Snake Cookies

Snake Cookies

February 10, 2013: Asian Lunar/Chinese New Year (Year of the Snake)

Kung hee fat choy! We rang in the Year of the Snake on this Asian lunar year (2013) with some slithery and slightly sweet sugar “snake cookies,” a combination of our Chinese almond cookie and freaky finger cookie recipes. Although these are not traditional treats, the cookies are cute and easy to make for a fun and festive new year (or Halloween) celebration.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening (we used butter-flavored Crisco baking sticks)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered, blanched and chopped (optional)
  • green food coloring
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • green sugar (we used Wilton brand)
  • white tube frosting
  • black tube gel frosting
  • strawberry fruit roll up
  • red tube frosting

Directions

Cream the shortening with the sugar until smooth. Stir in the almond extract. Mix in the flour until the dough sticks together.

Snake Cookies

Fold in the almonds, if using, and blend well. Tint with green food coloring. Shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pinch out 1 ½ inch balls. Gently roll out into 5-inch long ropes. Curve into a slight S-shape, smoothing out the cracks.

Snake Cookies

Place on a slightly greased baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Continue making the rest of the “snakes”. Brush the tops of the snake with beaten egg. Sprinkle with green sugar. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Snake Cookies

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes but do not brown. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely and crisp up. Use a small round tip to pipe white eyeballs on one end of the snake cookies. Dab a little black tube gel on the white eyeballs to make the pupils. Unroll a strawberry fruit roll up.

SNAKE COOKIES

Slice into thin strips, then into tiny rectangular pieces. Cut slits on one end to make a forked tongue. With a little red frosting, position the red fruit roll up tongues underneath one end of the snake cookies. Continue for the rest of the cookies. Place on a platter and serve or store in an airtight container up to a week. Yield: Approximately 15 snake cookies.

Snake Cookies

Notes

  • Gel food paste yields a more vibrant color on the cookies than liquid drops.
  • Minimize the frosted points of the piped white eyeballs by touching your fingertip with a little powdered sugar, then pressing down lightly to flatten before adding the black gel pupils.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Almond Cookies

April 9: National Chinese Almond Cookie Day

In kindergarten, Islander was the Chinese queen on the ethnic court for May Day at her elementary school in Hawaii. In junior high, she learned how to make Chinese almond cookies in a required home economics class. In college, she and Monica C. from Taiwan were roommates for more than a year at a university in the Midwest. Now she continues to observe some Chinese traditions whenever she can, which can be a challenge when there is not a large Asian community in the area.

Chinese New Year is probably the biggest cultural holiday Islander would celebrate. Although she does not cook a lot of auspicious foods for the occasion, one lucky dish she would make is Chinese almond cookies. Fortunately, there is a National Chinese Almond Cookie Day and she could bake up a batch with the same recipe she has used since junior high. But these crisp confections can be enjoyed not just on Chinese New Year and National Chinese Almond Cookie Day but throughout the year!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (we use and recommend Crisco brand)
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tube red frosting (optional)
  • slivered almond pieces (optional)

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the vegetable shortening with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and almond extract. Gradually add the flour mixture.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Knead until a smooth dough is formed. Roll into one-inch balls. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving space between each cookie. Flatten the balls with the base of a drinking glass or cup. Make a dent in the middle with the end of a chopstick or cooking rod or a finger.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Drop a dot of red food coloring in each dent. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add a little red frosting in the middle of the dent. Top with a piece of slivered almond. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool to a crisp. Yield: Approximately 3 – 3 ½ dozen.

Chinese Almond Cookies

Notes

  • Learn more about Chinese New Year foods at the Food Museum website.
  • For additional tips on making Chinese almond cookies, read an article in the Honolulu Advertiser.
  • Search our blog for other cookie recipes.

 

 

 

 

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