, a Korean Ginger Cinnamon Punch that is a common dessert beverage enjoyed during Seollal (Korean Lunar New Year). However you’re celebrating the Lunar New Year, we hope it’s festive!
Chinese Almond Cookies
Makes 15 to 20 cookies
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup almond flour
¼ tsp. salt
15–20 whole raw almonds
Additional sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
Cream together ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup butter in a medium-sized bowl. Beat in egg yolk and ¼ tsp. almond extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift the all purpose flour, almond flour and salt. Gradually add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir together. Add the remaining portion of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Place the dough in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a wrapped ball. Refrigerate the dough for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and portion into equal-sized small dough balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Place dough balls evenly spaced onto a lined cookie sheet. Put one almond onto the center of a dough ball and gently press down to flatten slightly. Lightly sprinkle each cookie with a dash of granulated sugar (optional). Bake until the edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in a covered container for 5 to 7 days.
Korean Ginger Cinnamon Punch (Sujeonggwa)
Makes 5 cups
5 cups water
20 grams fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup sugar
1–2 tsp. pine nuts (optional)
2–5 dried persimmons (optional)
Add 2 ½ cups water and sliced ginger into a medium-sized saucepan and add the remaining 2 ½ cups to another medium-sized saucepan with the cinnamon stick(s). Bring both saucepans to a boil on the stovetop and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks and ginger and carefully strain the hot water through a fine metal sieve (chinois strainer) to catch any small particles. Add the cinnamon and ginger water together into a large saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup sugar and bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Cool the punch to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or until chilled. If you would like to, add the dried persimmons to the punch at least 1 hour before serving to soften the fruit. Serve cold with a few pine nuts and one persimmon in each cup. Enjoy!
Check out this article about building your own ramen bar!