Nothing makes me more homesick than being away from family during Chinese new year. Like Christmas, Chinese new year is the time when family and relatives from far and near gather to celebrate. This year, the new year falls on February 8,2016 (It falls on different date every year). The celebration starts on the eve, the 7th (for this year). This was the time when my mom really cooked up a storm in the kitchen. 10 dishes or more at least were spread on the table. It’s literally a feast ! The celebration ends on day 16, which is marked by the lantern festival.
It’s also my favorite time of the year when I was still in school, because the school would be out for 3 days 😉 From day 1 to probably day 4 or 5 were the time when kids receive lots and lots of money placed in the red envelopes. We call it “ang bao” (literally translate to red packet). If you are married, then you won’t be getting ang bao. You will be giving out ang bao 🙂
Few weeks before the CNY, my mom usually started to stock up on Chinese new year cookies. My aunts usually made them and I would go over to her house to help out. She literally made tons and tons of different kind to distribute out to relatives. Lots of eggs, butter, sugar and flour involved for sure. It was my favorite thing to do..making Chinese new year cookies.
Everywhere you go, you will see festive Chinese new year theme decoration. Now, I’m in the tundra where no one would know that February 8 is Chinese new year, unless of course if those people also celebrate Chinese new year. The only things that make me feel like Chinese new year are baking Chinese new year cookies at home (the smell….gosh!! God help me here!) and cooking Chinese new year inspired dishes. Family and friends will usually come over to visit (“bai nien” in Chinese), tasting the Chinese new year cookies and catching up during this time of the year. We don’t have such tradition going on here in the tundra unfortunately, but I still make my favorite Chinese new year cookies because I want my children to know the tradition. We usually also give out ang bao to them on Chinese new year.
So, here is another one of my favorite Chinese new year cookies, peanut butter cookies or we call it kue skippy in Indonesia. Named as such probably because most people in Indonesia used the Skippy brand to make the cookies. You don’t have to use Skippy brand. My sister-in-law shared this kue skippy recipe with me and I really loved how they turn out. Melt-in-the-mouth and 5 minutes after they were out of the oven, my husband swallowed 6 of them !! I thought I made too many, but I think they might not last until February 8.
Chinese new year peanut butter cookies (kue skippy) - about 80 small cookies
If you use natural peanut butter (I used Smucker's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter), make sure you give it a really good stir before adding into the recipe. Place peanut butter, sugar, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix with a wooden spoon. Then gradually add in the cooking oil (don't pour in all 200 ml at once), you may not need all of them. Stir until the dough come together. If it's too dry, add a bit more until you get to the consistency where the dough will not fall apart
Preheat oven to 350 F. Shape the dough into balls (it's up to your how big or small you want them to be). Place them on a cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Place one piece of chopped peanut on top. Continue with the rest. Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 1 minute before removing them to cooling rack to cool down completely. Store in the air-tight container
In case you wonder why I had a pear in my first photo…. I was trying to decide if I was going to eat the cookies first, or pear first!!