Make this super easy and delicious sweet and nutty old-fashioned hup toh soh for Chinese New Year celebration. This recipe doesn’t use lard, butter, or shortening.
The mention of hup toh soh reminds me of childhood. These old school Chinese walnut biscuits are my favorites. They are fragrant, crispy, nutty, sweet, with a hint of saltiness..so good! Hup Toh means walnuts in Cantonese, but to my surprise after reading on the internet that old-fashioned hup toh soh has no walnuts in them! Then why the name? Well, nobody really knows the answer for sure I think, but some said it could be because of the appearance of the biscuit look like walnuts? Well, walnut or not, I love them!
HUP TOH SOH WITH OIL RECIPE
I’ve seen many recipes and each of them is pretty similar and the main differences are mainly in the type of fat, sugar, and leavening agents being used. Some use butter, lard, shortening, or a combination of any of those. Some use just cooking oil. Some use butter and cooking oil. Some use granulated sugar, some use icing sugar, etc. Some use baking powder and/or baking soda, some do not. I decided to use cooking oil.
TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF HUP TOH SOH
I like hup toh soh that is crunchy on the outside but soft and crumbly on the inside. I remember how messy this biscuit can be when I ate them as a kid. It’s pretty much crumbs everywhere. Now my kids’ turn to do the same thing to me LOL! So, I actually like version 1 better. It’s more like hup toh soh the way I remember it I think. But I know some of you who have tried this recipe actually enjoy version 2, like my kids do. So, I decided to keep both versions.
Version 1: I actually like this version better because I like my hup toh soh crunchy on the outside but soft inside. Version 1 uses granulated sugar, cooking oil, and no leavening agent. Version 1 is adapted from Michael Lim’s. I like how rustic they look. They taste awesome too.
Version 2: My kids actually like this version better but that’s probably because they never knew that hup toh soh were more at a crunchy side. Version 2 uses icing sugar instead of granulated sugar, which explains the more melt-in-mouth-texture
Version 2 is adapted from Messy Witchen’s Hup Toh Soh.
THE SHAPE OF HUP TOH SOH
You will see all kinds of different sizes and shape that people made out there. Traditional hup toh soh is round and slightly flat with crackly edges, like walnuts. Some like to shape their hup toh soh into round balls I made. Traditional hup toh soh is quite large in size. I made these hup toh soh smaller in size, about 15 grams and use the back of a teaspoon or my thumb to gently depress the middle to create the rough crackly edges.
HOW TO MAKE HUP TOH SOH
1. MIX DRY INGREDIENTS
Finely ground the walnut.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir to mix. Gradually add oil and stir to combine with a spoon or spatula first
It will resemble coarse crumbs at first
Use your hand to knead into a soft dough. If it crumbles when you try to roll into a ball, add a bit of oil, teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough can come together without crumbling
2. SHAPE THE BISCUITS
Pinch off about 1 Tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball
Use the back of a teaspoon or your thumb to gently press the middle to slightly flatten the cookie and to create an indentation in the middle and rough crackly edges.
Place on a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Brush the cookies with egg wash
You can add a piece of walnut on top if you like
You can also just leave them in a round ball shape
3. BAKE THE BISCUITS
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes at 325 F (165 C). Bake them at a lower temperature for a longer time make them crunchier. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to let them cool down completely
HOW TO STORE HUP TOH SOH
Once the biscuits have cooled down completely, transfer them to a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. They can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.
USE DIFFERENT NUTS: You can use other types of nuts such as almond, pistachio
DID YOU MAKE THIS EASY HUP TOH SOH RECIPE?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
*Recipe is updated on February 3, 2020 to include version 1 and to improve version 2 recipe (I removed baking powder and baking soda, which I felt like not needed at all)*
Hup Toh Soh (Old-fashioned Chinese Walnut Biscuits)
Version 1: (Crunchy on the edge and soft inside)
Version 2: (soft melt-in-mouth texture):
To decorate cookies (optional):
- whole or halved walnut unsalted
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp water
For eggless version:
- Milk to brush on top of cookie
Prepare the cookie dough (for both versions):
- If the walnuts you have are unroasted, roast them in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes or roast them dry on the pan until aromatic. This will add extra flavor to the end product. Let them cool down and pulse them a few times in a food processor to just roughly chop them. Don't grind them too fine
- Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir to mix
- Gradually add oil until you are able to knead into a dough. The dough will be soft and a bit crumbly in texture
Shape the cookies:
- Pinch off about 1 Tbsp of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Use your thumb to gently press the middle to slightly flatten the cookie and to create an indentation in the middle and rough crackly edges (as shown in the photo and video). You can add a piece of whole walnut on top if you like. Place on a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Brush the cookies with egg wash or milk (for eggless version)
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to let them cool down completely. They will crisp up further
- Transfer to a cookie jar and secure the lid tightly. They can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 weeks