You know what? Before I got sucked into the fast-paced and capturing world of food blogs, I have never heard of the miraculous concoction that is five spice powder. Then I read about it on several blogs, featured in both sweet and savory dishes. I was intrigued, yes, but never imagined ever getting my hands on it because I thought I would not be able to get where I live. I was wrong.
One day I was just sort of meandering through my go-to self-proclaimed 'international' shop – and with 'international' they mean mostly Asian and Oriental food with a bit of African thrown in – when I found a semi-transparent little plastic bag tightly stuffed between a plethora of other semi-transparent plastic bags filled with spices. This one, however had the unexpected printed on it in bold black letters on a baby blue background: 5 Spice. Jackpot.
Curiously, I sniffed the package – quickly checking whether anybody else is in sight because, you know, I don't want to be the weird person sniffing stuff in public except fruits maybe – and fell in love with what I was smelling. Usually, five spice powder consists of a combination of cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, sichuan pepper and ginger, each representing one element of the five element theory (Wu Xing).
Probably one of the most famous dishes it is used in is peking duck.
So, as I have never used this spice mix before, I wanted to try something basic with the powder providing most of the flavour. I found this amazing quick recipe over at Dispatches From Whitcomb Street for snickerdoodles. Can it get more basic than that? I don't think so.
They turned out amazing. Crispy and airy on the outside but nice and chewy in the centre. Scrumptious.
My family liked them so much that I had to make them again two days later.
Five Spice Snickerdoodles
Adapted from here.
- 1 cup (225g) of butter
- 1.5 cups (340g) of sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2.75 (345g) cups flour
- 2 ts of baking powder
- 1/2 ts salt
- 1/2 ts five spice powder
- Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and five spice and fold into wet ingredients until just incorporated.
- Roll dough into 1'' (about 2,5 cm) balls and roll in a mixture of sugar and five spice powder (the original recipe said 3 tbsp of each was enough but I almost used 6 tbsp of each)
- Put on lined or greased baking sheets at least 2'' (5cm) apart and bake at 400°F (about 200°C) for 8-10 minutes.