Gung hay fat choy! I’m half-Chinese, so in addition to growing up eating lots of great Chinese food, I grew up celebrating Chinese New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year lasts about 15 days. It’s a huge deal.
So, there’s no show I can really tie this entry to. I could make this a statement on diversity on TV, but I’m not going to, because this is a food blog and you (and I) are here for the photos of food. Alas, I did find a related video from The Simpsons.
And these related gifs from Raising Hope, a show I don’t watch.
They got that part right.
While I grew up eating only the best Chinese food, due to my grandparents’ and mom’s high standards, I never really developed a taste for traditional Chinese desserts (also due to my mother’s high standards for sweets – do we see why I’m such a foodie? Thanks, Mom ;).
I looked through Food Gawker and did much Googling to figure out if there was anything easy yet good I could bake for my Chinese New Year celebration earlier this month. After looking through many, many photos, I came up with an idea: Lantern Sugar Cookies. Those seemed easy enough and I’d use a trick that I used when making Christmas cookies last December: Instead of dying the cookies red with food coloring, I’d use Crystal Light. The juice mix. Yes.
This isn’t a new thing, but I initially used it because I ran out of food coloring, but my former coworkers loved the berry flavor it added. I tried it again for CNY and that’s what got the most compliments again. That and the buttercream frosting. Duh.
Also, the cookies in the photo above? Those are the ones I frosted pretty well. The ones in the photo below? Those are what most of them look like. I’m no perfect baker, but I try!
- 3 cups flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 packets Crystal Light (Any red flavor will do. I used Cherry Pomegranate.)
- Yellow food coloring
- 1 container of buttercream frosting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
- Mix in the Crystal Light packets until dough is red.
- Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
- Mix some yellow food coloring into the buttercream frosting until it's fully yellow.
- Apply icing.
- If the Crystal Light makes the cookies too sweet, adjust by adding more flour.
- I highly recommended piping the icing onto the cookies, or else they look like a mess. Just using a plastic bag is fine.