Makes 32 cookies
20 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 70 minutes total

People serve many kinds of cookies and candies to guests on Chinese New Year. Walnut cookies are often included.


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz/120 g) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/50 g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • scant 2 cups (8 oz/225 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/65 g) shelled walnuts, broken, plus extra to decorate (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4.

Beat the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons egg and mix until fully blended.

Sift the flour, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Sift again. Add to the wet mixture, in batches, and mix into a dough. Stir in the broken walnuts. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet, shape into a disk, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 32 portions. Roll each portion into a ball in your palms and flatten slightly into a small round cookie. Top each circle, if desired, with a piece of broken walnut and transfer to a baking sheet.

Mix the remaining beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops of the cookies. Bake for 18 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F/160°C/Gas Mark 3 and bake for another 13 minutes until baked through.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Adapted from China: The Cookbook by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan (Phaidon, 2016)

Adapted from China: The Cookbook by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan (Phaidon, 2016)