Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

how to make Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

Oh! Oh! Oh! I have a treat for you today! Crispy-edged, soft-centered, absolutely ambrosial, Chinese 5-Spice Snickerdoodles! Also, they're frosted. You're welcome. 

I was using 5-spice for a savory recipe one night, took a whiff, and thought, as I often do, COOKIES! Now, I really thought this was an original idea - and then, just before posting the recipe for you guys, I googled it. OK, so maybe I'm not the first to think of it. The idea FELT original. 

how to make Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

When making traditional snickerdoodles, the balls of dough get rolled in cinnamon-sugar. In this version, the cookies are rolled in five spice-sugar. There's also some in the frosting. The flavor is uniquely spiced but not strong. Everyone will reach for a second cookie in an attempt to place the spices. (It'll be our secret.)

Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

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Help us make a difference by donating to Cookies for Kids' Cancer! Our goal is to raise at least $3000. Because these three companies: OXO, Mediavineand Dixie Crystals have each pledged to match donations raised through this campaign up to $3000! That means when we donate $1, it turns into $4! Please help us reach our goal to get the full matching donations and make an even bigger difference! Donate here today.

What is Chinese 5-Spice Powder?

Chinese Five-Spice Powder for baking

You might see this spice mix referred to as simply "Five Spice Powder." Either is correct. It's a warm spice blend, like pumpkin pie spice, but leaning towards savory applications. You'll find it frequently in Chinese recipes.

According to Martha Stewart, Five Spice Powder's origins are unknown, but they're meant to represent wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The spices can vary a bit but count on a heavy dose of cinnamon and star anise. 

The Chinese Five-Spice Powder I'm using here is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise, and black pepper.

How to Make Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

make cinnamon-sugar with Chinese Five Spice instead

First things first, you'll make a Five Spice-Sugar. Like cinnamon-sugar but using Chinese Five Spice in place of the cinnamon. It smells SO good! This mixture is what the dough will get rolled in, plus there's a bit of it in the frosting. 

Start the dough by mixing melted butter with granulated and brown sugar. Add in vanilla bean paste. I love seeing the little flecks of vanilla bean in these cookies, but feel free to swap out for vanilla extract if you need to. 

how to make Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

Next up, eggs. The flour mixture gets adding in last. The dough will be soft and thick. 

how to make Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

After a bit of a rest (you and the cookie dough), you'll scoop the dough using a #30 cookie scoop, a little over 2 tablespoons. Roll or toss the dough in the Five Spice-Sugar.

Chinese Five-Spice Powder Snickerdoodles
Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

Bake! Oh my gosh. Aren't they gorgeous?!?!?!? The snickerdoodle cookies will bake up with crispy edges and soft, puffy middles. They'll deflate as they cool, but the centers will stay soft.

how to make Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

Once cooled, you'll whip up a little frosting lightly flavored with the Five Spice-Sugar. This is optional as the cookies are 100% heavenly without it. But, who can say no to a little frosting? 

Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

Spread a thin layer on each cookie. Eat one immediately. 

Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

for the Five Spice-Sugar:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon Chinese Five-Spice 

for the cookies:

2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

2 eggs, room temperature

for the frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Five Spice-sugar

pinch kosher salt

3 tablespoons milk

[NOTE: the cookies are delicious without the frosting, too.]

Make the Five Spice-sugar. Whisk the sugar and Chinese Five Spice. Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons for the frosting. Set aside.

Make the cookies. Whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the melted butter, granulated and brown sugars together until well combined. Mix in the vanilla bean paste. 

Add eggs and mix for about 3 minutes, until thickened and pale yellow. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat just until the flour is incorporated. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour the Five Spice-Sugar (minus the reserved 1 1/2 teaspoons) onto a rimmed plate. 

Use a #30 cookie scoop (a little more than 2 tablespoons) to portion the dough. Roll into balls, then gently roll/toss in the Five Spice-Sugar. Place on the prepared sheet about 3 inches apart as the dough will spread. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges will be golden and firm, while the centers will be slightly puffed and soft. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. The centers will flatten as they cool. 

Once cooled, make the frosting. Beat the butter until fluffy. On low speed, add the powdered sugar, reserved Five Spice-Sugar, and salt. Mix until combined; it will look dry. Mix in the milk, beating until smooth. Spead a thin layer of frosting onto each cookie. If stacking, place wax paper or parchment between layers of cookies.

*adapted from Bon Appetit's Best Snickerdoodles

Frosted Chinese Five-Spice Snickerdoodles

Take a few minutes to click over to all of the other recipes supporting Cookies for Kids' cancer today! 

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