Ryan's Chinese Almond Cookies

4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 lb. (450 g) shortening
2 eggs, beaten
4 tsp. almond extract
Almond halves for garnish
Additional egg for glaze

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together.
Gradually beat in the shortening. When the shortening is well blended, add beaten eggs and almond extract. If mixture is sticky, add one or two more tablespoons flour.
When mixture is well blended, remove from bowl and separate into four portions. Shape each portion into a log about 1-inch (2-1/2 cm) in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
Remove logs from refrigerator and cut each log into pieces 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. Use your hands to roll each slice into a ball. Place the balls on cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your finger tips.
Brush gently with beaten egg and place half an almond in the center of the cookie.
Bake for 12-15 minutes (do not allow cookies to brown they should be almond colored). Remove from oven and let cookies cool on cookie sheets for about two minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. (They tend to crumble if you remove immediately to racks.)
Store in tightly covered tins.

Makes 7-8 dozen

Note: These cookies may be frozen for up to 2 months Thaw in original wrapping and, if desired, freshen in a warm oven for 4-5 minutes.