Thai Sugar Cookies

In his travels through the island city of Phuket, cookbook author Austin Bush noticed an abundance of sweets and snacks made with wheat-based flour. Though most Thai-style treats are rice-based, the cuisine of Phuket province is shaped by the history of its Chinese residents, most notably laborers who brought with them an appetite for wheat-based noodles, breads, and treats. These cookies, sold by a Phuket bakery in operation for more than two generations, are known by Hokkien Chinese as khanom naa taek, or “cracked top.” Their light color and small size make them a perfect snack to accompany coffee or afternoon tea.


    • 1½ cups all-​purpose flour
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. ammonium bicarbonate
    • ½ tsp. fine salt
    • ¼ tsp. baking powder
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1–2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, ammonium bicarbonate, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the oil, egg, food coloring (if using), and 1 tablespoon of water. Using your hands, knead until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Roll heaping teaspoons (10 grams each) of the dough into balls and space at least ½ inch apart on two large unlined baking sheets. Using your finger, make a shallow dimple in the top of each ball. 
  4. Bake, rotating halfway through, until the cookies are just firm and slightly toasted on the bottom, about 7 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets. The cookies are best eaten the day they are baked but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 

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