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Peanut cookies are a must have during Chinese New Year. They’ve never been my favourite but they have proved popular amongst friends, I think mostly because they taste like a mouthful of crispy peanut butter.

mmm cookies

The best part is that they have no butter, and just four ingredients. They’re very simple to make, though there is a tiny bit of not so good news – they’re tiny and need to be shaped individually. Traditionally, these cookies are rolled into balls, but I found that they this meant that they weren’t perfectly sized, so I’ve used a ½ tbsp measure instead.

I like to use salted roasted peanuts because it’s a lot less work than roasting and peeling peanuts, but also because I love the salty-sweet flavour combination.

roasted peanuts

It’s a no-fail recipe, but two things will affect the final product – how coarsely or finely you blend your peanuts, and how much oil you use to bind the mixture. The finer the consistency, the more crumbly your cookie will be. I like a bit of crunch, so I processed mine to a medium consistency (see picture). Too much oil will make the cookie, well, oily, so you should aim to use just enough to bind the mixture together (and then I like to add a splash or two more just in case). If you don’t add enough oil, the cookies will tend to crack in the oven and look rather less appetising.

peanut cookies

Peanut cookies
makes approx 100

425g peanuts, I used roasted salted
425g plain flour
350g sugar
250-300 ml vegetable or canola oil
¼ tsp salt (if using unsalted peanuts)

1 beaten egg, for glazing
about 75g peanuts, for topping

ground peanuts

  1. Roast all the peanuts (500g) at 180C until you can start to smell them, they should be lightly golden. Even if you have bought already roasted peanuts, roast them briefly again, at 150C to help bring out the oils that will bind the cookie together.
  2. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Leave the oven at 180C.
  3. Weigh out 425g and blend in a food processor until your desired consistency.
  4. Add sugar, flour and salt to the food processor and pulse a few more times to combine.
  5. Remove the mixture to a large bowl and add 200ml of the oil. Add more oil as necessary to bind the mixture, it may need more depending on how coarsely the peanuts have been ground. I ended up using about 260ml.
  6. Shape using a ½ tbsp measure, turn out onto the palm of your hand, tuck in the rough edges, then top with half a peanut, making sure not to press too hard, as it will crack the cookie.
  7. Glaze with beaten egg – this is to hold the peanut on top as well as to give the cookie a golden brown finish.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Peanut cookies composite