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Watermelon Ginger Salad and Almond Cookies | The Recipe ReDux

Watermelon Ginger Salad and Almond Cookies | The Recipe ReDux

Almond Cookies & Watermelon Salad

My four-year-old asked, “Mommy, is it still summer vacation?” It was a rainy day and we’d just dropped my other daughter off at her first day of second grade. But I enthusiastically answered, “Yes, at least until Labor Day!” So with summer vacation memories still very fresh in my mind, I’d like to share about one of my Most Memorable Vacation Meals…which is this month’s theme for The Recipe ReDux.

watermelon mint salad

Chinese apothecary

A few weeks ago, I took my three kids to Chicago’s Chinatown. I wanted them to be able to visit some of the apothecary/Chinese medicine shops, buy a cool Bento box lunchbox for school, and eat some ‘real’ Chinese food. The hospitable shopkeepers gave them all sorts of samples of dried fruit at the Chinese medicine shop: Crystalized ginger, papaya, mango, and kumquat. And instead of picking one restaurant for dinner, we trouped around to several shops and picked up mochi cakes and almond cookies from the bakery, udon noodles at one place and at another restaurant a few other items for our Chinese smorgasbord: Stir-fried vegetables with tofu and seafood, lotus root and celery salad, Papaya with white fungus in sugar syrup, and a red bean iced bubble tea. What fun it was to introduce them to some new foods! And honestly, I was so proud; they tried everything and we ate up almost every morsel!

Chinese almond cookies

Top to bottom: Papaya & White Fungus Salad in clear cup, tofu & seafood stir-fry, lotus root & celery salad, red bean bubble tea

Now one of my Recipe ReDux colleagues, Gretchen has already shared a brilliant Chocolate Mochi Cake recipe, so I did not attempt to recreate. But I was totally intrigued by the light, crackly texture of the almond cookies…and, seriously, who could not be challenged by the idea of recreating a Papaya and White Fungus fruit salad? Honestly, the kids didn’t like it all that much – too many unusual textures and there was a flavor in the fruit syrup we couldn’t identify. So to help in our Reduxing, we went to the library and checked out three Chinese kid’s cookbooks. We found an almond cookie recipe and I’ve adapted it by adding less fat and sugar, a little whole wheat flour and making the cookies more of a kid’s sized portion. Not surprisingly, we found no recipe for white fungus salad. So instead, we decided to adapt a ginger watermelon salad to include some of the fresh mint from our garden and some of the crystalized ginger from the Chinese apothecary. Everyone was pleased with our ReDux recreations!

Chinese Almond cookies

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Watermelon Ginger Salad

  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup crystelized ginger, finely chopped
  • watermelon, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons (or so) of fresh mint, chopped


  1. Combine water, sugar and ginger in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 12-15 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. At serving time, spoon about 1/4 cup of ginger syrup over every 5-6 cups of watermelon – or to taste. Add mint and toss salad.
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Almond Cookies

  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies 1x


  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 24 whole, unsalted almonds


  1. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk and almond extract.
  3. Pour melted butter into flour mixture, then add milk mixture. Use a fork to combine all ingredients to form a soft dough. Then use your hands to gently knead in the bowl to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Spread plastic wrap on counter, place dough on top and shape dough into a round log about 12 inches long. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Unwrap dough and place on lightly floured surface. Cut into 24 slides and roll each into a ball. Place on lightly greased sheet pan and gently place almond in the center, flattening the cookie ball slightly.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes or until they are just lightly browned; for chewier cookies bake 15 minutes for crispy bake 17-18 minutes. Remove from pan to cooking rack immediately after removing from oven.

Liz - Meal Makeover Mom

Thursday 23rd of August 2012

I love both of your recipe. The syrup for the watermelon sounds so refreshing ... and the cookies (with whole wheat flour) are right up my alley. Sounds like your trip to Chinatown was quite an adventure.

Emma Stirling

Thursday 23rd of August 2012

Such a wonderful adventure Serena with very adventurous kids! I lived in Hong Kong for two years and loved roaming the Chinese medicine shops. And my colleagues at work would snack on salted dried bitter plums or berries. Super Tart for my palate accustomed to sweeter fruit.

Diane Boyd

Wednesday 22nd of August 2012

Love your recipe redux! It's great you were able to include your kids and make it both fun and educational! I have a question: Do you know anywhere else you would find crystalized ginger besides a Chinese medicine shop?

Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

Tuesday 21st of August 2012

YUM! I just love almond cookies. Glad you found a way to healthify them a bit. Your kids are too cute. I love that they were all about trying new foods. :)


Tuesday 21st of August 2012

Wow - your kids are so adventurous! Sounds like they were exposed to lots of pretty exotic food. Both of these re-creations sound wonderful.

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