Chinese Walnut Cookies – Hétáosū/ Hup Toh Soh

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Last Updated on February 5, 2021 by Chef Mireille

Hup Toh Soh – Walnut Cookies are traditional Chinese Walnut Cookies always made to celebrate the Lunar Festival to symbolize happiness. These delicious Shortbread cookies are often just called Chinese New Year Cookies or Chinese New Year Biscuits.

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Chinese New Year

In a few days, people of Chinese origin will be celebrating the Lunar New Year. This is the most important holiday for most Chinese. Many traditional foods are eaten during the 2 week holiday that symbolize wealth, prosperity, good fortune, longevity and hapiness. These Lunar Festival Walnut Cookies symbolize hapiness and have a lovely shortbread like texture.

The Lunar Festival is celebrated in many countries with Chinese descended populations. Even here in NYC, we have a Lunar Festival parade every year in Chinatown. In Malaysia and the Phillipines, it is one of the biggest festivals of the year. There are variations to these cookies that exist in these other countries, where peanut is more often used than walnut.

Chinese New Year Traditions

There are 12 Chinese zodiac symbols that are repeated every 12 years. This is the Year of theOx (2020) so just count back every 12 years to figure out if this is your year or not. In Chinese astrology, it is believed that you will have bad luck in your birth year because you are offending Tai Sui, the God of Age. This is why many of the foods made for Chinese New Year are meant to symbolize good luck to safeguard against the bad luck that is predicted.

Since red is a color of good luck in Chinese culture, it is often recommended to wear red in your birth year to bring on good luck. Red socks, a red belt and red underwear especially is seen as very lucky. However, there is a caveat. Someone else must buy you the red underwear. You cannot buy it yourself. Otherwise, it wont ward off the predicted bad luck. You can also wear jade accessories to ward off the bad luck.

If you would like to learn more check out these 10 Chinese New Year Recipes with a downloadable one sheeter to teach your kids (and yourself 😊) all about this holiday.

Chinese New Year Infographic

Web Story

This recipe is also available as a web story. Check out the Chinese Cookies Web Story for Chinese New Year.

Walnut Meal

Walnut Meal is the most traditional version of this cookies. However, in some countries where walnuts are harder to come by, peanut meal or almond meal is used.

Just like with regular nuts, walnut meal or any nut meal will go rancid if not utilized in a short period of time. For this reason, once opened, you should store the nut meal in the refrigerator until you finish it.

Since walnut meal is not that common, here are a few other recipes you can try that use walnut meal.

Now let’s go over what else you need to make these delicious Chinese Walnut Cookies.

Ingredients

ingredients for Chinese Walnut Cookies with labels

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Important Note

These are basically a shortbread type of cookie, so the batter is a bit on the dry side, but do not be tempted to add more liquid. The cookies will bind and come together.

How to make Chinese Walnut Cookies

  • Mix the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Use the paddle attachment of an electric mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon.
steps for Chinese Walnut Cookies
  • Add walnut meal.
  • Add 1/2 of the beaten egg
  • Add milk and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • The batter will be quite dry.
  • By hand, form the cookies into balls. The heat of your hands will bind the cookie mix.
  • Flatten the balls a bit and press a walnut piece in the middle of each cookie.
  • Brush the tops with the remaining 1/2 of the egg.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.

These walnut cookies are super fast and easy to put together, so you still have time to get them made before the New Year begins.

For some other sweet treats to celebrate the Lunar New Year, try these other Chinese New Year specialties I’ve made:

Chinese New Year Recipes

Chinese Walnut Cookies with Chinese New Year decorations
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5 from 11 votes
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Chinese Walnut Cookies – Hup Toh Soh

These cookies are traditionally eaten during the Lunar Festival, also known as Chinese New Year
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 12 cookies
Calories: 212kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until creamy. You can also mix by hand with a wooden spoon or use a handheld electric mixer.
  • Add flour combo and mix to combine.
  • Add ½ the egg and milk. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • It is a dry looking dough, but do not be tempted to add more liquid. The heat from your hands will provide the additional moisture to make the cookies come together.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spray with non stick spray.
  • Form walnut sized balls. Make an indent and place a walnut piece in the center. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat until all the cookies have been formed. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush cookies with the other half of the egg.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. As soon as you take them out, press the walnut cookies into the dough again if necessary. Some may have risen a bit. Leave on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes to set.

Notes

If you don’t have access to walnut meal, dry roast ¾ cup walnut pieces and then grind coarsely. If using freshly ground walnuts, there will be more moisture and you might be able to omit the milk. First test one cookie and see if it will bind. If it does not, then add the milk.
Store leftover walnut meal in the refrigerator.
Yield: 10-12 cookies, depending on size.

Nutrition

Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 229IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Marta

    5 stars
    I was looking for a home ec project for my twins for Chinese New Year and found this recipe in a search. We loved how nutty and warm the cookies tasted. We added a pinch of Chinese five spice to see what we thought and it was surprisingly good.

  2. Kate

    5 stars
    The walnut meal added a wonderful dimension! These were gone in a few minutes! I can’t wait to make these walnut cookies again!

  3. Robin

    5 stars
    I’m a tea drinker so I love a good shortbread cookie during tea time. I decided recently I was going to stop buying cookies and try to make them, so this recipe was right on time. The walnuts made them even more amazing!

  4. Mila

    5 stars
    Chef, you always have me trying new things, and I loved these cookies! The nutty flavor comes through so well with these, and my husband said they go great with his coffee.

  5. Tamara

    5 stars
    These cookies were amazing! So much more simple to make than what I was expecting. The flavor was delicious too! I can’t wait to make them again soon.

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