Bake on Saturday, Dessert, Recipes

Oriental Crunch

Crispy, crunchy bar cookies flavored with almond, chocolate, and coffee!

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You, Reader, might be tired of holiday cookie recipes. I know, Christmas is over. Technically, we should be done with Christmas cookie recipes. But I shared exactly zero recipes for Christmas cookies this year, so I figured that now that Christmas is past, I would get a head start on next year’s holiday cookie posts (2015-what!).

Or maybe some of you might still be baking for holiday parties and could use a new recipe.

I did make these before Christmas, along with Baumkuchen (relatives, see, it is already on the blog!), to bring to Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house.

These, you see, are a family tradition. My grandmother was not the kind of grandma who always had homemade cookies sitting about–perhaps because she was diabetic. She had a stash of sugar-free dark chocolate, sugar-free fudgesicles, and some sugar-free Cool Whip treats that she made, but most of her actual baking was reserved for her book club rather than family visits. Nonetheless, a few recipes got handed down, like Congo Cookies and Oriental Crunch.

Don’t ask about the name. I don’t. Just know that the flavor combination–almond, chocolate, coffee–is absolutely fantastic. And the cookies themselves are super crunchy. Kind of like a nutty, crispy chocolate chip cookie bar that you might eat with coffee, except the coffee is already in there, too.

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Oriental Crunch

from my grandmother


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Crisco or other shortening
  • 2 T instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 16 oz chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Cream together butter, shortening, coffee, and salt. Beat in extracts, then add sugar and flour. Stir in chocolate chips. The mixture will be very grainy, like sand, but should stick together when pressed with the back of a spoon.

Press dough into an ungreased 10×15″ baking sheet (with sides), and press almonds on top. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a light golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then break into pieces to serve.


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