Chinese Peanut Cookies

Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Prep time
    10 minutes
  • Cook time
    20 minutes
  • Makes
    48 to 60 cookies
Author Notes

You may be familiar with these Chinese peanut cookies as a Lunar New Year sweet. Hua sheng bing are often sold in tall plastic containers at the markets. But I can assure you that homemade ones taste far better, and they’re easier to make at home than you might think. If the craving strikes, look no further than this go-to recipe.

This recipe comes from my friend and stylist Karen Shinto. Not only do we work together on my cookbook projects, but we also trade recipes. She was so jazzed about these cookies that she emailed photos of them, asking me if I wanted the recipe so I could make them. Heck yes.

These peanut cookies are full of peanut goodness, rich and lardy, but there’s actually no lard involved. Ground peanuts, cooking oil, and butter enrich the dough. The confectioners’ (powdered) sugar added to the crumbly texture and of course sweetness. Karen used canola oil, but I opted for semi-refined peanut oil that I get at the Chinese market; you can use unrefined peanut oil sold at health food stores. That type of peanut oil adds a lovely roast-y peanut taste and perfume to these delectable treats. The cookies come together very quickly, and you probably already have most of the ingredients you need to make them. As for those cracks? They add so much character. May your Chinese New Year be all the better for having these cookies at your table. Or, secure your wealth by enjoying these cookies all year long. —Andrea Nguyen

  • Test Kitchen-Approved
Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    plus 2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted peanuts


  • 1 1/4 cups

    powdered sugar


  • 10 3/4 ounces

    (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour


  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  • 3/4 teaspoon

    baking powder


  • 2/3 cup

    fragrant peanut or canola oil


  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted


  • 1

    large egg, beaten

Directions
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; heat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a food processor, grind the peanuts until coarse crumbs form. Add the powdered sugar and process, stopping to scrape the bottom if needed, until there’s a mixture of fine crumbs and powder. Do not overprocess or you’ll end up with peanut butter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the peanut mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Drizzle the oil and butter into the bowl. Using your hands, knead to form soft dough. It will soften as you knead it. If the dough becomes too soft to handle and feels oily, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up. If the dough feels dry, add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1½ inches apart. If you like, put a little decorative stamp on top. I used the top of a clean and dry Sharpie pen cap!
  6. Brush the tops with the egg. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until light golden in color. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely before eating or storing in an airtight container. These cookies are very delicate and can smudge easily. Be gentle with them.

Andrea Nguyen is a James Beard award-winning author, cooking teacher, consultant and editor. Her latest book is “Vietnamese Food Any Day” (Ten Speed Press, 2019). She edited “Unforgettable”, the biography cookbook about culinary legend Paula Wolfert.

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