chinese cookies

Marbled Chinese Cookies Recipe. Gluten-Free Friendly

Marbled Chinese Cookies

Chinese Cookies

This is one of my favorite bakery weaknesses. I just love their shortbread brittle-crisp and mealy texture, with the wispy chocolate veins running thought them. Here the chocolate plays a very discreet but essential role, not just for the look but for the flavor.

Still nothing beats homemade, right? Easy too. Who knew you could make them right at home? And who knows why they are called Chinese cookies, for that matter? It’s a little like French kiss or French laundry or French goodness knows what else. Anyway, who cares what their name is, if they are fabulous? Fabulous and streamlined, made with all sensible ingredients, just the way I make them here!

Almond Extract

Be sure to leave the almond extract in: it is the trademark flavor in Marbled Chinese Cookies, so don’t skip it. No imitation flavors, they taste nasty and will ruin your beautiful creation. Pure extract, please!

They freeze beautifully!

Rolls of marbled Chinese cookie dough

I am giving you a large recipe for marbled Chinese Cookies, because you can leave the rolls in the freezer for weeks. You’ll be happy to find them and slice them at baking them.

Gluten-Free Marbled Chinese Cookies

No problem making them gluten-free. Any good gluten-free flour mix will work very well, your own or a good quality store bought. Almond flour will work great too, or a combination of GF flour and almond flour. Be sure to use unblanched almond flour for maximum flavor.



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup natural margarine spread (health-food stores)
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour: all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt, or unblanched almond flour, or a combination  (gluten-free: use any GF flour)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • optional: 1 1/2 cups finely ground whole almonds
  • ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted (very low temperature in a small saucepan, or 1 minute in a microwave)


In a food processor, cream the sugar, margarine spread, baking soda, salt, and extracts until fluffy and lemon-colored.

Add the eggs and cream again until fluffy. Add the flours gradually and pulse each time only until just combined. If using the ground almonds, add them in now and pulse just 2-3 times until just combined.

Put the dough on your work counter and flatten it out with your hands. Drizzle with the chocolate and fold the dough over twice to get a marbled effect. Shape rolls about 5 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap them in plastic, and tie both ends with twisters.

You will get about 4 rolls total.

Refrigerate 2 hours or longer, until you are ready to use them, up to 3 days (freeze the rolls you intend to use later up to 6 weeks).

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Unwrap the rolls

Slice them ¼ inch thick with a sharp serrated knife, making sure they are all the same thickness so they bake evenly. Place the slices 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 25 minutes. They will crisp while they cool; if they didn’t get crisp enough return them to the oven 2 to 3 more minutes. Store at room temperature in an airtight cookie tin. Makes about 5 dozen total.

4 replies
  1. Vicki Williams
    Vicki Williams says:

    Can you use real butter instead of the spread? I just attended the cooking class last Thursday with the NJ JCC, and want to tell you how much fun it was! I already made the chicken, the soup, and the roasted veggies!

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      I mean the NATURAL margarine spread, no transfats, no hydrogenation. Several excellent brands are available in good supermarkets and health food stores

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