These Hup Toh Soh is a cookie but this recipe results a very crisp and crunchy cookie, sort of like a Biscotti. If you like crisp and crunchy, then give this recipe a try. Strangely, this cookie is called Walnut Crisp/Cookie (hup Toh is cantonese for walnut) but there is no walnuts in the dough. I top the crisp with a piece of walnut just to justify the name. Could it be that the appearance of the baked crisp/cookie, with all the cracks, looked like a walnut????
In traditional Chinese medicine, walnuts are associated with the Lung, Large Intestine and Kidney meridians, and have sweet and warm properties. Its functions are to tonify the kidneys, nourish the blood, warm the lungs and moisten the intestines. Typically, walnuts are used to treat pain and weakness in the knees and back, aid in digestion, and relieve asthma. Recent evidence suggests walnuts may play a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels, thus reducing the incidence of some forms of heart disease. Science provides a slightly less mysterious explanation: walnuts have been found to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient for the human brain. Incidentally, dont you think that the walnut flesh looks like the brain ?
I believe that a sweet sticky chewy walnut/dates confection was eaten during ancient times in China , in the hope that family bonds will remain as strong as these sweet, sticky candies. How on earth did the ancient Chinese know that???? This recipe i will try to locate, in the meantime, enjoy eating these cookies..
2 cups bleached all-purpose
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ammonia powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lard/shortening
1 large egg (beaten)
Egg yolk for glazing
Put the flour, baking soda, ammonia powder, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a couple of times to mix ingredints well.
Add in the lard/shortening and pulse until flour mixture becomes breadcrumb like.
Add in the beaten egg and pulse until a tiny piece of dough can be pressed together to form a dough.(mixture will look crumbly but can be pressed tiogether).
Using a 1 oz ice-cream scoop, scoop dough out and roll dough into balls.
Sprinkle some flour on to baking sheet and place balls on it. Flatten the ball slightly, press a hole in the middle with your thumb, glaze with egg yolk and top with a piece of walnut in the hole.
Bake in preheated oven 250 f for 10 minutes and then increase the oven temperature to 300 f and further bake for another 10 minutes.
Cool cookies on cake rack and when it is cooled, serve or pack into air-tight containers.