This article was originally published for Curious Cuisiniere.
I know the New Year just started, but with Chinese New Year around the corner, I was reminded of Macau-Style Almond Mung Bean Cookies.
As a child, I remember eating this style of almond cookie from a fluorescent pink and yellow tin.
Admittedly, these almond cookies from the tin weren’t my favourite.
The dry crumbly cookie would leave my throat powdery and I’d need to chase it down with a glass of milk.
On the other hand, this recipe produces a cookie that almost melts-in-your mouth and is light and absolutely delicious. No need for a glass of milk with these cookies!
WHAT ARE CHINESE ALMOND MUNG BEAN COOKIES?
Chinese Almond Mung Bean Cookies are a nutty, tender, crumbly cookie — slightly sweet and fragrant with essence of almond.
The cookies are typically round, with a powdery exterior, and usually have a stamp imprinted on the surface.
These cookies are different than the Chinese almond cookie/biscuit that have an almond on the surface of the cookie.
WHERE DID THE COOKIES ORIGINATE FROM?
Almond Mung Bean Cookies originated from Canton, China but are most prominently found in Macau.
Many vendors and hawkers in Macau have claims of having the best almond cookie — the most famous one being from Koi Kei Bakery.
INGREDIENTS IN THE CHINESE ALMOND MUNG BEAN COOKIES
These Almond Mung Bean Cookies are surprisingly simple to make with minimal ingredients:
- almond flour: is whole almond nuts processed into a fine flour. It may also be labeled as “ground almonds.” You can find it in health food stores and regular supermarkets, including Costco.
- mung bean flour: can come in a green flour (made from mung beans with the skins left on) or yellow flour (mung beans de-skinned). Either variety will work. It may also be labeled as “moong bean,” “green bean starch” or “green bean flour.” It is readily sold in Asian supermarkets in small packages.
- rice flour: is used as a binder for the cookies and is made of finely milled white rice. It keeps the cookies light in texture. It’s easily found in Asian supermarkets in small packages, and increasingly more common in regular grocery stores. Be sure not to confuse it with glutinous rice flour, which is different and produces a chewy texture, usually common in mochi.
- icing sugar: also known as powdered sugar, adds sweetness to the cookies.
- butter/coconut oil: (both at room temperature) a mixture of butter and coconut oil adds flavour to the cookies; if you want to make them vegan, you can just replace the butter portion with coconut oil.
- almond extract: use pure almond extract; adds pronounced almond flavour to the cookies
SPECIAL TOOLS NEEDED FOR MAKING ALMOND COOKIES
Chinese mooncake stamp/mold
One unique tool you do need for this recipe is a Chinese mooncake stamp/mold which will leave a decorative imprint on the finished cookie and help the cookie hold its shape.
There are 2 types:
- Traditional Chinese mooncake/cookie molds are wooden — you place the dough firmly into the mold and bang it out.
- Modern mooncake molds are plastic and spring-loaded, where you place the dough into the mold and then eject it out by pressing on the lever. (You can purchase mooncake molds on online or Amazon).
Water spray bottle
Another tool that you’ll want to have is a plastic water sprayer bottle. You can pick these up at the dollar store.
I like having one that is dedicated to kitchen use, filled with clean filtered water. They’re handy for misting baguettes.
Spraying the cookies with water helps to moisten them and not be too crumbly while handling.
HOW TO MAKE THE ALMOND MUNG BEAN COOKIES
Toast the flours (mung bean flour, rice flour, almond flour) in a low-temperature oven, to release their natural oils and aroma.
Let the toasted flours cool.
Sift together the flours with the icing sugar.
In a separate bowl, cream together the softened butter and coconut oil and add in the almond extract.
Add the butter mixture into the dry ingredients (flour mixture) and mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Gather a small bit of the mixture with your hands and clump it together. If it holds together, it’s ready to go.
If not, give the mixture a spray of water until it can be formed into a clump.
Fill mooncake mold with a large heaped tablespoon of mixture. Gently pat down mixture.
Invert the mooncake mold, press down firmly on the plunger to imprint the shape.
Release the cookie onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake at 300F for 30-35 minutes, until slightly browned and aromatic.
CAN I MAKE THESE ALMOND COOKIES VEGAN?
Yes, just replace the butter with coconut oil.
WHICH TYPE OF COCONUT OIL TO USE?
You can use either unrefined or refined (without coconut aroma). It’s up to you.
CAN I MAKE THESE COOKIES WITHOUT THE MOONCAKE MOLD?
No, you’ll need the mold to help the cookies keep their shape, as they are quite delicate.
HOW TO STORE & ENJOY THE ALMOND MUNG BEAN COOKIES
Let the cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
These delicate cookies are fragile, but the nuttiness and aroma from the almond and mung bean is like no other.
No wonder the lasting impression of these almond cookies would stay with me until now.
Make a pot of tea and enjoy the cookies for an afternoon tea or a snack.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may enjoy these Chinese recipes:
Let me know if you try out this recipe — tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Chinese Macau-Style Almond Mung Bean Cookies
- mooncake mold (50g)
- sprayer with clean water
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 180 g mung bean flour
- 80 g rice flour
- 60 g almond flour
- 60 g icing sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter room temp
- 50 g coconut oil room temp
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 200°F/93°C.
- Add mung bean flour, rice flour, and almond flour to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven to lightly toast the flours, stirring intermittently, for about 20 mins.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the cooled mung bean flour, rice flour, almond flour, with the icing sugar.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the softened butter and coconut oil with a fork. Add in the almond extract.
- Add the butter mixture into the flour mixture, and gently mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Spritz the mixture with some water.
- Gather a small bit of the flour mixture in your hands and clump it together -- if it holds together, then it’s ready. If it’s too crumbly, add a little spritz of water to it until the mixture can be formed into a clump.
- Preheat oven to 300°F/149°C.
- Fill mooncake mold with a large heaped tablespoon of mixture. Gently pat down mixture.
- Invert the mooncake mold, press down firmly on the plunger to imprint the shape.
- Release the cookie onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- If using a wooden mooncake mold, place the mixture firmly into the mold, invert and bang it out onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes at 300°F/149°C until slightly browned and smells aromatic.
- Let cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.