Crispy Almond Cookies | Kung Fu Panda

I do love an almond cookie. Especially ones with a film inspired twist! Kung Fu Panda meets a snack that actually features in the film. My crispy almond cookies are inspired by the traditional Chinese almond cookie. Let’s get kickin’.

About the film:

As it’s Chinese Lunar New Year this weekend (Happy Year of the Rabbit!), it felt right to put together a film-inspired recipe to celebrate both the holiday and the film. Or, in this case, the film series! 

Now, I know that Kung Fu Panda is technically an American series of films as they are the creative babies of Dreamworks Animation, but I love these films so much – they are just so joyous, funny and heartwarming, plus the subject of the films is China and Kung Fu.

So, I devised an idea to bake a batch of crispy almond cookies and decorate them with imagery inspired by the Kung Fu Panda films.

Alongside mammoth talents like Jack Black, Lucy Lui, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, David Cross, Seth Rogen and Dustin Hoffman, these films feature the glorious voice acting skills of Michelle Yeoh, Randall Duk Kim and James Hong.

The three films were directed by Mark Osborne & John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda), Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2 – my personal favourite) and Alessandro Carlini with Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3).

Writers of the three films include Jonathan Aibel; Glen Burger, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris and Chris Poche.

The story follows the journey of Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black) on his journey to living his dream.

It begins with just that – a dream – until he is thrust onto his path of destiny as if by ‘accident’. He meets his Kung Fu heroes, finds his true self and learns the art of Kung Fu all in an easy ninety (ish) minutes. From local noodle chef to becoming the Dragon Warrior, this delightful adventure story is one of my favourites for a reason. 

For me, this three-chapter film series is something I can press play on without ever getting bored of it. It’s got such warmth to it that it just makes me feel good. The same goes for these crispy almond cookies so it’s a perfect combination!

About the bake:

There are differing opinions on whether these crispy almond cookies are actually traditional but having done some extra research, it seems that it genuinely depends on the family/person’s traditions. The important thing is that these cookies bring people together and are a great treat for Lunar New Year.

Because of their round and golden appearance, they can be associated with gold coins and so are believed to represent gold coins and subsequently, abundance and prosperity.

Crispy almond cookies are great to make with your friends or with kids.

This recipe is so fun and so easy to follow.

Plus, you won’t find it difficult to get a delicious end result. These crispy almond cookies are light, fluffy, soft in the middle with a slight crisp on the outside. The great thing is that even if you accidentally over-do them a little in the oven, they will soften overnight as these cookies will naturally soften the longer they exist, even in an airtight container.

I was inspired by this recipe by Just One Cookbook. Honestly, this blog is one of my favourite go-to sources for authentic East Asian food.

No copyright infringement intended.

These cookies are traditionally topped with a blanched or natural almond in the centre and I wanted to respect that, so I did just that with half the batch I baked. I then painted the other half of the batch with imagery from the Kung Fu Panda films. By all means adapt the imagery in this recipe to other symbols related to the Kung Fu Panda films.

I chose a radish, a panda paw print and the Yin Yang symbol because they are strongly connected and represented in the films. If you have the skills to paint more intricate images like say… a dragon then by all means do that and represent the Dragon Warrior vibes! 

Top Tips:

  • The bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] is key to achieve that fluffy, gentle rise. So, don’t leave it out!
  • Vodka is key for creating the watercolour effect and only a tiny amount is needed. You won’t taste it at all, but you can use edible paint instead if preferred.
  • Avoid overworking the mixture as it could change the texture of the cookies once baked.
  • Get artistic with your designs – the whole film can be used as inspiration!

