Chinese New Year – Making Almond Cookies

I could feel it. S was about to accuse of me of being a Food Nazi—again.

She told me that one classmate had Oreos for snack time earlier this week and another had Oreo ice cream in a cup. I was dumbfounded. Really? Now, was she telling me because she herself was shocked, too? Or because she was trying to say, “Mom, you’re the only parent who’s such a Food Nazi!” In either case, I was listening.

I would’ve had a hard time believing her, except that a few months ago I had chaperoned a school field trip. Boy, that was eye-opening! Mini-blueberry muffins, crunchy breadsticks, Pringles and little tiny cookies. That was the entirety one child’s lunch. Elsewhere, I got a glimpse of Pepperidge Farm chocolate-chip cookies bigger than the size of my palm, snicker doodles, and crackers galore—Cheez-Its, Goldfish, graham crackers. Oh my carb! Don’t get me wrong. I love a good carb as much as the next person, but many carbs make not a meal. Where was the protein, not to mention fruits and vegetables?

I thought the school had a no-sweets policy, but apparently it’s either not enforced or I was delusional. “They mean ‘No candy,'” S explained. “Told you you’re allowed to pack dessert.” I guess she was right. However, it didn’t change my lunch-packing routine. I always figured desserts were after-dinner treats, not after-every-meal goodies. But even I could see that perhaps I was being a bit, ahem, rigid.

So, I decided to surprise S with some homemade Chinese almond cookies. And I could feed them to her guilt-free under the guise of cultural heritage. We baked the cookies together, with C putting a blanched almond in the center of each ball of dough and S brushing the tops of the cookies with an egg wash.


S was positively giddy with excitement when she saw me slip a light, buttery cookie into her lunchbox the next day. But just as I was about to feel proud of myself for loosening up a bit, she asked me, “One? Can I please have two?”

Click here for the recipe for Chinese Almond Cookies.


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