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Almond Cookies

To make 8 dozen cookies

1/2 pound lard
3/4 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 drops yellow food coloring

21/2 Cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup blanched almonds, split in half
1 egg, lightly beaten

PREPARE AHEAD: In a large mixing bowl, cream the lard and sugar by beating them together with a large spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the almond extract and yellow food coloring. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and sift them into the bowl. With your fingers, mix the ingredients together until a fairly firm dough is formed. Divide the dough in half and shape it into two fat cylinders, then roll them on a lightly floured surface with the palms of your hands until each cylinder is about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
TO COOK: Preheat the oven to 375. With a cleaver or sharp knife, cut the chilled dough crosswise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Lay a dozen or so of the circles side by side and 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, and press an almond half gently but firmly in the center of each. Brush the cookies with a thin film of beaten egg and bake in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. With a spatula. transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

Deep Fried Wontons With Date Filling
1 package wonton wrappers
4 eight-ounce packages pitted dates
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
3 Tbs. grated orange rind
3-5 juice
3 cups oil
Confectioners sugar
PREPARE AHEAD: 1. To make the filling: With a cleaver or sharp knife, chop the pitted dates fine, adding a teaspoon or so of orange juice or water if they are too sticky to cut. Combine the dates, walnuts and grated rind in a small bowl. Knead the mixture with your fingers until it can be gathered into a ball. If the mixture is dry, moisten it with orange juice or water. Roll a tablespoon of filling between the palms of your hands to form cylinders 1 inch long and about 1/3 inch in diameter.
2. To assemble the wontons: Place a cylinder of filling diagonally across each wrapper, just below the center. With a finger dipped in water, moisten the lower point of the wrapper. Fold the point over the filling and tuck it underneath. Roll up the resulting tube until all the dough surrounds the filling. Stick a finger into each end of the tube and give it a twist to seal the ends.
TO COOK: Pour the oil into a 12-inch wok or deep-fryer and heat the oil until a haze forms above it or it reaches 375 on a deep-frying thermometer. Deep-fry the wontons, 8 or 10 at a time, turning them occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crisp. As they are finished cooking, transfer them to paper towels to drain and cool. Just before serving, sprinkle the wontons with confectioners' sugar.

4 oz dried apricots, finely chopped
4 oz dates, finely chopped
2 oz crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3/4 cup pecans or coshews, chopped
1 1/2 tsp chopped orange zest
1 tbsp orange liqueur or orange juice
8 oz wonton wrappers
vegetable oil, for frying
icing sugar

Combine apricots, dates, ginger, pecans, orange zest and liqueur. Roll 1 tbsp of filling in hands to make cylinder 1 inch long. Place filling across wonton wrapper. Moisten edges with water. Roll up to seal, twisting ends. Fry bon bons in oil to cover until crisp. Drain well. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Toffed Apples
4 ripe apples
1 egg 1 egg white
3 tbspa all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
oil for deep-frying
1/4 cupvegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
(optional) 1 bowl ice water

Peel and core apples and cut each apple in six to eight wedges. Beat egg and egg white together and fold in sifted flour and cornstarch to make a batter.
Heat oil for deep-frying. Dip apple wedges in batter and deep-fry until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. In a saucepan heat vegetable oil, add sugar and heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stir in honey. Coat apple fritters with syrup and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve while piping hot. Let each guest dip apple fritters into ice water. This will cause the syrup coating to harden so the fritters will be crisp and crackling on the outside.
NOTE: Toffee apples can be prepared in advance to the stage of dipping in the syrup. Serves 4

Fortune Cookies
Yield: 12 Servings


1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs. corn oil
2 tbs. water
1/4 cup cornstarch

Have fortunes prepared in advance. Beat egg on low speed until frothy. Beat in
sugar, a little at a time,and continue beating until mixture is a very light
yellow and thick. Fold in corn oil. Blend water and a little of the egg mixture into cornstarch, then stir into the remaining egg mix.Heat heavy, well seasoned griddle to 350 deg, or until drops of water bounce when dropped on the griddle.Drop heaping T of batter on the griddle andspread with the back of a spoon to about 4 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Cook until edges are slightly brown and cookies can be easily lifted from griddle with a spatula, 5 - 8 min. (If cookies stick, bottoms need to be cooked a little longer). Turn cookies carefully and cook other side until light brown. Be careful to keep temperature even. Place fortune paper on cookie as soon as it is removed from the griddle. Folding is easier to do than to describe, but the end result is shaped like a horseshoe. Fold opposite edges together,forming a semicircle. Crease crosswise at the center of the straight edge to form a flattened side, then bend the opposing corners together for the traditional shape. Set in a small glass or muffin tin until cookie cools and holds its shape.Wipe griddle & stir batter.

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