I wanted to put together a recipe that was less ‘showstopper’ and more of a treat that anyone with any baking experience (or none at all!) could follow and enjoy. I hope you have fun making these crispy almond cookies and eating them – perhaps with a lovely cup of Jasmine tea to accompany them. Have a wonderful Lunar New Year if you are celebrating!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Crispy almond cookies:

  • 120g [4.25 oz] unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 100g [½ cup] caster sugar 
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 120g [1 cup] plain flour [all-purpose flour]
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
  • 120g [1 cup] ground almonds [almond flour]

Decoration:

  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 20 – 25 blanched or natural almonds
  • Pink food colouring
  • Jade green food colouring
  • White food colouring
  • Black food colouring
  • A bottle cap of vodka optional

Serves: 20

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour

Baking time: 15 – 20 minutes

Method:

Crispy almond cookies:

  1. Beat the butter to loosen it slightly, then beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Beat in the egg, salt and almond extract until combined.
  3. Sift in your plain flour and bicarbonate of soda. Then, add the ground almonds and mix in until combined.
  4. Shape your mix into a ball shape in your mixing bowl, cover with cling film (or beeswax covering) and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. When your cookie dough has chilled for 1 hour, line a tray or two with greaseproof paper/baking parchment and preheat your oven to 170°C [325°F] or 160°C fan.
  6. Scoop about 1 tbsp of your dough and roll into a ball. Place on your lined tray(s).
  7. Repeat this until you are out of dough and you have around 20 (less or more is fine!) balls of dough. 
  8. Using the palm of your hand, press each ball into a disc shape about ½ inch in thickness. Make sure each cookie has a good amount of space around it as they will spread every so slightly in the oven.
  9. Place an almond in the centre of each cookie – do this for half of your batch, leaving the other half without so that you can decorate them.
  10. Whisk an egg in a small bowl with a tiny splash of water. Brush your cookies with the egg wash to achieve that lovely golden shine.
  11. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. They will be done when they are a lovely golden colour.
  12. Leave to cool completely on your trays.

Decoration:

  1. Once cool, mix each of your food colourings in separate bowls, sharing the bottle cap of vodka between all four. 
  2. Using the vodka/colour solutions, paint the cookies without the almonds on with the radish, paw print and Yin Yang designs – or whatever imagery you have chosen.
  3. Leave to dry (this is pretty instantaneous!).

These delicious crispy almond cookies will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container but will soften over time. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Crispy Almond Cookies | Kung Fu Panda

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Delicious and delicate crispy almond cookies with painted character designs, celebrating Dreamworks' Kung Fu Panda film series.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Snack
Servings 20

Ingredients
  

For the cookies:

  • 120 g [4.25 oz] unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g [½ cup] caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 120 g [1 cup] plain flour [all-purpose flour]
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
  • 120 g [1 cup] ground almonds [almond flour]

For the decoration:

  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 20 blanched or natural almonds
  • Pink food colouring
  • Jade-green food colouring
  • White food colouring
  • Black food colouring
  • A bottle cap of vodka optional

Instructions
 

  • Beat the butter to loosen it slightly, then beat in the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, salt and almond extract until combined.
  • Sift in your plain flour and bicarbonate of soda. Then, add the ground almonds and mix in until combined.
  • Shape your mix into a ball shape in your mixing bowl, cover with cling film (or beeswax covering) and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • When your cookie dough has chilled for 1 hour, line a tray or two with greaseproof paper/baking parchment and preheat your oven to 170°C [325°F] or 160°C fan.
  • Scoop about 1 tbsp of your dough and roll into a ball. Place on your lined tray(s).
  • Repeat this until you are out of dough and you have around 20 (less or more is fine!) balls of dough.
  • Using the palm of your hand, press each ball into a disc shape about ½ inch in thickness. Make sure each cookie has a good amount of space around it as they will spread ever so slightly in the oven.
  • Place an almond in the centre of each cookie – do this for half of your batch, leaving the other half without so that you can decorate them.
  • Whisk an egg in a small bowl with a tiny splash of water. Brush your cookies with the egg wash to achieve that lovely golden shine.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. They will be done when they are a lovely golden colour.
  • Leave to cool completely on your trays.
  • Once cool, mix each of your food colourings in separate bowls, sharing the bottle cap of vodka between all four.
  • Using the vodka/colour solutions, paint the cookies without the almonds on with the radish, paw print and Yin Yang designs – or whatever imagery you have chosen.
  • Leave to dry (this is pretty instantaneous!).

Notes

These delicious crispy almond cookies will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container but will soften over time. Enjoy!
Keyword almond cookies, baking with kids, chinese almond cookies, crispy almond cookies, kung fu panda, painted cookies

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