“In the mouth” crisps 到口酥


10 liang butter, melt and pour into a plate, add 7 liang white sugar and mix by hand until completely even. Add one jin white flour and mix into a paste and roll into flat cakes. Place in an oven and bake at low heat.

Stamp the cakes with a seal, or press a pine nut into each one. They are then called pine nut cakes.


I misinterpreted the character 熯 han in the previous recipe (not that it mattered), but here it’s clear that these are destined for the oven. If this recipe sounds familiar, it’s because the were are basically making shortbread, or an extra buttery version of sugar cookies. “Crisping” oil refers to clarified butter.

A few minutes with an online ingredient conversion calculator gave me the following estimate of volume. (1 jin = 16 liang) Or use your authentic Qing dynasty kitchen scale.

butter103701 3/4
sugar72621 1/3
flour166001 1/4

For good measure, I tried a few different shapes, as well as one batch pressed into molds, and baked for 20 minutes at 180C/350F.

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, this combination of butter, sugar and flour came out great. They browned nicely and didn’t lose their shape. They were crisped all the way through, and many of them did indeed go straight into my mouth. So real truth in advertising there.

The sugar actually gave the crisps a lot of body, but they were a bit on the bland side. Other recipes from the time give plenty of suggestions for improving the taste and color.

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