Beyond the Average: Five-Spice Cookies
Are you in search of a cookie that's soft, a little chewy, and redolent of sweet spices but not your average molasses cookie? Try Five-Spice Cookies. They're filled with flavor, even though they include no molasses, because of the addition of five-spice powder. The spice blend, which is used in Chinese and some other Asian cooking, is a blend of sweet, spicy, and earthy flavors and typically includes ground star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. You can buy the powder in most grocery stores, Asian markets, from Amazon, or just make your own. Although in Chinese cooking, five-spice powder often is used with fatty meats, the powder also makes an interesting addition to cookies. In this case, the five-spice powder provides a complex flavor to a basic soft sugar cookie. What does the cookie taste like? It's sweet but not cloyingly so. The five-spice powder provides an almost licorice-like flavor because of the presence of anise and fennel in the spice mixture. A dusting of raw sugar atop the cookies gives the cookies a pleasing crunch and contrasts nicely with the soft, chewy texture of the cookie. The cookies are great with milk or after-dinner coffee and would make a great addition to a fall cookie platter or even to a Christmas cookie table.
Five-Spice Cookies -- Makes about 24
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/3 cup of corn syrup
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1-2 teaspoons of five-spice powder
Turbinado (raw) sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the corn syrup, egg, and vanilla and stir until all the ingredients are well blended. Stir in the flour, salt, baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons of five-spice powder (2 teaspoons will give you a stronger flavor, but you may want to start with 1 teaspoon first). Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough (use a cookie scoop if you have one) onto the cookie sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart (they'll spread!). Flatten the dough balls a little (enough so the cookies don't roll off the cookie sheet!) and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little turbinado sugar. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until just set. Start checking the cookies at 8 minutes, because you don't want to over bake them (they'll continue to set up on the cookie sheets as they cool). Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them to cool completely.