Greet Chinese New Year (or any holiday) with homemade hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies), and my recipe uses walnut and sesame seed for extra nuttiness.
Any holiday is a great excuse to bake a mountain of cookies, and Chinese New Year is no different. Growing up, my Grandma bakes at least a dozen different cookies, all arranged in pretty jars, to welcome the new year and to greet guests that visit our house during Chinese New Year.
This hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies) is a must-have item and make a regular appearance each year. It is very easy to bake these at home, and if you love these cookies, feel free to whip up a batch at any time of the year and not just for CNY. :)
What you need to prepare a batch of hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies)
Ingredients to prepare a batch of hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies) are very straightforward and should be really easy to procure.
You will need all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, walnuts (toasted and coarsely chopped), sesame seeds (toasted), unsalted butter, sugar (either regular white sugar, or brown sugar), and eggs.
To get coarsely chopped walnuts, you can either pulse whole toasted walnuts for 2-3 seconds in a food processor, or place whole toasted walnuts in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.
How to shape hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies)
Hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies) are traditionally shaped like a round dish.
First, make 1 teaspoon (~ 10 gram) round balls from the cookie dough and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Then, either grab a spoon, or a fork and press the round ball to flatten. The spoon will give you plain disc-shaped cookies while using a fork, you get disc-shaped cookies with indentation.
Bake the cookies in two half-sheet pans.
This recipe should yield about 80 pieces of cookies, and the easiest way for me to bake these is using two half-sheet pans.
I arrange the cookies in a 5x8 per baking pan, in other words, 40 cookies per pan.
Also, the cookies will expand slightly, but if you space them apart in your half-sheet pan, they shouldn’t end up touching each other.
Store fully cooled cookies in airtight container.
Although hup toh soh (Chinese walnut cookies) are super addictive, I strongly suggest you don’t eat the whole batch in one seating. Be sure to store your fully cooled cookies in airtight containers.
If you are preparing these cookies to celebrate Chinese New Year, they should stay fresh at the minimum 2 weeks when stored properly, so all your Chinese New Year guests can enjoy your homemade cookies.
Of course, these cookies are great for gifting too, and I am sure the recipients will be happy to receive your homemade hup toh soh.
Hup Toh Soh Chinese Walnut Cookies
- 280 gram (~ 2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 150 gram (~ 1 cup) walnut, toasted and coarsely chopped (I pulse for 2-3 seconds with my food processor)
- 50 gram (~ 1/3 cup) sesame seeds, toasted
- 175 gram (~ 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 90 gram (~ 1/2 cup) sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
- Preheat oven to 165 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit). Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Then add the walnut and sesame seeds and mix well. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg yolks and beat until well mixed. Then, lower the speed and gradually add the flour and walnut mixture and mix until it form a smooth cookie dough.
NOTE: The texture of this cookie dough can be quite dry, and it is usually easier to work with hands at the very end to gather the dough.
- Form round balls (each about 1 teaspoon, or 10 gram) from the cookie dough and arrange on the prepared half-sheet pans. You should get about 80 balls, and you can arrange them in a 5x8 cookies per half-sheet pan.
- Use a fork and press each ball of cookie to create an indentation. Then brush the top of each cookie with the lightly beaten egg (egg wash).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove cookies from oven and rest in the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.