Chinese Peanut Cookies

November 20, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
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. I assure you that homemade ones taste far better.

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, asking me if I wanted the recipe. Heck yes.

These peanut cookies are full of peanut goodness, rich and lardy but there's no lard involved. Ground peanuts, cooking oil, and butter enrich the dough. The confectioners' (powdered) sugar added to the crumbly texture. Karen used canola 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. These cookies come together very quickly. As for those cracks? They add 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

  • Makes 48 to 60 cookies
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 10.75 ounces (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup fragrant peanut or canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
In This Recipe
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Put the peanuts in a food processor and grind into the texture of coarse crumbs. Add the confectioners' sugar and process until there is a mixture of fine crumbs and powder, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl if needed. Do not over process or you'll end up with peanut butter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Dump the peanut mixture into bowl and stir until well combined.
  4. Drizzle melted butter and the oil into the bowl. Use your hands to mix and knead the ingredients to form soft dough. It will soften as you knead it. The dough texture feel a bit like coarse playdough. If the dough becomes too soft to handle and feels oily, refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes to firm up. If the dough feels dry, add oil one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and put them on the baking sheets, spaced 1 1/2 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 lightly with beaten egg, then bake for 20 to 22 minutes until light golden in color. Transfer to 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joan - Downstairs
    Joan - Downstairs
  • Bonnie L Hunt
    Bonnie L Hunt
  • Andrea Nguyen
    Andrea Nguyen
  • karen
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.

9 Reviews

karen March 15, 2020
can you use something in place of confectioner's sugar? i'm out!
Author Comment
Andrea N. March 16, 2020
How about if you make a substitute? I just checked for you and found this, from Betty Crocker!
Darian February 5, 2019
I made these last night for Chinese New Year today - they are delicious! A bit crumbly but based on notes I expected that. I used an apple corer then the end of a chopstick to make a little "snout" on top of each in honor of the year of the pig :-)
Joan -. January 29, 2016
I would never have thought about baking peanut cookies - they are so thoroughly ingrained in my brain as a bakery/restaurant item. Now, I'm eager to make batches of them to share for the new year!

I like to use weight measures in baking for more accuracy and fewer dishes. I suspect this recipe was converted to volume from weight measures - otherwise where did 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of nuts come from! If it's easy to do, could you post the weight measures, please?

ChefGam January 29, 2016
OK to use Whole Foods peanut oil or is the taste of the oil sold in Asian stores significantly better?
Author Comment
Andrea N. January 29, 2016
So long as the peanut oil at Whole Foods is unrefined. I think it is and says so on the label. The color is akin to sesame oil. My guess is that their peanut oil is made by Spectrum!
Bonnie L. December 13, 2015
actually, it just says 3/4 and then nothing....
Author Comment
Andrea N. December 13, 2015
That's a presentation issue. The quantity was inputted as 10 3/4 ounces but the system put the 3/4 on the next line. NO bueno. I just edited it to say 10.75 ounces. Thanks for the heads up. It's a lovely cookie. Hope you like it.
Bonnie L. December 13, 2015
i'm missing something in the ingredient list. underneath the 10 oz. of flour it says 3/4 c. but doesn't list what it is? any help with this?