Oh, how we associate certain foods and flavors with certain occasions. Chinese New Year is around the corner (February 8th) and everyone's baking up a storm! Chinese New Year cookies are a unique breed that holds a firm place on the calendar. You don't see much of them at other times of the year, but come January and February, they march out of the oven and practically take over the house.
At least that's how I remember it growing up in Malaysia. Containers filled with cookies of different shapes and sizes are lined up, prepped for "bai lin", the custom of visiting friends and relatives during the special occasion. I was taught by my mother to dress in red and never to go empty-handed, and I most certainly never returned empty-handed. Exploring Chinese New Year cookies served in the candy box and finding out which kinds were gifted to me was just as exciting as ripping open the "ang pao" (red envelope) to see how much lucky money I received.
One of my favorite Chinese New Year cookies is the peculiar cornflake cookie. I say peculiar because it's essentially breakfast in cookie form, but I've only ever eaten it during the lunar new year celebration. They are easily made by lightly baking clusters of cornflakes coated with honey and butter, hence their other name: honey joys.
I'm sharing the recipe for a lightened vegan version, in which maple syrup and coconut oil are used instead, and almond flakes and dried wild blueberries are included for added texture and flavor. These cookies are quickly becoming a healthy snack option for me! I also tried the recipe with my favorite ancient grain breakfast flakes, and they turned out just as good. Now, I don't have to explain myself for having five (or six) cookies first thing in the morning, do I?
Chinese New Year Cookie Party!
I'd love to share more Chinese New Year cookies with you by welcoming you to the virtual #ChineseNewYearCookieParty some awesome food bloggers and I are having! My heart swells with joy when looking at the festive list of cookies created by these talented folks. We're inviting you to get to know these special cookies and try these recipes at home. You'll find my recipe for Vegan Cornflake Cereal Cookies at the bottom of this post.
• Sesame Spiral Pie Cookies by Bams Kitchen
• Cherry Blossom Cookies by Brunch-n-Bites
• Red Bean and Strawberry Pinwheel Cookies by Butter and Type
• Pecan Sandies by Created to Cook
• Chocolate Almond Cookies by Curious Nut
• Chinese Peanut Cookies by Daily Cooking Quest
• Melt-in-the-Mouth Chinese Gluten-Free Peanut Cookies by Foodie Baker
• Honey Almond Cookies by Hapa Nom Nom
• Mochi Stuffed Almond Cookies by Miss Hangrypants
• Fried Red Bean Puffs by The Missing Lokness
• Quinoa Sesame Brittle by Omnivore's Cookbook
• Macau Almond Cookies by Thirsty for Tea
• Tapioca Cookies (Kue Bangkit) by What to Cook Today
• Pineapple Jam Tarts by Wok & Skillet
• Browned Butter Chinese Walnut Cookies by Yummy Workshop
Join the party on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) with the hashtag #ChineseNewYearCookieParty and share your cookie creations with us. Tag me @vermilionroots so I can see. Happy baking! May the year of the Monkey be prosperous, fruitful and delicious for you!
Leave me a comment below: What's your favorite celebration cookie?
Vegan Cornflake Cereal Cookies
These cookies are a cinch to make. They are traditionally made using corn flakes but I invite you to try the recipe with your favorite cereal flakes, and add your preferred nut and dried fruit (just make sure they are not too chunky so they stay together in the cluster). The main tip is to move quickly after all the ingredients are mixed together and resist from dropping them into your mouth throughout the process. Makes about 2 dozen mini cups.
2 heaping cups cornflakes or cereal flakes of your choice
1/2 cup almond flakes
1/4 cup dried wild blueberries (optional)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 300° F. In a large bowl, mix cereal flakes, almond flakes and dried wild blueberries. In a small bowl, stir melted coconut oil and maple syrup together until combined. You may heat it up slightly in the microwave to help with the mixing. Gradually pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and toss until the dry ingredients are fully coated. Quickly divide and scoop mixture into mini baking cups, place them on a baking pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.