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Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

by Shirley

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Tao Su {桃酥, Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Tao Su {桃酥} are well-liked ancient Chinese Cookies. They remind me of the shortbread cookies, both featuring crumbly and fall apart, melt-in your mouth kind of yumminess. Homemade Tao Su {桃酥} highlighting avocado oil and egg yolks are so satisfyingly tasty and nutritious. What a hearty and healthy vegetarian treat!

Tao Su {桃酥, Traditional Chinese Cookies}

What is Tao Su {桃酥}?

They are traditional Chinese style shortbread cookies. The sound of Tao {桃} can mean peach or walnut {He Tao 核桃} in Chinese, but neither has anything to do with this cookie. Tao {陶} can also mean pottery, and that gives away the history of this ancient legendary cookie.

Su {酥} literally means crisp or crumbly, referring to the fall-apart and melt-in your mouth kind of yumminess.

Tao Su {Chinese Style Shortbread Cookies} History

Legend says during the Tang Dynasty {618 A.D. to 917 A.D.), Jingdezhen {景德镇} in China’s Jiang Xi Province had already established its “Capital of the Porcelain” status. Potters worked day in and out to tender the kilns and barely had breaks for food.

One potter got creative one day. He mixed eggs, flour, oil, and sugar together, and then placed the dough on the outer surface of the kiln and baked them into cookies. The cookies turned out to be amazingly delicious. They are also easy to store. The peer potters especially liked the crumbly taste and feeling. They followed his steps and started calling these shortbread cookies “Tao Su”.

Tao Su {桃酥, Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

How to make a perfectly healthier and tastier vegetarian Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}?

Ingredients for Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}
Ingredients for Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Tip No.1 is to use avocado oil if you can

Avocado oil is a superfood oil which also has the highest smoking point, making it suitable for baking. It has a neutral to none smell or taste, making them blend into any food without affecting the flavor and taste. They are one of my primary cooking oil, I use them for making dough, pancakes, crepes, homemade from scratch noodles, and more.

Tip No.2 is to add a small quantity of arrowroot flour

Arrowroot flour is a superfood flour made of a type of yam. A bit of them enhances the texture of the shortbread cookie and helps the dough to bind together too.

Tip No.3 is to blend the oil and egg folks fully and well

Blend Avocado Oil and Egg Yolks well

Use an egg whisk to blend avocado oil and egg yolks vigorously till they are fully mixed.

Tip No.4 is to learn to fold Tao Su properly

Freshly folded Tao Su {Chinese shortbread cookies}

Traditional Tao Su is round cookie with a slight dent in the middle. Tao Su dough doesn’t have a lot of stretching capabilities at all, making it tricky to fold into a cookie shape. But it becomes easier once you learn a few tips and tricks. Continue to read for a step-by-step tutorial.

Last but not least is to let cookies resting in the oven for 10 minutes

Bake the Chinese shortbread cookies at 350 degree Fahrenheit, or about 177 degree Celsius, for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven but let the cookies rest 10 minutes in the oven. Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the cookies from the oven immediately and cool on a wire.

Freshly baked Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

How to Fold Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Style Shortbread Cookies}?

Step 1 is to divide the dough into 16 equal portions

This recipe makes about 16 3-inch cookies. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Each portion is about 42 grams. I usually use a kitchen scale to help me accurately divide into equal portions. Gently squeeze and roll into a ball shape.

Divide the dough into equal portions for making Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Step 2 is to flatten the cookie dough ball into a disk

Use both hands to press and flatten the cookie dough ball into a flat disk

Hold the cookie dough ball between the hands, as if you are going to lift it upward. Use both thumbs, index fingers and surrounding areas to hold the dough while pressing gently, while rotating in small intervals. The pressing needs to be firm but gentle so that the dough doesn’t fall apart. Carefully rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise to make a relatively flat disk.

Gently press the cookie dough into a flat disk using both hands

Step 3 is to make a dent in the middle of the dough disk

Hold and contain the dough disk using one hand, usually the less dominant hand. Use the other hand to press in the middle of the disk dough. Thumb is above the dough and rest of the hand is behind the dough.

Press gently while firmly a few times to form a dent in the middle of the cookie dough.

Press to make a dent in the middle of the cookie dough
Freshly folded Tao Su {Chinese shortbread cookies}

Hooray, you just folded one Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Cookies}! Repeat until you’ve done with all 16 of them.

Freshly Folded Tao Su on a baking sheet
Tao Su {桃酥, Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Yield: 16 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Tao Su {桃酥} are well-liked ancient Chinese Cookies that features crumbly and fall apart, melt-in-your mouth kind of yumminess. Homemade Tao Su highlighting avocado oil and egg yolks are so satisfying tasty and nutritious.

Ingredients

Sift in Dry Ingredients:

  • 345 g all-purpose flour, organic preferred
  • 15 g arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Ingredients for the Batter Base:

  • 4 egg yolks, organic or cage free
  • 170 g avocado oil
  • 100 g cane sugar, organic preferred
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, organic preferred
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Instructions

  1. Gather and measure out ingredients using a kitchen scale.
    Ingredients for Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}
  2. Separate egg yolks from egg white using an egg separator and add to a mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.
    Separate egg yolks
  3. Add rest of the ingredients under "Ingredients for Batter Base", namely sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract and almond extract, to the mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until fully blended.
    Blend Avocado Oil and Egg Yolks well
  4. Sift in dry ingredients - flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda and salt, and then mix well.
    Sift in flour and other dry ingredients
  5. Continue to mix and knead using hands to form a dough.
    Dough for making Tao Su {Traditional Chinese Cookies}
  6. Divide the dough into equal 16 portions, each portion weights about 42 grams. For each portion, gently press and roll into a ball shape.
    Divide the dough into equal portions for making Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}
  7. Turn on the oven and set temperature to 350 degree F.
  8. Use both thumbs, index fingers and surrounding areas to hold the dough while pressing gently, while rotating in small intervals. The pressing needs to be firm but gentle so that the dough doesn’t fall apart. Carefully rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise to make a relatively flat disk.
    Use both hands to press and flatten the cookie dough ball into a flat disk
    Gently press the cookie dough into a flat disk using both hands
  9. Hold and contain the dough disk using one hand, usually the less dominant hand. Use the other hand to press in the middle of the disk dough. Thumb is above the dough and rest of the hand is behind the dough. Press gently while firmly a few times to form a dent in the middle of the cookie dough.
    Press to make a dent in the middle of the cookie dough
    Freshly folded Tao Su {Chinese shortbread cookies}
  10. Repeat until you've folded all 16 cookies.
    Freshly Folded Tao Su on a baking sheet
  11. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, but let the cookies rest in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on a wired rack.
    Freshly baked Tao Su {Chinese Shortbread Cookies}
  13. All done! Enjoy a super yummy and healthy traditional Chinese treat!
    Tao Su {桃酥, Traditional Chinese Shortbread Cookies}

Notes

This recipe makes 16 3-inch cookies.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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