Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Manju (Japanese Sweet Bean Paste Cookies) #ChristmasCookies

Wow...this traveling around the world can tire a girl out....Not to mention create more cookies than any one household would ever, ever need. more stop after today and I am done traveling. I am not, however, done baking cookies.  Evidently, these cookies I have been providing each day for 12 days are good, and Frank has eaten a ton of them, but obviously not good enough because he asked me if I were going to make "real" Christmas cookies this year!!!

Welcome to the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We are filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

Today, I decided to visit Asia.  Ideally, I wanted to visit China for Tingting but I have already made Bird's Nest Cookies and  Chinese Almond Cookies.  While doing a search for Asian Cookies I came across this recipe for Manju from KJLowe at  I knew Tingting would love them as I have bought similar cookies in the past from the Asian Marketplace.

I adapted the recipe to only make half of it simply because 12 Days of Cookies is a LOT of cookies.   
These cookies are huge.  More like little tarts.  I tried to make them smaller without success so I stuck to the large cookies and must say that they are the perfect size to enjoy for breakfast with your coffee. Sweetened bean paste reminded me a bit of figs, in fact the cookies themselves were reminiscent of Fig Newtons which I absolutely adore.

The dough comes together very easily and then you need to form it into 4" rounds that are thicker in the center and thinner on the edges.

I did this by placing a 4" round cookie or biscuit cutter onto the parchment lined baking sheet and pressing the dough into it.  

Add a dollop of the bean paste in the center and then fold the dough around the filling and pinch it shut.  Turn it over so the sealed edges are on the bottom.

Spacing them 2" apart, I only had room for 6 cookies per tray.  Brush the cookies with milk and bake until the tops are lightly browned.

The dough is buttery and flaky.  The filling is sweet but with a smooth, savory feel to it.  These cookies are very good and would make a perfect ending to an Asian dinner.

slightly adapted from

1 c. sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 (18 oz) can sweetened red bean paste (can be found on line or in Asian markets)
1/4 c. milk

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Mix in vanilla.

Combine flour and baking  powder. Gradually add to the butter mixture on low speed until combined. Increase speed and mix until dough is smooth.  

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place a 4" round cookie cutter onto the parchment and place a handful of dough into the round.  Press the dough inside the cutter to form a circle leaving the center thicker than the edges.  Remove the cutter and place approx. 1 1/2 teaspoons of the bean paste onto the circle of dough.  Gather the edges together around the filling and pinch to seal.  Turn the sealed side down on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all dough is used.  Using a pastry brush coat the top of the cookies with milk.  Place in a preheated 375* oven for 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Print Recipe

Let's take a look at today's other #ChristmasCookies


  1. These are interesting cookies. I love Fig Newtons too! Wow you are having lots of cookies. What does Frank consider "real" Christmas cookies. How is retirement going for him??

    1. They are really good but huge Paula. I thought I had tons and tons of cookies but the Santa Party took care of nearly all of them. Now I will be able to make Frank his "Cherry Balls" a cream cheese cookie, flavored with almond and wrapped around a maraschino cherry. I will be posting the recipe sometime before Christmas.

    2. Now that sounds good too! When I come to your blog all I do is salivate!! LOL

    3. Yes and actually I have already blogged them. You can find the recipe at

  2. Ha! Too funny about the real cookies comment! These sound so interesting and look so cool. I have really enjoyed seeing what you have been baking!

    1. I had fun Carlee and I am already looking forward to next year but for this year.....I am off to make Frank's real Christmas Cookies.


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