In a few days, people of Chinese origin will be celebrating the Lunar New Year. This is the most important holiday for most Chinese. Many traditional foods are eaten during the 2 week holiday that symbolize wealth, prosperity, good fortune, longevity and hapiness. These Lunar Festival Walnut Cookies symbolize hapiness and have a lovely shortbread like texture.
The Lunar Festival is celebrated in many countries with Chinese descended populations. Even here in NYC, we have a Lunar Festival parade every year in Chinatown. In Malaysia and the Phillipines, it is one of the biggest festivals of the year. There are variations to these cookies that exist in these other countries, where peanut is more often used than walnut.
There are 12 Chinese zodiac symbols that are repeated every 12 years. This is the Year of the Rooster so just count back every 12 years to figure out if this is your year or not. In Chinese astrology, it is believed that you will have bad luck in your birth year because you are offending Tai Sui, the God of Age. This is why many of the foods made for Chinese New Year are meant to symbolize good luck to safeguard against the bad luck that is predicted. Since red is a color of good luck in Chinese culture, it is often recommended to wear red in your birth year to bring on good luck. Red socks, a red belt and red underwear especially is seen as very lucky. However, there is a caveat. Someone else must buy you the red underwear. You cannot buy it yourself. Otherwise, it wont ward off the predicted bad luck. You can also wear jade accessories to ward off the bad luck.
These walnut cookies are super fast and easy to put together, so you still have time to get them made before the New Year begins. Bring them to the office to share hapiness in the coming year with all of your co-workers.
For some other sweet treats to celebrate the Lunar New Year, try these other Chinese New Year specialties I’ve made:
Nian Gao – Coconut Sticky Rice Cake
Chinese Walnut Cookies - hétáosū
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup walnut meal
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 13 walnut pieces
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until creamy.
- Add flour combo and mix to combine.
- Add ½ the egg and milk. Mix until thoroughly combined. It is a dry looking dough, but do not be tempted to add more liquid. The heat from your hands will provide the additional moisture to make the cookies come together.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spray with non stick spray.
- Form walnut sized balls. Make an indent and place a walnut piece in the center. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat until all the cookies have been formed. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush cookies with the other half of the egg.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. As soon as you take them out, press the walnut cookies into the dough again. Some may have risen a bit. Leave on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes to set.