Chinese Dragon cookies are popular Malaysian Chinese New Year cookies that are similar to the much loved Chinese butter cookies. They pipe these dragon cookies into S-shape using a large open star piping nozzle and piping bag. Also with 2 dots of red colouring added as eyes. The Malays in Malaysia also have their own version of this type of buttery cookies called caterpillar cookies. Besides, they make both dragon cookies and caterpillar cookies with the same ingredients and piped into elongated shape instead.
Ways of Making Dragon Cookies
Moreover, traditional ingredients for Chinese dragon cookies are corn starch, milk powder, egg yolk, vanilla extract and icing sugar. Giving them a delicious buttery, milky and melt-in-your mouth texture. Chinese dragon cookies are essentially butter cookies and indeed very similar to the classic Danish butter cookies. Besides, Chinese New Year cookies good gestures either served at home to visitors or gifted to friends and family.
For my Chinese dragon cookies gluten free recipe, my ingredients are corn starch, gluten free all-purpose flour, and potato starch. As well as xanthan gum, stevia, vegan butter, eggs, agave syrup, rice milk, salt and vanilla extract. This dragon cookies recipe is not only gluten free. But also vegetarian, dairy free, soy free, nut free, low carbs and refined sugar free. The eggs give these delicious buttery dragon cookies a crunchy and melt-in-your mouth texture. Likewise, I have tried many different vegan egg substitutes for this recipe. And the cookies turned out too hard and chewy.
You may like to try some of my vegan and gluten free Chinese New Year cookies recipes. Peanuts Cookies, Cashew Nuts Cookies, Walnut Cookies, Paleo Almond Cookies, Daisy Custard Butter Cookies and Cacao Dahlia butter Cookies.
Chinese New Year Brief Facts
Chinese New Year, often referred to as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. It is the most momentous traditional Chinese festival celebrating the first day of Spring. And the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. History of Chinese New Year festival dated back to around 3,500 years ago, during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC). The festival has evolved from sacrificial rituals as respects to gods and ancestors at beginning or end of each year. To one of celebrations, entertainments and social activities instead of just religious occasions.
Similarly, the Chinese New Year festival has many stories and myths. A popular legendary belief about the mythical beast called “Nian”. It will consume cattle, harvests and even humans especially small children on New Year’s Eve. As a result, many householders will leave items outside of home doors to prevent “Nian” from racking havoc. Then an old wise man presumed that “Nian” is afraid of loud noises from firecrackers and the colour red. Hence, there are traditions of lighting firecrackers plus displaying red lanterns and red scrolls on doors and windows outside homes. These are common practices to frighten the “Nian” away.
Chinese New Year Customs
Some customs of Chinese New Year include: Spring cleaning of the house before Chinese New Year. Shopping for new clothing before Chinese New Year, preferably red or bright colours. Sending of greeting cards or messages to friends and relatives before and during Chinese New Year. Attending Chinese New Year Eve reunion dinner for the whole family. Giving of red packets or envelopes to children and unmarried adults. Wearing of new red or colourful clothing. Visit family and friends bearing gift. Consumption of festive feasts that are delicious, with pretty presentations of the dishes and auspicious connotations.
Festive feasts for Chinese New Year include eating of dumplings for wealth in the new year, a Northern China custom. Some of my dumplings recipes are Gluten Free Potstickers and Beef and Leek dumplings. Plus my wonton recipes Homemade Wonton Wrappers and Pork and Prawns Wonton Soup. And consuming Glutinous Rice Balls, “Tang Yuan” in Chinese, which are a traditional food for the Southern Chinese. They made these balls with glutinous rice flour and different fillings added to the center. Their circular shape signifies reunion, harmony and joy.
Additionally, a whole fish is also essential as it represents surplus and good fortune for the New Year. They normally serve noodles long and uncut as it represents longevity and happiness. You can find all my gluten free Asian noodles recipes here.
Dragon and Lion Dances Celebrations
Dragon and lion dances are common entertainments to bring good luck and good fortune. They also ward off any bad luck and evil spirits and bring happiness for the new year. In Chinese culture, dragon is one of the luckiest signs in the Chinese zodiac. It symbolizes wisdom, power and wealth and bring good luck and prosperity. They claimed that the lengthier the dragon, the better luck and good fortune it will bring. So, some dragons may stretch 100 feet or even longer. While lion represents wisdom, power and superiority even though it is not one of the zodiac signs.
Customarily, loud beating drums will complement dragon and lion dances. With the dancers mimicking snake like dragon movements and lion movements. While at the same time showing off their martial arts dexterity. And the setting off of firecrackers during the dance ceremonies to ward off evil spirits is also common practice.
Chinese Calendar Zodiac Years
There are 12 zodiac signs in the traditional Chinese Calendar. Namely from Year of the Rat (2020); Ox (2021); Tiger (2022); Rabbit (2023); and Dragon (2024). To Snake (2025); Horse (2026); Goat (2027); Monkey (2028); Rooster (2029); Dog (2030); Pig (2031). This year 2021 is the Year of the Ox and oxen are hardworking, honest and sincere. They also like to keep a low profile and obtain respect and credit through their hard work. Oxen are powerful, tenacious, meticulous and reliable. In addition, they are calm, rational thinkers and are great leaders as a result.
Wishing you all Happy Chinese New Year of the Ox 2021 !!!
For Decorating (dragon eyes):
- Red food colouring
- Toothpick or skewer
- Preheat fan-forced oven to 160C or 320F. Position the oven rack in the lower third of your oven.
- Line non-stick large baking trays with baking/parchment papers.
- Using an electric stand mixer, cream the butter and stevia until light and fluffy.225 g vegan butter, ⅓ cup stevia
- Add the whole egg, egg yolk, agave syrup, rice milk and vanilla extract into the large bowl of a standing mixer. Beat and mix well until light and fluffy with the stand mixer.1 large whole egg, 1 large egg York, 3 tablespoons agave syrup, 5 tablespoons rice milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In another large mixing bowl, shift in the gluten free all-purpose flour, corn starch, potato flour, xanthan gum and salt. Whisk and mix well.200 g gluten free all purpose flour, 150 g corn starch, 50 g potato starch, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add the flour mixture prepare in step 4 into the wet ingredients mixture prepared in step 2, stir and mix well on low speed until you get a smooth dough. Add 1 more tablespoon of rice milk if required. Dough should be smooth, sticky, easy to pipe and stays in shape when piped.
- Prepare a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle. Fold down the top of the piping bag and pipe the cookie dough all the way near the nozzle. Unfold the piping bag and fill around 2/3 full. Push the cookie dough all the way down and twist the bag where the cookie dough ends.
- Pipe each cookie dough ½ inch apart, onto the lined baking trays.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly brown around the edges.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, store in an air-tight container.